Blog | February 10, 2014

By Peter Gleick

Droughts – especially severe droughts – are terribly damaging events. The human and ecosystem costs can be enormous, as we may relearn during the current California drought.

But they are also opportunities – a chance to put in place new, innovative water policies that are not discussed or implemented during wet or normal years.

In the hopes that California’s warring water warriors open their minds to policy reform, here are some of the issues that should be on the table now, in what could be the worst drought in California’s modern history. But here is what I fear, said best by John Steinbeck in East of Eden:

 “And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”

Here are five top priorities (more will be presented in later posts):

  1. Put in place comprehensive groundwater management. This includes monitoring and reporting of all groundwater withdrawals, integrated surface and groundwater management, pricing of groundwater withdrawals, increased wet-season groundwater recharge, and restrictions on groundwater pumping, on average, to the limit of sustainable yield…Continue reading.

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