September 4, 2008

ACWA Applauds Creation of Drought Water Bank

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today praised creation of a 2009 Drought Water Bank to help alleviate water shortages and assist with meeting local water needs in a potential third year of drought.

The California Department of Water Resources announced creation of the water bank at a statewide Drought Summit today. The summit included state and local water officials as well as ACWA and other water organizations. Participants heard the latest on drought conditions and forecasts for 2009 and discussed ways the state can best support local water agencies as they grapple with the most severe water supply challenges in decades.

Establishing a water bank was a key action recommended by ACWA in a letter delivered today to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The letter called for implementation of a water bank as soon as possible and urged DWR to commit the same level of resources and sense of urgency that characterized a similar bank established in the early 1990s.

"We know from past experience that a water bank can be a valuable tool in times of drought," ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said. "Done correctly, a water bank can provide short-term relief from water shortages while protecting water rights and the long-term interests of water suppliers. We strongly support this action by DWR and stand ready to help it work."

ACWA's letter noted that court-ordered constraints on moving water through the Delta will be a challenge for the bank, and suggested that DWR seek to acquire water from sources south of the Delta as well as north of the Delta. The letter offered a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the bank, and called on the governor to seek federal drought relief as well as federal appropriations to purchase and develop alternative sources of water supply, promote water use efficiency and implement conservation programs. The letter is available at

ACWA continues to partner with DWR to coordinate assistance to local agencies and step up public education efforts through the California Water Awareness Campaign's "Nice Save!" program. ACWA also is serving as an information clearinghouse for its members, the media, legislators and others on drought conditions and conservation measures around the state.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit