This new LA Times editorial, “Channeling Mulholland,” signals the change of water policies that we need in California and the arid West – and that we have been asking the Sonoma County Water Agency and all its contractors to do for years. There is no way to get to stable and reasonably predictable current and future water supplies if SCWA and other North Coast water supplies and cities continue on the trajectory we are on now.
If we really want to see significant disruption of our economy and our way of living – as well as a collapse of our watersheds and all their fisheries and recreational attractions, and also our groundwater supplies and agriculture – we need only do as we’ve done for the past 50 years: act as if there is always more water to take and deliver to a thirsty growing population. It won’t work. Western water has hit its limits, and all the hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at it to build larger projects and longer pipelines with bigger pumps and bigger dams are not the answer.
There are models for getting there. L.A.’s Metropolitan Water District, East Bay MUD, Marin Municipal WD and soon, Petaluma, are pointing the way to a sustainable future for the next 150 years. It’s past time to support their leads, and get serious about instituting these practices throughout our region, in every water district and city. We can do even better than these models, as proposed by the LA Times, but that will require policy makers point their engineering staff in the right directions.
A quick primer: FOER links to additional information on Western and local water policies for our future.
Wringing More Water out of the Arid West
Water for the Next 150 Years
RE: Turning water into wine, SF Chronicle article, June 1, 2007
Turning water into wine To water grapevines or not — the roots of the wine industry’s next great controversy
Alice Feiring, Special to The SF Chronicle
Proposed alternatives to Restructured Agreement for Water Supply, Section 2.4, Potter Valley Project acquisition
Bay Area Director
Friends of the Eel River