SCWC focuses on a broad range of water issues to address the needs of our diverse and growing membership. Unlike many other water organizations, SCWC approaches issue education from a more global perspective, which allows our organization to authoritatively participate in all aspects of water policy and equip our members for the rapidly shifting world of California water.
The sustainability of California’s economy, the eighth largest in the world, depends upon a reliable source of water. The Sacramento‐San Joaquin River Delta (Delta) is the hub of our state’s water delivery system and home to one of California’s most important ecosystems. Twenty‐five million Californians —nearly two‐thirds of the state’s population — and millions of acres of farmland rely on water that passes through the Delta. The survival of many endangered species depends on the habitat of the Delta.
Clean Water Act
Enacted by Congress in 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) is one of the nation’s most sweeping environmental laws, and it continues to make a broad, over-arching impact on the way water quality is regulated in California, and nationwide. The CWA established water quality standards based on the “best available technology economically feasible.” The goal of the CWA is to “restore and maintain chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.”
Spearheading an important new policy initiative, SCWC established a new Regional Stormwater Task Force in 2011, recognizing the need to develop regional consensus-based strategies and recommendations for utilizing stormwater effectively as a new local water supply, and reduce the urban runoff water pollution problems within the coastal plain of Southern California. The coastal plain of Southern California includes Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, as well as the Santa Ana River watershed portion of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
The Colorado River – often called the lifeline of the southwest – supplies water to more than 30 million people and more than two million acres of agricultural land. With an average annual supply of 14 million acre-feet, the Colorado River supplies seven states – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada – as well as several American Indian tribes. California’s Colorado River allocation, which serves the southern coastal and desert areas of the state from north of Los Angeles to the Mexico border, is limited to 4.4 million acre-feet, about 30 percent of the total allocation.
In Sacramento and in Washington, the legislation of water issues is as fast-moving as it is complex. During any given session, dozens of bills concerning every water issue from the Delta, to stormwater capture, to the regulation of water quality, are rapidly making their way through the various levels of the legislative process. On a regular basis, these important state and federal legislative items have the potential to greatly impact the landscape of California water issues. In many cases, meticulous bill tracking and real-time collaborative advocacy decisions are required to keep our efforts on track.
Urban Water Planning
The California Urban Water Management Planning Act of 1983 (UWMP Act) requires all publicly or privately owned entities that serve water for municipal purposes to more than 3,000 service connections or serve more than 3,000 acre-feet of water per year to prepare an updated UWMP once every five years -- either at the beginning or mid-point of each decade – to support long-term resource planning.