“When I get on a roll with something, it’s really hard for me to put it down unfinished.” ~Taylor Swift

Facing a fourth year of drought, many Californians reacted to voter approval of the water bond measure on the November ballot with a sigh of relief. It felt good and it is good — an important step forward. But we’re not finished, as more needs to be done, both over the short and long term, to get us through this period of drought and the next ones that are sure to come.

Some of the answers rest with the recommended actions set forth in the California Water Plan’s latest update, which has just been issued. And, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which remains in play, will help provide some resolution, including the tunnels needed to secure the water that 25 million people rely upon from the risk of flood, earthquake and sea level rise in the Delta, the hub of California’s water delivery system.

Many of the projects to be funded by the water bond will take years to become operational. Meanwhile California‘s aging water infrastructure and the impacts of climate change compound the challenges. Despite some rain that has come our way, the situation looks bleak. According to the Los Angeles Times, 2014 is likely to be California’s hottest year since 1895 when record keeping began. And, a U.S. monitoring map shows that this year’s severe drought covers 94% of California. Consequently, some of our largest reservoirs now contain less than half the amount of water they held, on average, last year.


So what’s to be done? Take a look at the California Water Plan, which projects many years out and provides a roadmap for decision–makers. It also advances Governor Brown’s five-year Water Action Plan, setting forth priority actions related to conservation, safe drinking water, expanded storage capacity, environmental stewardship and the like.


The updated Plan supports three major themes – redoubling efforts to integrate water management across jurisdictional boundaries; a call for better alignment of how government manages data and plans, establishes policy; and prioritizes public funding, when it comes to water; and creating stable funding sources for investment in water innovation and infrastructure.


This is a plan worth doing – one that recognizes that, when it comes to confronting drought, we are not yet at the finish line.