Big water

Posted on | September 9, 2010 | 4 Comments

Click on the cover for the Pacific Institute report

A report released Wednesday by the Pacific Institute shows how in a relatively modest pass at obvious waste, California could conserve more than one and a half times the amount of water used every year in Los Angeles through improvements in farm irrigation, city landscaping, more efficient appliances and plumbing upgrades. Thirty per cent of the opportunities were found in cities and the remaining seventy per cent in agriculture. The most intriguing part? The cost is a fraction of the allowance for new dams called for in the bills behind the now postponed state water bond. Click here to read the synopsis, and here for the report. Or to read why conservation is the first most universally logical step for Californians to take to insure their water supply in the future, click here to read one of the report’s co-authors, Peter Gleick, in the San Francisco Chronicle.


4 Responses to “Big water”

  1. David Zetland
    September 11th, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    Emily — please apply more critical thinking to your summary of this (useless) report. 🙂

  2. EmilyGreen
    September 11th, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    Hi David. Thanks for the comment. We differ here. I do think serious and systemic conservation is needed throughout California before we embark on big storage projects. The urban capture outlined in the report seems, if anything, low and I suspect it was deliberately modest. If you accept the rough estimates that half of the water in So Cal is used outdoors and half of that is wasted, then there is arguably 1mafy of waste in So Cal alone. For argument’s sake, The Pacific Institute report seeks a fraction of that, and from across the state, not including LA. As for the ag portion, people who I greatly respect have taken issue in the past with the notion that farmers waste water and need analysts to tell them how to farm right. If I recall correctly, you are among them. By all means elucidate or provide links to your own critical thinking. I think the transitions laid out the report for urban conservation are creditable, well calculated and, again, very modest. The ag sections look reasonable, but mine are urban eyes.

    I don’t know how to make a graphic smiley face but I am smiling. -Emily

  3. David Zetland
    September 11th, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    @Emily — As I’ve said before (, the problem with the report is neither the estimates of “savings” nor the technology proposed. The problem is the missing link, or incentive, to conserve water. As you know, I’ve written 100+ posts on the use of higher prices (urban) and markets (ag) top promote efficient use and re-allocation of water, respectively. The PI report continues to advocate command and control and subsidy instruments that do not work and waste money…

  4. Mike Wade
    September 27th, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    The California Farm Water Coalition delivered the following letter and supporting materials today to California legislators pointing out the failures of the recent report by the Pacific Institute that claimed farmers could conserve an additional 700,000 acre-feet of water.

    California Farm Water Coalition letter to State legislators

    Northern California Water Association letter to Heather Cooley

    AWMC and CFWC San Joaquin Valley irrigation practices survey

    Mike Wade
    California Farm Water Coalition

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