The Water Forum has successfully joined together water purveyors, environmentalists, agriculturalists, business leaders, along with city and county governments in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties in a monumental agreement to secure the future of the Sacramento region water supply to the year 2030.
Signed by 40 stakeholder organizations in April 2000, the Water Forum has already successfully implemented programs that will maintain the long-term sustainable yield of the North Area Groundwater Basin, conserve municipal and industrial water use, and protect fish and other public trust assets in the lower American River.
By the early 1990s the Sacramento region had suffered 30 years of litigious battle over the American River. Additionally, the last two California droughts brought the region water supply cutbacks and environmental degradation. Compounding these problems was a water table that had been lowered in some areas by as much as 90 feet due to over reliance on groundwater. Moreover, parts of area groundwater basins were contaminated.
Adding to water supply concerns was an increasing awareness of environmental conditions along the lower American River (LAR). The LAR provides important habitat, water supply, a critical floodway and a regional recreational parkway to the Sacramento area. The American River Parkway records over 5 million visitor-days each year and the LAR supports 43 species of native and nonnative fish, including endangered fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead.
With water demand growing alongside population and growing concern for the environment, leaders recognized that only negotiations involving all sides seemed the clearest solution to the area’s water woes. In 1993, the City and County of Sacramento created the Water Forum, a diverse group of business and agricultural leaders, citizens groups, environmentalists, water managers and local governments to find solutions to the water dilemma.