Water is essential to all forms of life. Water is a basic human need and a requirement for all forms of life. It is the responsibility of government to assure a clean, safe supply of drinking water to every California resident. Our existing surface and groundwater must be protected from pollution by agricultural and industrial wastes as well as runoff from our homes and roadways.
Cycles of intense drought and flooding demonstrated the need to reorient our priorities in order to achieve a truly sustainable water policy. Over-development and poor planning have resulted in increasing rain-impermeable areas, which then compound the severity and frequency of flooding and pollution in regions downstream.
We must understand and apply a holistic "watershed approach" to managing our state's water resources. The principle of bioregionalism - living within the means of a region's natural resources - should give direction to future water policies. Current expenditures do not address regional depletions of groundwater, and they minimize the real costs of research and development to assure adequate supply. Regional water budgets for user water allocations and public welfare statements that define regional water use priorities need to be accountable to the public.
Conservation (reduce, reuse, recycle) must be an essential part of any water policy. Water conservation also reduces energy consumption and pollution. Attention to climate change requires conservation/recycling/management strategies.
Pricing mechanisms that encourage conservation and re-use must be developed to establish consistency and fairness to all users. Bloc pricing can provide a means of increasing costs to larger users. This, in turn, creates new funds for research and development to decrease demand or increase supply of adequate water.
The Green Party proposes:
For Water Management/Policy, to:
• Develop regional water plans that assure public input into the state water plan that in turn must be based on sound science and on priorities that are in the public interest
• Oppose private water banking because profit making subverts consistent planning for the public interest
• Support upgrade of the existing water infrastructure including levees, irrigation canals, and aqueducts.
• Implement water quality standards for pharmaceuticals (medications) and for feminizing chemicals
• Support policies to implement the Marine Life Protection Act, as well as to end dumping of sewage and pollutants into the ocean
• Require governments and councils to document water supplies to last 50-100 years before any development is considered
• Implement strong laws to promote conservation, reclaim polluted water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxics and pesticide dumping, control corporate farming, and bring the rule of law to trans-state and trans-national operations that pollute water systems
• Encourage local municipal support to transition local economies away from high-tech industry, confined animal feeding operations, military bases, and national laboratories that withdraw disproportionate amounts of water and pollute public waterways
• Support state legislation that establishes/enforces standards beyond the Clean Water Act regarding the impacts of mining, quarrying and tunneling in government and industry operations
• Use an ecosystems/watershed approach to ensure responsible water use. All stakeholders need to participate in the planning. Environmental justice, ecological impact, and depletion of groundwater supplies need to be integrated with the ongoing process for approval of new withdrawals
• Achieve a truly sustainable water policy in the light of climate change considering, for example, snow packs, aquifer recharge, rising sea levels, and available water supplies
• Address the special needs of senior and child/infant water users, including price reductions and providing high quality water
• Oppose the disproportional political influences of the petroleum, corporate agriculture, mining, timber, real estate and development industries, while working to support family farms, open space, the protection of water quality in our rivers, conservation of watersheds, and the sustainable use and preservation of healthy forests
• Integrate land use with water use for urban planning decisions. Political bodies, such as municipal water authorities, need to be more inclusive in the representation of users, hydrologists, environmental health professionals, and environmental advocates in the region and address the issues affecting the regional supply and demand of the resource, as well as water quality. Presently, the interests and concerns of real estate and development interests have a disproportionate voice in new allocations
• Reduce water allocations to energy producers by establishing viable systems for renewable energy production. Public policy for conservation should include whether or not to make conservation measures mandatory or voluntary and whether to implement pricing that is pro-rated based on amount of use
• Educate the public on the need for sound water management practices
• Uphold the water and land rights established under the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo and the sovereign claims of Native American bands, tribes, rancherias, reservations, Mission Indians, and non-federally recognized bands and tribes
For Water Conservation/Pollution, to:
• Mandate water efficient appliances and fixtures be used in all new construction as well as to promote retrofitting of older buildings
• Install home, agricultural, and industrial rainwater catchment and storage systems to retain rainwater and to reduce runoff, and install water-permeable driveways and parking lots to minimize runoff and to recharge aquifers
• Promote native landscaping and other drought resistant/climate-appropriate plants, to reduce the need for irrigation
• Use drought-resistant crops and de-emphasize crops for export
• Minimize the use of water-consuming crop plant species like alfalfa primarily used for animals intended for human consumption
• Promote drip irrigation systems, laser leveling, infiltration in recharge zones, and other steps to improve water use efficiency and recharge of aquifers
• Eliminate storm water pollution of our water resources through education of our citizens, enforcement of our laws, and holistic watershed management. Promote storm water technologies that detain, treat, filtrate, and use storm waters near collection points. Promote the capture, appropriate treatment where necessary, and recycling of storm water runoff
• Promote the appropriate reuse of the "gray" and "black" waters we produce. Use separation techniques, such as dual piping systems where potable water is used for drinking and washing, and reclaimed water is used for lawn watering, gardens, landscaping, and similar purposes. Use recycled water to flush toilets.
• Create a tax break for corporations and people who recycle water.
• Mandate pre-treatment of industrial wastes to eliminate the presence of metals, solvents, and other toxins in sewer water. This will reduce the cost of municipal treatment and encourage wastewater reuse
• Set health and sustainability water quality guidelines for drinking water supported by the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Regulations are needed or need improvement, for example, for arsenic, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fluoridation chemical species such as fluoride and fluorosilicate, water disinfection by-products, environmental estrogens, and pharmaceuticals (medicines)
• Promote and maintain passive and natural systems (such as wetlands) for water and wastewater treatment where appropriate, and enforce regulations against dumping of pollutants through regional Water Quality Control Boards
• Eliminate water subsidies for corporate agribusiness. Higher water prices give agribusiness incentives to conserve
• Assist community organizations to monitor the use of local resources, as well as to oversee the enforcement of water quality regulations
• Preserve, protect, and restore natural water features (streams, rivers, lakes, bays, wetlands, the ocean, and groundwater aquifers) that are vital to achieve responsible use of water resources, and to simultaneously protect our flora and fauna
• Support eliminating pollution of groundwater from leaking underground and aboveground storage tanks, from fracking wastes (See the Fracking plank), contamination from overuse of fertilizers (for example, nitrate), and regulating water pollution from septic tanks.
• Control the quality of water above and upstream of aquifers, and manage the pumping of groundwater to avoid land settling
• Prevent future sources of pollution of water and the other compartments of the environment (See the Transportation plank to reduce gasoline use)
• Support protection of California's Marine Protected Areas and endangered species
• Support mandatory conservation requirements in urban and rural areas to assure aquifer stability and to end aquifer depletions that are faster than their recharge
• Prevent the introduction of radionuclides, pharmaceuticals, toxic metals, toxic organics, endocrine disrupters, and perchlorate into surface and ground water via source and government control and monitoring
• Increase the utilization of best available technology to treat polluted water
• Monitor increasing water supplies through desalination technologies for ocean water or for deep aquifer brackish water for impact on oceanic waters and shallow aquifers. Likewise monitor the use of wastewater for conversion to drinking water in light of the inherent risks to the public supply of safe drinking water and because of need to include the appropriate precautions
• Support research into new ways to produce potable water
• Gradually reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of chemical pesticides on public and private lands to protect surface and ground waters, aquatic life, and humans
• Increase federal, state, and local government subsidies to achieve water conservation
Amended by the GPCA Standing General Assembly , November 29, 2015