Calif. governor uses improved water outlook to renew storage push

By Camille von Kaenel | 04/02/2024 04:11 PM EDT

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s update to California’s five-year water plan calls for increased storage and delivery infrastructure as well as ecosystem restoration and conservation.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks with people at a Proposition 1 campaign event.

“The water system in California was designed for a world that no longer exists,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said. “The hot's getting a lot hotter, the dry's getting a lot drier, and the wet's getting a lot wetter.” Terry Chea/AP

SACRAMENTO, California — California’s water supplies are in good shape heading into spring and summer, state officials said Tuesday, with statewide snowpack levels at 105 percent of average for this time of year and major reservoirs full.

But it won’t always be that way, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned as he joined state water managers conducting their monthly snow survey in the Sierra Nevada.

His arguments, outlined in a five-year update to the State Water Plan released Tuesday, are that the state needs to build more infrastructure to store and move around water — including a new off-stream reservoir on the American River and a tunnel through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and bolster its groundwater levels as climate change destabilizes water supplies.


“The water system in California was designed for a world that no longer exists,” he said. “The hot’s getting a lot hotter, the dry’s getting a lot drier and the wet’s getting a lot wetter.”