Watershed Governance

An Assessment of California’s Watershed Governance: A Perspective on Environmental Justice in Land Use Planning and Development by Valerie Escalante

Southern California faces unique challenges for land use and development.  With more than 50% of the state’s population and receiving less than 2% of the state’s rain fall per year,[1] water has become one of its main challenges.  Furthermore, as a result of Southern California’s varied demography and economic state, environmental justice[2] has emerged as a serious factor in its water challenges.  This note asserts that California’s system of watershed governance[3] in land use planning and development is essential to address these challenges.  This note considers California’s watershed governance scheme and assesses its efficacy as it relates to water concerns in land use planning and development for disadvantaged communities.  As a case study, this note focuses on the Inland Empire region of Southern California.[4] Currently, the existing dire state of the land, infrastructure, and water quality in many disadvantaged[5] Inland Empire cities casts doubt on the efficacy of California’s scheme for watershed governance, but poses a unique opportunity for improvement. This study assesses California’s watershed governance infrastructure on both the state and local level and analyzes watershed governance’s implementation in planning and development with respect to the improvement of disadvantaged watershed communities.  It considers the state of the law for [read more]