More than two decades of devastating droughts, exacerbated by climate change, mean California needs to collect, treat and desalinate far more water, the state’s governor said Thursday.
Gavin Newsom unveiled an “aggressive” new strategy to try to fix dwindling water supplies and said he wants to strengthen and modernize aging infrastructure to keep up with a changing environment.
“Climate change means that the drought will not last just two years at a time, as has been the case in the past,” he said in a statement.
“Drought is a permanent condition here in the American West, and California will adapt to this new reality.”
The plan, unveiled on Thursday, calls for more above-ground storage and the development of better methods to capture the billions of liters of rain that normally end up in the ocean.
There are also plans to treat a lot more water and desalinate seawater.
For more than twenty years, the American West has experienced its worst drought in more than a millennium.
Scientists predict that California’s already-strained water supply will shrink by another 10% over the next few decades as the current drought is part of a long-term drying up of the region. A process accelerated by climate change caused by human activities.
“Regardless of drought or flooding, less water will be available in this changed climate,” the state’s 16-page plan reads.
“California needs to capture, recycle, desalinate and store more water… to utilize water that would otherwise be unusable, efficiently distribute supplies, and expand our ability to store water from large storms for dry spells.”