Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Exploring how to secure California’s water supply

In this photo taken Monday, May 18, 2015, irrigation pipes sit along a dried irrigation canal on a field near Stockton, Calif.
In this photo taken Monday, May 18, 2015, irrigation pipes sit along a dried irrigation canal on a field near Stockton, Calif. AP

Whether or not El Niño turns out to be a drought-buster, this parched period has highlighted California’s larger need to get smarter about its water supply as the population grows and future droughts loom.

Legislative hearings today will examine some of the options, from better protecting watersheds to squeezing more out of sources like groundwater and recycled rain.

An Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing in Los Angeles will focus on the L.A. region, drawing on officials from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Natural Resources Agency, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. While the region relies mostly on imported water, which helps explain the stakes in the Met’s proposed Delta land purchase, the hearing will also talk about managing groundwater basins and promoting conservation.

A Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee hearing will offer a broader view of California’s “chronically underfunded” 21st century water needs. Some of the money-starved areas to be discussed include securing safe drinking water, managing stormwater and groundwater, bolstering flood protection and shoring up the environment. Starting at 1 p.m. in room 3191.

BROWN ON GREEN: Gov. Jerry Brown continues his busy climate-centric schedule ahead of Paris climate talks, appearing in Chicago to address the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ symposium. The event features a doomsday clock whose hands moved closer to midnight this year in recognition of the threat posed by climate change, an apocalyptic view that Brown shares.

TAKING CREDIT: As the City College of San Francisco’s accreditation saga demonstrates, California’s community college accreditation system has some issues. A state audit slammed broad inconsistencies in a system that has seen a sanction rate of more than 50 percent. Today the California Community Colleges Board of Governors will vote on whether to establish a new accrediting model that they hope can restore some credibility. They’ll be meeting at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

LUCKY SEVEN: Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones will make “an important political announcement” in Rancho Cordova, where the Republican will formally launch his campaign for Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District, now represented by Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove. 11 a.m., Sacramento Marriott Hotel.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, who turns 35 today.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert