Thanks to Stanford Professor Noah Diffenbaugh for an excellent and timely piece in the NYT today, “What California’s Dam Crisis Means About the Changing Climate.”
Several key points in Professor Diffenbaugh’s analysis deserve special attention, particularly as they relate to the State’s soon-to-be-finalized framework for making water conservation a way of life in the Golden State:
- Wastewater recycling technology has made incredible strides and is situated to be a water supply source in urban areas at significantly lower energy costs than many other infrastructure options.
- Stormwater capture is coming into its own as well and has potential to be a significant source of new water, particularly in urban areas.
- While the improved snowpack, and excellent ski conditions, suggest that the drought is “over,” California still has a huge largely hidden drought in our depleted groundwater aquifers. Managing our natural systems to capture excess runoff and recharge groundwater has multiple benefits for communities.
- We still have tremendous potential to add to our water supply through efficiency measures. The Pacific Institute estimates that urban California can capture between 3-5 million acre-feet, as much or more than the annual delivery of the entire State Water Project. Smart technologies, water markets and efficiency standards offer an immediate and cost effective path to water resilience and security in the the face of climate change.
These are investments worth making and WaterNow Alliance is committed to helping this transformation.
Cynthia Koehler is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of WaterNow Alliance. She is also a member of the Governor Brown’s Urban Advisory Group.