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No Doubt, There’s Drought

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arnold.jpgBy Joseph Serna, Staff Writer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the Long Beach Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project Monday, a chance for the governor to spotlight California’s water crisis.
Though Long Beach’s water system works well with the state’s, “this system only works as long as we have water,” Schwarzenegger said. “And that’s the problem that we have–we have a lack of water.”
Schwarzenegger is calling on lawmakers to pass $5.9 billion in bonds for his comprehensive water plan that will provide additional water storage, create a conservation and efficiency measure, repair the delta and lead to developing a modern conveyance system to reliably supply water to California’s growing population and $32 billion agricultural industry.
“Right now, the California water system is extremely vulnerable,” the governor said. The state has not added onto the current water system in more than three decades, yet the population has grown from 20 million to 37 million and is expected to reach 60 million within the next 40 years.
“We must solve the water crisis and the problem not only for the next few years, but we must solve it for the next 20, 30, or 40 years,” he said. “I know that we can find a way. We must bring everyone together to get this done.”
The governor’s Long Beach visit highlighted how the city is ahead of the curve, but still impacted by California’s record drought.
On top of a desalinization plant, current conservation measures, there is the $8 million facility the governor toured Monday.
The facility utilizes conjunctive use groundwater storage–aquifer storage–by allowing Long Beach to store surface water underground during wet years to be used when the city has inadequate rainfall in other years. It provides Long Beach with an additional 17,000 acre-feet of local water storage capacity.
“All these things together help this city prepare for years like we have now,” said Mayor Bob Foster.
The governor’s plan calls for $4.5 billion to develop additional surface and groundwater storage, $1 billion to restoring the Delta, including a new conveyance system and $250 million for restoration projects at the Klamath, San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and the Salton Sea project. California communities would also receive $200 million in grants to help conserve water.

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No Doubt, There’s Drought