The persistent drought has made water issues a very high priority for California voters, according to a recent poll. For the California Chamber of Commerce, the search for comprehensive solutions to the state’s water needs has been a longstanding concern and priority.
Through its water policy committee, the CalChamber continually gathers information and insights from state water experts well-attuned to the many complexities of California’s water infrastructure. Committee members are actively engaged in helping administration water policy specialists find ways to resolve practical and political barriers to improving the state’s water supply outlook.
The committee co-chairs are Robert MacLean, president, California American Water and Hawaii American Water; and Daniel W. Boyd, principal, Boyd Consulting Services.
Coalition for Water Security
The CalChamber is a founding member of Californians for Water Security, a broad-based coalition supporting the Governor’s California Water Fix, including building new underground tunnels to transport water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
A September poll conducted on behalf of the coalition by EMC Research showed nearly 80% of Californians support the plan when voters hear information about key components and the plan’s importance to the surveyed person’s own region.
The poll showed strong support across demographic and party lines, with Democrats, Republicans and Independents all supportive, and support spanning across age groups and gender.
Even after hearing a back-and-forth of statements from supporters and opponents in each region, support for the Water Fix remained well above a super majority—68% support statewide.
In response to an open-ended question about the most important problem facing California, 36% of voters volunteered the drought as the top issue facing the state, double the percentage of voters mentioning the drought early this year.
Asked to rate the importance of issues facing the state, 59% of respondents rated the drought as most important, followed by the reliability of water supply (40%) and the conditions of the state’s water infrastructure (33%).
Flexible Storage Project
A closer look at a proposal to build water storage with multiple statewide benefits—the Sites Reservoir Project—was the focus of the October 26 gathering of the CalChamber Water Subcommittee.
Subcommittee members exchanged comments and information with James Watson, general manager of the joint powers authority that is spearheading efforts to secure funding and support for the Sites Reservoir Project.
Watson explained how the completed project will provide storage whose usage includes capturing rainwater. The additional storage will enable state water managers to balance actions to secure water supply with those for environmental goals, such as protecting fish.
Located in Northern California, west of the community of Maxwell in Colusa County, the project upon completion can help improve the availability and quality of water for both its region and communities farther south in the Central Valley.