Municipal water conservation – lots more room to move

Central to my “decoupling” argument is the premise that, in addition to the water conservation we’ve already seen, we have significant opportunities to conserve yet more. This from  Dave Cogdill (California Building Industry Association and an adviser to the Public Policy Institute of California) puts some numbers to the thing: New homes are quite water efficient, …

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The Salton Sea and the risk of failure

While I was writing my book about the future of Colorado River water management, I joked about my efforts to leave the Salton Sea out of the story. It was only sort of a joke. The problems of the Salton Sea, an inland water body fed by agricultural drainage from the Imperial Valley, are an …

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wastewater reuse

The language here is so delicate, which is in itself an interesting issue: It is now possible to imagine a future in which highly treated wastewater will be plumbed directly into California homes as a new drinking water supply. That’s Matt Weiser on California’s next big step in institutionally normalizing “direct potable reuse” – the treatment of …

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East Porterville revisited

With a wave of stories in the last few days about the provision of running water to the community of East Porterville, in California’s Central Valley, I wanna re-up this important Citylab story by Laura Bliss. East Porterville has been the poster child for drought in California as national and international media descended to tell …

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Audubon hiring someone to help save the Salton Sea

Audubon is looking to hire someone to help save the Salton Sea. It’s a great twofer – you get to help the birds, and if you succeed you also get to help save Colorado River manage as a whole, as the two are integrally related. If we fail to get the Salton Sea right, everything …

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Despite drought, the value of California farmland is rising

California’s epic, headline-grabbing drought has not dented the value of the state’s farm land. According to a new USDA dataset released today, California cropland rose 2.1 percent in value per acre in the last year, and 16 percent since 2012. Despite drought, California cropland remains at $10,900 an acre the second most valuable in the …

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On California’s “new” groundwater and the hope for a savior

Smart Faith Kearns on the headlines this week about the “discovery” of a bunch of groundwater beneath parched California: [O]n a symbolic level it’s really just fascinating how often we get caught up in stories being saved — by a good winter, a new dam, new water. I wish I didn’t find it so depressing. …

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Palm Springs, a water conservation success?

Palm Springs, in the deserts of Southern California, would never be mistaken for an actual desert. They dump too much water on their landscaping for that.  But Ian James reports they’re getting better: May turned out to be a banner month for water conservation in the Palm Springs area, with customers of the Desert Water …

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Metro Los Angeles – one of the places Californians *do* regulate their groundwater

Steve Scauzillo wrote last week about the Water Replenishment District of Southern California’s decision to invest $110 million in a new wastewater treatment plant, that they might use 21,000 acre feet now discharged to the ocean to recharge regional aquifers instead. Formed in the early 1960s, the WRD is the best example of one of …

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In California environmental management, signs of hope

California sprang to action in its fourth year of deep drought because water management professionals and state leaders recognized that California’s water-scarce condition could be the new norm. They accepted the scientific consensus that it could get considerably worse. The way out of the trouble was to convince state residents of the need for collective …

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