Unprecedented levels of drought continue to plague California and show no signs of slowing down. These historic consequences not only signal the impacts of a changing climate but also point to the continued over-subscription of available water resources and underscore the importance of directing strategies and funding towards long-term drought response and resilience.
Communities across the State are being forced to contend with dire water shortages, drying wells and reservoirs, agriculture and infrastructure challenges, and more, many of which disproportionately impact tribal communities, low-income, Latinx, and other vulnerable groups. The impacts of the drought have already had health and safety, cultural, and economic consequences for communities from the North State to the San Joaquin Valley to the Inland Empire.
Amidst this crisis, the State faces a profound moment of challenge and opportunity to mitigate drought impacts and change the trajectory of this issue for decades to come. The Department of Water Resources recently announced its first round of funding commitments to combat water supply challenges, and the State Budget enacted in June 2021 puts approximately $5.1 billion over four years toward helping communities develop long-term resiliency. Philanthropy will play a crucial role in amplifying these efforts to be as impactful as possible. Through partnerships with the State, philanthropy can not only ensure funds are allocated in a community-driven and equitable manner but also help communities establish resilience in response to future droughts and climate disasters.
During this unique conversation, we will hear from State leaders at the forefront of the emergency drought response, funders providing a blueprint around roles for philanthropy and key funding opportunities, and community leaders pinpointing tools to build long-term water resilience and mitigate the impact of future droughts.