It is no secret that the US State of California has spent the last hundred years creating a vast system and network of pipes, pump stations, and aqueducts that reach far and wide into distant regions in order to filter water from remote rivers into hard to reach dry zones in the Southern part of the state.
It’s an engineering marvel, but only so long as the ecosystems they are drawing from can continue to collect water. Due to the drought, these ecosystems are under ever-increasing pressure.
“So, with the state entering its sixth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed a landmark law, Assembly Bill 2480, declaring that “source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure.”
In so doing, he made it possible to funnel billions of dollars in infrastructure finance towards the restoration of forests and the maintenance of meadows, streams and rivers — echoing a similar move by Peru last year and accelerating a decades-old trend towards the use of “natural infrastructure” to manage water supplies.”
The shift in thinking is a welcome one, as conservation moves from simply being “a nice idea” to an absolutely critical part of the State’s water infrastructure.
California is following a trend that has been adopted by many countries and municipalities all over the world already and look forward to seeing the results of this appearing in higher legislation.
This bill is a small step that will hopefully lead to more watershed investment and better preservation of these important and critical water sources.
Infrastructure management as a discipline involves thinking and managing infrastructure service delivery holistically, by taking a long-term and lifecycle approach.
The integrated management of watersheds is a logical management progression, that will assist in ensuring the long-term sustainability of required service delivery.
This integrated management approach also provides the opportunity to understand and integrate management of ecology into the wider watershed management practices, and to provide multiple benefits to the natural environment, and the sustainable quality and quantity of water extracted.