What’s in store on Capitol Day: How to ensure California’s water sustainability

150 150 Paul Granillo & Eloy Oakley

Shasta Dam in Shasta Lake, CA. (Photo Credit: Ryan Grove/Flickr)

This was originally posted on the California Economic Summit website

The Legislature is back in session, it will be months before the rainy season begins, and, like everyone else in California, we’re thinking about water—and what the state will have to do to prosper in an even drier future.

The expanding drought emergency will be the focus of an important conversation on August 12 at the Economic Summit’s Capitol Day, where more than 200 civic leaders will join policymakers grappling with one of the state’s most complex issues: How to ensure this year’s investments in water infrastructure put California on a path to water sustainability?

Four Summit action teams have been working this year on answering this difficult question, sending the governor and legislative leaders 11 recommendations for responding to the drought emergency by providing relief where it is needed most—while also ensuring all of the state’s regions have a safe, reliable source of water for years to come.

Leaders of the Summit’s Infrastructure, Housing, Regulations, and Working Landscapes teams continue to advance these proposals, which range from providing communities with the financial tools they need to invest in water infrastructure to streamlining the water transfer process.

The state has already passed legislation this year that directs more than $800 million toward drought relief—largely in line with what the Summit recommended. The Summit will be working to ensure additional water investments made in August also go to integrated projects that achieve multiple state goals.

How the Summit’s proposals are faring

On Capitol Day, Summit leaders will hear from a group of highly respected current and former state officials about how these proposals are faring—and why state action on a retooled water bond, updated groundwater and watershed management systems, and expanded local infrastructure financing authorities will be needed for California’s diverse regional economies to prosper.

The Summit’s Capitol Day speakers on water sustainability—and how the Summit can help the state build a safer, more reliable water system—include:

  • Secretary John Laird of the California Natural Resources Agency
  • Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Lester Snow, executive director of the California Water Foundation
  • Celeste Cantú, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority
  • Steve Frisch (moderator), president of the Sierra Business Council

We look forward to seeing you on Capitol Day. You can find the rest of the day’s program here.

Paul Granillo is the president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and a member of the California Stewardship Network.

Eloy Oakley is the superintendent-president of Long Beach City College and a member of the California Forward Leadership Council. Together, they are co-chairs of the California Economic Summit Steering Committee.


The California Economic Summit is a project of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network. For more information about Capitol Day, please email info@caeconomy.org or call us at 916-382-8799.


Paul Granillo & Eloy Oakley

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