Water Resources Vice-Chair Discusses California Water Challenges

By Glenn Davis and Jennifer HerculesSeptember 12, 2011
California is a thankfully diverse state. Northern California, which has swamps and forests of redwood trees, has traditionally sent a great deal of water to Southern California, which is primarily desert. Water has always been an important resource that was fought over here, even back to before California was a state in the 1800's. The reason is that water is important for life, and especially cities, to flourish. Even more than food, water is the limiting factor for the growth of an area in terms of population.
            Frances Spivy-Weber, Vice-Chair of the California State Water Control Resources Board, was kind enough to come talk to Marymount College students about her job and the current situation of water in California.  Mrs. Weber was invited by Professor Armond Aghakhanian to come into our Eco 302 class at the Marymount College Water Front Campus and give a short lecture about the water system in California.  Mrs. Weber was elected as one of the three Vice-Chairs of the State Water Resources Control Board on February 17, 2009. Before being appointed to the Resources Control Board, she served as the executive director of the Mono Lake Committee since 1997. Mrs. Weber has served in many boards for several years that dealt with water sources in California.  She has been involved with Southern California Water Dialogue, California Urban Water Conservation Council, the Water Education Foundation, California Council of Land Trust, and Clean Water Action/ Clean Water Fund.    She explained plenty of strong points on the challenges California is facing with water, options we have to save more water, information on the  California’s water boards, water property authorities, and plenty more.
            There are 5 agencies that deal with water resources in California: The State Water Control Resources Board, which deals with water quality and rights; Department of Water Resources, which is a natural resources agency dealing with water supply, aqueduct, and floods, especially relating to the Colorado River; Department of Public Health deals with drinking water specifically; Bureau of Reclamation, which is a federal agency that overlaps with the State Water Control Resources Board and Department of Water Resources; and the Environment Protection Agency, which looks at impact of water usage and regulates actions regarding water and several other resources.
            All of these work in tandem to regulate water in California, and to make sure that there is enough water to go around for all uses. Water has to spread out to drinking water, agriculture, manufacturing, and so on. Without careful husbanding of water, some areas would go dry, and others would regularly flood.
            In the interest of getting water where it’s needed to go, the Santa Ana Watershed Property Authority (SAWPA) was created to clean up areas with contaminated and brackish water through the use of reverse osmosis. This program worked so well that it became the basis of a larger initiative to make the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP), which works to pull different groups together to achieve a goal that helps out larger regions.
 It was a great pleasure to have had Mrs. Weber lecture in the Eco 302 class at the Marymount College Water Front Campus.  She was very informative and helpful as to having the students understand the water system in California.  Her success stories were also very inspiring as to knowing that there are students like us out there whom are very interested in helping the water system we use every day in California.  Mrs. Weber was very helpful and we would welcome her any time to our campus.

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