29 Jan State Water Officials Create Interagency Drought Planning Task Force
Lake Oroville tributary, the South Fork Feather River, on July 26, 2021, shows the effect the drought is having on California’s water supply. (Courtesy of Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources)
By Olivia Wynkoop
Bay City News Foundation
Though the recent barrage of winter storms has certainly improved California’s drought conditions, state water leaders are making moves to prepare for the inevitable dry season soon to come.
On Jan. 20, the California Department of Water Resources kickstarted a partnership between state agencies, local governments, scientists and community members in a new task force, called the Drought Resilience Interagency and Partners Collaborative.
The DRIP group was created in part by the 2021 Senate Bill 552, which requires state agencies to take a proactive stance on drought preparedness, especially for smaller rural communities most vulnerable to droughts.
The water agency hopes the task force will draft emergency response plans and water management based on anticipated drought impacts. Meetings will include multiple state agency officials to present the ongoing and future drought conditions that California is experiencing.
Karla Nemeth, director of the water agency said that though the series of winter storms has refilled many of the state’s reservoirs, California has faced a prolonged period of extreme drought for the past three years, and it’s still not over.
“Even as the state’s drought outlook improves, it’s critical that the water community all work together to advance drought planning and response for the state’s hotter, drier future,” Nemeth said. “We’re looking for a variety of representatives statewide to actively participate on behalf of all water users to achieve a drought resilient future.”
The DRIP Collaborative will be composed of 26 members, consisting of state agency officials and two representatives from each of the following groups: local government, community organizations, tribes, nonprofit providers, the general public, agriculture, environmental advocates, public water service providers, water agencies and experts in land use or water.
Residents interested in contributing to the task force can send in a letter of interest until Feb. 24. The water agency will announce the selected members of the collaborative in spring.
More information on the program can be found on the water agency’s website at https://water.ca.gov/Water-Basics/Drought/Drought-Resilience-Interagency-and-Partners-Collaborative.
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