Securing California’s water future for farms, families and native species is possible. California Rice FieldWhen we pursue smart policies that foster innovative solutions, everyone benefits. One example of these smart policy solutions is the use of strategically expandable floodplains found in the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

How can changing how we think about storm flows and floodplains improve water management for all of California? When precipitation is abundant, like this year, water managers are sometimes forced to release water from reservoirs early to be ready for possible future rain, instead of safely storing it and releasing it in ways that provide multiple benefits.

With expanded floodplains, water is allowed to overflow onto farmland that is managed in a way to accommodate higher seasonal flows. Strategically expanding floodplains onto suitable farmland helps protect levees, communities, and farms from potential flood damage. Native species are provided habitat, food, and protection, and opportunities to recharge groundwater aquifers are enhanced.

Smart policies that encourage collaborative approaches to improve how water is managed for everyone can protect communities, nurture the environment, and ensure vibrant local farms.

Learn more about how California’s farmers in the Sacramento Valley are working on innovative ways to improve water management in this Sacramento Bee piece on floodplains.

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