Coachella: More California drought resilience

In the latest episode of “whos’ not running out of water in California?” we join Ian James for a visit to the Coachella Valley:

[V]ast amounts of water are still flowing as usual to the farms of the Coachella Valley, soaking into the soil to produce lemons and tangelos, grapes, and vegetables from carrots to bell peppers. Some farms are still using flood irrigation, inundating the furrows between rows of date palms and other crops with pools of water.

The lucrative farming industry in the desert has been left untouched by the drought because the area holds longstanding rights to water from the Colorado River and is one of the few places in the state where water remains relatively cheap and plentiful.

So, diversity of supply is one resilience tool. But are the right policy tools in place to make this work in the face of deeper supply problems?

Rettberg said it seems especially inappropriate to be slapping fees on landowners who conserve water during the drought.

“There’s not any way anyone can cut back because you’re penalized,” she said. “Why are they encouraging people to waste instead of going the other way?”


  1. “Cheap and plentiful” b/c there’s no market. If there was, then it would be expensive and scarce… for those who didn’t sell to others willing to pay far more…

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