And that's necessary before the state can proceed with repairing and updating California's waterworks by digging two tunnels under the delta to carry Sacramento River water south into the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
All sides are squabbling over this, and Brown needs to lead.
That's just a partial list. Brown has many other unfinished chores, including:
Coming to terms with the liberal Legislature on how to implement President Obama's healthcare expansion; preparing to release 10,000 state prisoners if he can't obtain U.S. Supreme Court relief from a lower court edict; and regulating hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas extraction, which is environmentally suspect.
Legislators have complained that the governor hasn't engaged them on these pressing issues all year.
He did seem to be taking a nap, although it's often hard to tell. Brown resists communicating what he's up to.
In fact, he has had the smallest and weakest communications staff of any governor of the last half-century. Conveying messages through the news media to the public never has been a priority — his China venture being an exception.
Then again, he has been on a roll politically.
A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, released Wednesday, shows the governor with a respectable job approval rating: 49% approval, 41% disapproval among likely voters.
"He has created realistic expectations of what a governor can do," says Mark Baldassare, the institute's president and pollster. "He hasn't over-promised. He has created very modest expectations and generally delivered on those modest expectations."
Brown also has created political capital he should spend — making California more business friendly, for example. Finishing and updating the water project his father, Pat Brown, started. Reforming education.
China was inspiring — hopefully enough to propel the governor full-bore into completing his arduous chores at the Capitol.