A recent series of storms barely made a dent in lessening California's drought, highlighting a need for lawmakers to work together to find solutions to lessen the impact, a regional official said today at a panel hosted by the Southern California Association of Governments.
"We are in a serious condition, even with the recent storm we had," said Greg Pettis, the Southern California Association of Governments president and a Cathedral City councilman.
Los Angeles reported no measurable rain in January for the fifth time since 1878, according to the SCAG.
"We have taken water for granted, and our water bills are very small in comparison with what the real cost is. I think the public is going to begin to see those ratchet up over the next couple of years, Pettis said."
Pettis said he believes the state needs a united front when it comes to coming up with policies to lessen the impact of the drought, especially the need for recapturing storm water, expanding the use of recycled water and recharging groundwater storage.
"We need the kind of immediate legislative action that we're seeing right now," Pettis said. "More important, we need long-term strategies to ensure reliable and safe local, regional and state water supplies."
Other participants in the panel included Richard Atwater, executive director of the Southern California Water Committee, James Famiglietti, director of the UC Irvine Center for Hydrologic Modeling, William Croyle, drought manager for the California Department of Water Resources, Brandon Goshi, manager of water policy at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Mark Grey, director of environmental affairs at the Building Industry Association of Southern California and David Pedersen, general manager of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.
Last week, the California Legislature passed a $500 million emergency relief package to fund infrastructure projects.
--City News Service