SACRAMENTO (AP) — Leaders of the three state agencies that deal with California water availability, quality and consumption said Thursday they will begin looking at the issues comprehensively rather than dealing with each problem separately.
The strategy was detailed In a draft plan released by the Department of Natural Resources, Cal EPA and the Department of Food and Agriculture.
It's meant to be the backbone of an effort to identify and prioritize projects dealing with issues such as poor water quality, declining fish habitat, groundwater over-drafting, and water scarcity in a warming climate.
"We have to focus on the whole picture," said John Laird, natural resources secretary. "A number of agencies and processes deal with water. We've been looking for a way and plan of action to tie them all together."
Gov. Jerry Brown in May directed the agencies to work together to better sustain the increasingly uncertain water supplies in the state where each region's needs are different. Previously the agencies worked independently to solve problems under the domain of each.
Since Brown's directive they've been working on the first draft of the California Water Action Plan to help set policy and define urgent projects over the next five years.
A final plan is due by December after stakeholders weigh in.