Clean Water

Incentivizing the Protection of Water Resources

Tomales Bay

California faces an intensifying water crisis. The quantity of the state’s water is diminishing due to our growing population, consumption patterns and drought. In some areas of the state, excessive amounts of groundwater are siphoned to compensate for decreasing surface water availability for irrigation, drinking and wildlife habitat.

Water quality continues to be impacted due to the release of pollutants into rivers, bays and underground aquifers. Many of California's waterways don't currently meet federal and state clean water standards.

Sustainable Conservation engages farmers, ranchers and the private sector to protect and improve California's water resources. Starting with sound science, we advance practices and technologies that individuals and businesses alike can implement to promote clean, abundant water for the state. We focus on two major areas: agriculture and transportation.

Agriculture: Engaging Farmers, Ranchers and other Private Landowners in Conservation

Partners in Restoration: We created a one-stop permitting program that makes it easier, faster and cheaper for private landowners to implement water-quality protection projects on their properties.

Dairy Farming: Sustainable Conservation works with the dairy industry to protect clean water by promoting better ways to keep manure and fertilizer from harming surface water and groundwater.

Water efficiency: With California farmers using more than 75% of the water devoted to human use, Sustainable Conservation identifies technologies and practices that improve irrigation efficiency without sacrificing yields.

Ecosystem services: We are working with experts to measure environmental benefits and create a market that rewards landowners for protecting clean water, clean air and healthy wildlife.

Our approach gives the private sector and landowners the inspiration and freedom to find day-to-day practices that protect clean water and are feasible to implement. The result? Cleaner water for fish, farmers and families.

Transportation: Keeping Vehicle Pollutants Out of Waterways

Brake Pad Partnership: Troubled by evidence that copper from automobile brake pads pollutes local waterways, Sustainable Conservation created a diverse stakeholder group to analyze the evidence and take action. With partners, Sustainable Conservation passed statewide legislation in 2010 that dramatically limits copper in brake pads sold in California.

Auto Recycling: Sustainable Conservation partnered with the auto recycling industry to establish best practices that keep mercury, lead and other dangerous pollutants out of California bays, rivers and streams.