Public Education Program Seeks to Raise Awareness of California's Water Crisis

On Sept. 12, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) announced the launch of a statewide public education program to educate Californians about critical challenges confronting the state's water supply and delivery system, including a deepening crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (delta) and a recent court-ordered massive reduction in the statewide water supply.

Information on the program, "California's Water: A Crisis We Can't Ignore," can be obtained at

"We are facing some of the most significant challenges to our water system in a half-century, yet the public is largely unaware of it," said Timothy Quinn, executive director of the ACWA, which represents nearly all of the state's water agencies. "Just two weeks ago, a federal court ordered a massive reduction in our statewide water supply, (which was) potentially one of the largest court-ordered reductions in California history. This crisis isn't coming; it is here and now."

  • The delta, a key natural estuary and the main pathway through which more than 25 million Californians and 2.5 million acres of farmland receive their water, is broken and vulnerable to a natural disaster that could cripple water deliveries for an extended period.
  • Two weeks ago, a federal court cut water supplies from the state's two largest water delivery systems by up to one-third to protect an endangered fish.
  • The state's population is growing rapidly, but the statewide water system has not been significantly improved in 30 years.

According to ACWA, most Californians have little understanding and awareness of the state's water problems and their potential impact on the state's economy, environment and quality of life.

"It's clear that Californians are largely unaware of the crisis at hand," Quinn stated. "This program is aimed at changing that. Californians need to know that these problems could affect water supplies in nearly every region of the state in the coming months and years."

The program, funded by voluntary contributions from public water agencies throughout the state, is currently scheduled to run through the end of 2007.

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