Friday Flashback: Dr. Peter Gleick on The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply

From the archives of Maven’s Notebook:

Originally published on September 3, 2014

In June, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pacific Institute released a study that examined the potential water supply that can be gained from urban and agricultural water use efficiency, water reuse, and stormwater capture.  The report, The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply​ , concludes that 10.8 to 13.7 million acre-feet of water per year could be provided though new supplies and demand reductions.  At the August meeting of the California Water Commission, Dr. Peter Gleick from the Pacific Institute briefed the Commission on the results of the study.

August2014_Agenda_Item_9_Attach_4_Powerpoint_Page_02Dr. Peter Gleick began by noting that the Pacific Institute has been working for the last 27 years on global water issues, climate change, and international conflicts as well as done extensive work on water in the western US and California. He said that during his talk today, he would discuss the report the Pacific Institute released about a month ago as well as discuss the idea of conservation and efficiency and some of the definitions and misconceptions and misunderstandings around that issue.

The report, The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply​ , is a joint project with the University of California Santa Barbara, researchers at NRDC and at the Pacific Institute; the work was funded by the Pisces Foundation, the Hilton Foundation in LA, the California Water Foundation, and a variety of sources, he said.

August2014_Agenda_Item_9_Attach_4_Powerpoint_Page_03The study looked at four pieces of the California water puzzle: Urban efficiency, agricultural efficiency, water reuse, and stormwater capture.   “I’ll say right up front and we say explicitly in the report, California’s water problems and solutions are bigger than those four pieces of the puzzle,” he said. “We aren’t suggesting that those are the only four things we have to do, but we did an analysis of those four pieces of the puzzle to contribute to the conversation.”

California’s water situation is complicated,” he said. “We use a lot of different types of water in a lot of different places for a lot of different purposes, for agriculture, for urban, urban use is split into residential, commercial and industrial. There’s a great diversity around the state in the way use water and in the demands and in the sources of supply.”

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