Document Details

California Water Solutions Now

Environmental Water Caucus (EWC) | January 1st, 2011


California is in the grip of a water crisis of our own making. Like all problems that humans create, we have the potential to use the crisis as an opportunity to make positive and long-lasting changes in water management. The crisis is not a water shortage – California has already developed sufficient water supplies to take us well into this century – the real crisis is that this supply is not used efficiently or equitably for all Californians, nor is it used wisely to sustain the ecosystems that support us.

The opportunity – and the basis for our positive vision – is that economically and technologically feasible measures are readily available to provide the water needed for our future. Our vision includes providing clean water for families to drink, providing water to improve the environmental health of our once-magnificent rivers, recovering our fisheries from the edges of extinction, fostering healthy commercial and recreational fisheries and a thriving agricultural industry, ensuring that all California communities have access to safe and affordable drinking water, and contributing significantly to the state’s largest industries: recreation and tourism.

This report documents numerous analyses of water efficient technologies and approaches that can save or reduce water consumption in urban areas by as much as 5 million acre-feet a year by 2030 compared with current trends – enough water to support population growth of almost 30,000,000 people.

According to the California Water Plan Update 2009 and Department of Finance projections, the state’s population can be expected to increase by 22,000,000 over the next 40 years if current population trends hold. Clearly, a well-managed future water supply to take us to 2050 is within reach with the current supplies and with an aggressive water conservation program.

In addition, still larger savings can be expected from agricultural water efficiencies, and some of this saved water could be available for urban consumption. All of the water conservation strategies discussed in this report are much less expensive than the new surface storage and conveyance projects being contemplated by state and federal agencies.

Keywords

ecosystem management, planning and management, water use efficiency

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