California’s finally wet enough that the Metropolitan Water District of So Cal could store this year

This is a big deal: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which gathers water for 19 million people in the region, expects it can now begin storing water for future years. In recent years, it had been using up its water reserves. It’s just one bit of a thoroughly excellent piece on the state …

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I’ll be on KQED tomorrow, 9:30 Pacific Time, talking water

Hey San Francisco Bay Area friends, I’ll be on your radios tomorrow (Friday 12/30/16) at 9:30 am Pacific time. I’ll explain how to solve all the water problems. Actually, I think thanks to the Internet thing you may be able to listen even if you don’t have a radio and/or are not in the Bay …

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In western water management, the rest of us nervously watch California

One of my new lectures this semester for UNM Water Resources Program students tackled the question of where and how you draw boundaries around a water management problem. The example I worked through was the Colorado River and the U.S.-Mexico border. You have water management institutions and governance that are largely separate on each side …

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The Sacramento Delta-Colorado River connection

LA Times on the eve of the release of the EIS on Sacramento Delta water diversion tunnels: Talks are ongoing over the Colorado River, where drought and increasing demand from Arizona and Nevada may reduce California’s share. If the tunnels are never built, the Met will need to drive a harder bargain on the Colorado to …

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conservation undercuts the desalination business model

“Decoupling” – when resource use is no longer inextricably linked to population or economic growth – is a central feature of water management right now in the western United States. (See here for a deeper dive.) The LA Times’ Bettina Boxall had a great story over the weekend that illustrates its impact on a proposal …

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California’s Bay-Delta and the Endangered Species Act

Ellen Hanak and colleagues at the Public Policy Institute of California stuck their necks out last week with a scheme to move California’s Bay-Delta water conflict forward. It has a number of elements – I’d like to focus here on its proposal to “manage water for ecosystems, not just endangered species”: To improve the effectiveness …

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Webinar tomorrow with Sharon Megdal, Jay Lund, and me

The  folks at the Security and Sustainability Forum are doing a webinar tomorrow around some of the issues in my book, about water governance, resilience, and sustainability. I am especially jazzed about the company – Sharon Megdal from the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center and Jay Lund from the University of California Davis Center …

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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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