Improving Water Management

Sen. Hertzberg’s staff tours the Tujunga Wash Greenway Restoration Project in Sherman Oaks in 2015.
Sen. Hertzberg’s staff tours the Tujunga
Wash Greenway Restoration Project
in Sherman Oaks in 2015.

OP-ED: Capturing Stormwater and Planning for California's Future

California is in a fix. The climate is changing, the state’s spring water supply — its snowpack — is gradually declining over time and we’ve entered a new era of endless cycles of drought.

That is the reality in April 2017, even after an especially wet winter that saw flooding and infrastructure failures around the state. California’s water supply will be strained in coming decades, and we need to take action right now to plan for that.

Did you know that only 15 percent of the stormwater flowing into the Los Angeles River watershed is captured and used for water supply while the rest is dumped into the ocean, a loss of billions of gallons of water each year?

That is beyond wasteful — it’s the type of stupidity that will confound future generations, the same way we are now confounded by past practices of forest clear cutting and unrestrained air pollution.


PRESS RELEASE: Hertzberg Praises Governor’s Call for Infrastructure Funding

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, issued the following statement today regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s new plan to bolster dam safety and repair transportation and water infrastructure:

“I thank Governor Brown for stepping up to take leadership on this important matter. The recent rains and flooding have highlighted California’s need to upgrade its aging infrastructure and prepare more thoughtfully for the future.

“As chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Water, I have closely followed the developments at Oroville Dam and the flooding that has occurred in other parts of the state. The Governor’s plan is a good first step, but there is much more we need to do to improve water management, strengthen the state’s infrastructure and plan for the weather changes we know climate change will bring.

“I have introduced legislation this year to help local governments more easily finance and build projects to manage flood and storm waters. I look forward to working with the administration on that bill and on how to meet California’s water infrastructure needs.”


PRESS RELEASE: Herzberg Named Chair of Natural Resources and Water Committee

SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León today announced that he has recommended appointing Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee as part of legislative assignments made for the 2017-18 session.   

Hertzberg, who has worked for over 40 years on water issues, served as chair of the Governance and Finance Committee during the 2015-16 session. Under the plan announced by de León, Hertzberg will remain on that committee but no longer serve as its chair. De León’s recommendations must be approved by the Rules Committee to take effect.  

“Water has been one of the central passions of my public policy work my entire adult life,” Hertzberg said. “In California, and in Los Angeles County, how we manage our water and environment is crucial to everything else we do. It is an honor and privilege to lead the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, which has played an important role in pioneering groundbreaking, progressive public policy that is emulated across the globe.”


CIVIC PUBLICATIONS: Sen. Hertzberg's Legislation Considers Every Last Drop

Multiple Bills Aim to Save Water and Money

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, has studied the intricacies of water issues and policy since he wrote his college thesis on the topic 40 years ago. Throughout the ebb and flow of his career in and out of government, water has been a constant.

“You’ll see me introduce water bills every year that I’m in the Senate,” Hertzberg said as he discussed some of his recent legislation. “These (bills) are just one small step for water policy toward one large deliverable of how we do water policy in California.”

Hertzberg, who was elected to the Senate in 2014, previously served in the State Assembly from 1996- 2002. During his time in the Assembly, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg helped shape and pass legislation regarding agriculture-to-urban water transfers that provided a framework to end nearly seven decades of California/Colorado River water disputes. 

“I left politics for 12 years and I came back wanting to fix things for the next generation,” Hertzberg said. Water is one issue he knew he would address and he just served on a commission for the Metropolitan Water District to look ahead 50 years in water management.


OP-ED: Stop dumping good water into the ocean

If ever there was a time to think big about water that time is now.

Remember the energy crisis of the early 2000s? That’s when dwindling energy supplies caused skyrocketing prices and Californians suffered, both in their wallets and quality of life. We got through that crisis with conservation and building a sustainable, renewable, energy system.

Whether El Niño deposits its gift this winter, we have now seen scarcity’s path. Relying on captured water won’t produce nearly as much as we’ve saved this summer through vigilance alone.

Instead, we need to focus on sustainability and smarter choices with the water we have. First: Stop dumping hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water into the ocean every day.