California Water Commission reaches new milestone on path to water security

Statement of Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Western Water, Environmental Defense Fund

February 2, 2018
Brian Strachan, (415) 293-6139,

(February 2, 2018 – Sacramento, CA) The California Water Commission today announced public benefit ratio scores for 11 water storage projects being proposed for Proposition 1 funding. In 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, which included $2.7 billion for water storage projects such as new dams, reservoirs and groundwater banks. Funding for each project is contingent on the public benefits it provides, as measured in the ratio scores released today. 

“The release of the public benefit ratio scores for proposed California water storage projects is an important milestone on the path to a secure water future for the state. I commend the California Water Commission for all of the hard work that has been done to get to this point. 

“Additional water storage will be necessary to make California more resilient to drought and changing hydrology. Yesterday’s dismal snowpack survey – 27 percent of ‘normal’ for this time of year – only reinforces that the state needs to change how it manages water to meet the needs of our communities, the economy and the environment. 

“There are some truly innovative projects being proposed for funding, notable among them is the South County Ag Program proposed by the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. In addition to meeting fundamental water storage objectives, this project provides multiple benefits for groundwater-dependent habitats and agricultural lands. It’s exactly the kind of project needed to meet Proposition 1 funding goals. 

“Historically, the state has used water storage mostly for supplying water to farms and cities, so figuring out how to best use water storage for environmental purposes is a new challenge that requires innovative thinking and new approaches. So it’s not surprising that the evaluation of the public benefits of these projects has been especially challenging. I encourage the California Water Commission, state agency staff and the project proponents to embrace this challenge and advance projects that deliver the environmental benefits and water supply resilience that California needs.”

  • Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Western Water, Environmental Defense Fund

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