Ducks Unlimited recently hosted the “California Water Panel” discussion as part of its 2018 Winter Board of Directors meeting in Napa, Calif., featuring U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chair of the California Water Resources Control Board Felicia Marcus, Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Planning Dr. Mark Petrie, and Al Montna, owner of Montna Farms in Yuba City, Calif.
The one-hour event took place at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa on Feb. 17th in front of Ducks Unlimited’s national 65-member board and was moderated by Dale Humburg, DU’s retired former chief scientist. The panel identified several factors contributing to California’s ongoing water issues, citing the complex legal and geographical hurdles the state faces in supplying drinking water to a population of over 39 million, while also providing water for agriculture, waterfowl and fish needs.
By the end of the discussion, the panel reached a consensus that California can meet future water demands if public and private groups work together to make sure each drop of water is maximized to its fullest use, citing the successful partnerships between rice farmers and Ducks Unlimited in the Sacramento Valley as an example.
“The big challenge is that we have to have a system that can service these needs in California and we need a regulatory climate with the doers in state government where we can make this system work,” said Montna, who is also Ducks Unlimited’s senior vice president of policy. “Working together we have to design a system, and all the tools are there, to take that water molecule and put it on rice fields for fish, fowl, farms and families.”