New Vision for California
Water: Cut Waste by 20 Percent
Pacific Institute Proposal Will Improve
Efficiency, Protect Environment, Ensure Economic Growth
California can cut its wasteful use of water by 20 percent
in the next 25 years while satisfying a growing population,
maintaining a healthy agricultural sector, and supporting
a vibrant economy. That's the central message of "California
Water 2030: An Efficient Future," (PDF) a new report
by the Pacific Institute of Oakland, California. The analysis,
which provides a sharp contrast to the California Department
of Water Resources 2005 Draft California Water Plan, details
how smart technology, strong management, and appropriate
rates and incentives can allow the state to meet its needs
well into the future with less water.
"We need a new approach to California's water woes,"
said Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute
and co-author of the report. "The good news is that
California can meet the needs of farmers, businesses, and
a growing population well into the future without massive,
and destructive, infrastructure projects - if we take a
smarter, more efficient approach to water management."
"California Water 2030" describes in detail a
"high efficiency" scenario for the state that
will cut wasteful water use by 20 percent without harming
the economy or our quality of life. And the benefits to
this approach are many: Improving the efficiency of urban
and agricultural users could help ameliorate the substantial
stress California places on its rivers, groundwater aquifers,
and wetlands while improving opportunities for business
"The California Water Plan is a critical tool for
state water planners, but as it now stands the DWR is delaying
real action on conservation and efficiency for at least
another five years - and we can't wait that long,"
said Heather Cooley, Research Associate for Pacific Institute's
Water and Sustainability Program and co-author of the report.
"Our report provides what is missing from the Water
Plan: An aggressive, high-efficiency approach that will
pay many dividends in environmental protection, increased
reliability, and lower costs."
The Pacific Institute's high efficiency scenario stands
in contrast to those contained in the California Water Plan,
which assumes consistent growth and puts off the consideration
of significant efficiency programs and policies for five
years (see graphs, next page). And in-depth research by
the Pacific Institute (see "Waste Not, Want Not")
shows that improving efficiency by 20 or even 30 percent
is well within California's grasp - if the state can break
free from its business-as-usual approach to water.
Download "California Water 2030: An Efficient Future" (PDF).