To help combat climate change and drought impacts on regional water supplies, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and Department of Water Resources (DWR) have partnered with local water agencies to implement critical infrastructure upgrades that will improve water resilience and support environmental health in the Sacramento area.
As part of a landmark partnership agreement, the state agencies have committed $55 million in funding to the Sacramento Regional Water Authority to advance 21 projects designed to boost local water supplies and environmental flows for the Lower American River during dry years.
Funded projects include new and improved groundwater wells, upgrades to existing wells, pumps, interties and storage facilities. These upgrades will significantly expand the regional water system, giving water providers improved capacity to move supplies between agencies, recharge groundwater aquifers during wet conditions and use available groundwater supplies more sustainably when needed during dry years.
These improvements will allow the region to better withstand intense drought and impacts from climate change, reduce reliance on surface water and distribute supplies where they are needed most to support communities and the environment.
By expanding groundwater supplies and use in the region, local water agencies will be able to reduce diversions from the Lower American River during dry years and increase instream flows necessary to support delicate ecosystems and fish species such as salmon and steelhead. As part of the funding agreement, agencies will allocate 30,000 acre-feet of water in the river in three critical or dry years over an eight-year period once funded infrastructure upgrades are completed and in place. Completed infrastructure upgrades are anticipated within the next two years.
State representatives, water agencies and elected officials gathered today to highlight these investments, which are another step forward in developing a network of groundwater wells, pumps and pipelines that enable local water providers to withdraw and replenish groundwater reserves.
“It is gratifying for the state to invest in our decades-long vision for enhancing the role of our groundwater aquifer—our natural infrastructure—as a key strategy for adapting the Sacramento region’s water system to the changing climate,” said Michelle Banonis, Manager of Strategic Affairs for the Regional Water Authority. “This investment will allow us to build on proven methods for securing our water supplies while also providing water for the environment during the driest times, long into the future.”
“As California prepares for a future driven by climate change, it’s more important than ever that we be proactive and invest in infrastructure that helps secure a reliable water supply. This partnership agreement is a pivotal step forward in securing our water future and DWR looks forward to working with our regional partners,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
This funding partnership demonstrates California’s commitment to working with local agencies to increase river flows, restore ecosystems and strengthen water supply reliability in the state.
“This agreement will support projects that modernize infrastructure and improve water resiliency, both of which will enhance flow and habitat for California’s native fish populations,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We look forward to continued efforts with partners that will bring flexibility in water management and improve habitat in the Central Valley for fish and wildlife.”
The Sacramento Regional Water Authority, which represents nearly two dozen water providers serving 2.2 million people in the Sacramento region, will work to implement the funded projects with nine water providers in the region including the City of Roseville, Sacramento County Water Agency, Sacramento Suburban Water District, Carmichael Water District, City of Sacramento, Golden State Water Company, Citrus Heights Water District, Fair Oaks Water District and Orange Vale Water Company.
Photos and video footage from today’s media event, as well as drone footage of groundwater wells under construction, can be accessed at the links below:
This funding partnership is also one example of DWR’s work to provide funding for local communities under the state’s “Go Golden” initiative. The initiative highlights the state’s partnership with local organizations and water agencies to implement projects that address water infrastructure, flooding impacts, water conservation, well rehabilitation and fish and wildlife protection as California prepares for a future driven by our changing climate.
Akiela Moses, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources
(916) 820-7669 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Peifer, Executive Director, Sacramento Regional Water Authority
(916) 847-7589 | email@example.com