California drought

Making Key Policy Decisions in Advance of Droughts

Part 6 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t have clearly defined priorities.  This is true for sudden-onset crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset crises, like droughts. My recent posts have explored why the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) should develop a contingency-based framework to support its drought decisions …

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Developing a Decision-Support Framework for Curtailment

Part 5 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

During a drought, California’s limited water supplies should be allocated transparently, efficiently, and predictably in accordance with the priorities that flow from state and federal law.  But what does this mean in practice? What happens when there is not enough surface water to go around in a watershed?  California water rights law says that certain …

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A Contingency-Based Framework to Support Drought Decision Making

Part 4 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In my last post, I outlined actions the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) can take to improve its future drought response capabilities. Our core recommendation is for the Board to bring greater predictability, timeliness, and effectiveness to water rights administration and oversight during droughts by proactively developing a contingency-based framework to support its drought …

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Actions to Improve California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

Part 3 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In California, the next drought is always looming on the horizon.  While we don’t get advance warning of when a drought will occur, how long it will last, or how severe it will be, we do have advance knowledge that drought planning and preparation are important.  First, we know water management during droughts can have …

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Water Rights Administration and Oversight During Past California Droughts

Part 2 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the first post in this series, I talked about why it’s important for the state of California to spend time preparing for future droughts even in wet years like this one.  This post examines some of the lessons from past droughts that can inform these preparations. Past droughts have stress-tested California’s water management institutions, …

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Why It’s Important to Prepare for Drought During a Deluge

Part 1 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the midst of the wet winter storms bringing rain and snow to California this year, you might not expect drought preparations to be among the state’s current priorities.  And yet, they need to be.  In this post, I’ll explore why to set the stage for a blog series that explores what the state can …

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Hoping New Reservoirs Will Immediately Store More Water in California? That’s Unlikely.

Emmett Institute’s Latest Pritzker Brief Looks at the Timeline and Legal Requirements for Implementing New Surface Water Storage Facilities

Surface water storage has become a hot topic in California. The recent drought led voters in 2014 to approve California’s Proposition 1 water bond, which, in part, earmarked $2.7 billion for the public benefits of storage projects. It’s very likely that at least some of that money will go to a large surface water storage …

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California’s internecine water war

Dianne Feinstein versus Barbara Boxer; maximizing water deliveries versus protecting the environment

If you thought California was immune to the season of political craziness, think again. California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were elected to the Senate together in 1992. They are usually on the same side, but not always. Water is one of the issues on which they often part company. Feinstein is a water …

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Happy World Toilet Day!

For Billions of People, Sanitary Facilities Are No Laughing Matter

It may seem silly to observe World Toilet Day, but as the motto of the World Toilet Organization (which was founded on November 19, 2001) reads: it’s no joke. Literally billions of people lack proper toilet facilities, and it can have severe impacts. Consider this recent testimony from a woman who grew up without one: To …

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Stick a Lemon In It

Are recent East Bay water troubles a taste of what lies ahead?

What makes a city world-renowned? For New York (according to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection), it’s the quality of its drinking water. Should this be so surprising? After all, what more fundamental connection does a city have to its residents and visitors than the life-sustaining water that it provides? Recent events in San Francisco’s …

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