The ability to fully manage water for beneficial use within the Sacramento Valley is a central part of sustainable water management. Local water management, including intra-regional water transfers and exchanges, helps fully utilize water resources within the region. Neighboring water users in the Sacramento Valley regularly use intra-regional water transfers to increase system flexibility and water supply reliability in the region. Water management for use within the Sacramento Valley is necessary to ensure that California’s most precious resource can be put to reasonable and beneficial use to the maximum degree practicable, while at the same time protecting water rights, the environment and the citizens that reside within the watersheds of origin.
Inter-basin water transfers also serve as a pressure valve for California water, where areas that do not have water in a given year (depending on hydrology) can partner with areas that have available water supplies. California is a large and diverse state with 39 million people, the 5th largest economy in the world, the most productive agricultural area in the world, and stunning landscapes—all of which depend upon water. Having a flexible, market-style, mechanism to help balance supply and demand is important for California, particularly during dry years. It is the policy of the State of California “to facilitate the voluntary transfer of water and water rights where consistent with the public welfare of the place of export and the place of import.” Transfers thus serve as a pressure valve for the Sacramento Valley. During dry periods, California Governors have consistently encouraged and helped facilitate water transfers through various Executive Orders and Proclamations.