PCL’s 8 Affordable Water Strategies

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The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The environmental lobby group Planning and Conservation League (PCL) has released a set of 8 strategies to cost-effectively meet the many challenges facing California’s water infrastructure.

PCL cites fisheries collapse, climate change and fiscal meltdown as key challenges for California’s water future moving forward, and created the 8 strategies to step back from CA’s contentious water politics and offer practical, actionable solutions that could be applied cost-effectively.

The eight “solutions” offered by the PCL are:

1-Use already approved bonds first. With $3 billion remaining in already approved voter bonds, these funds should be allocated to highest priority projects before considering any new borrowing.

2-Increase water supplies through safe recycling. PCL recommends that the Department of Health develop a broad set of criteria for safe water recycling.

3-Develop flow standards for the Delta and major rivers. Water diversion efforts and fisheries could be more successful side-by-side with greater amounts of scientific data on flow rates and how much water is needed to reliably retain health in the waterways.

4-Analyze a smaller Delta tunnel. Instead of a large-scale peripheral canal to meet the water needs to the south, PCL advocates a smaller, less costly tunnel diversion and a new series of  diversions from already existing Southern Delta facilities.

5-Require water-neutral development. Aggressive conservation standards and use of state of the art technologies in new development can help counteract the water needs of the expected 10 million growth in California over the next 20 years.

6-Convert unfarmable land to solar production. PCL advocates transforming failed and unfarmable agricultural lands on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley into large scale solar fields.

7-Protect California’s major water source. Protecting against degradation in the Sierra Nevada headwaters should be a top priority.

8-Consider a smaller water bond when the economy improves. Only if the economy rebounds in the next 2 years, should a new water bond be put to voters to improve drinking water safety and supply.

Download the full report from the Planning and Conservation League’s website here.

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A Quote

“If we priced water accurately, there wouldn’t be any water shortages, period. It would eliminate, surely, 80 or 90 percent of the distributional problem,” says Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton. “We have essentially built a water supply culture in this country which says water should essentially be free. And you see the results in the way water is used, particularly in the arid regions of the west.” – via CNBC.

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