California Needs Water Policy Emphasizing Recycling, Efficiency, and Smarter Management of Groundwater and Urban Runoff2 min read


Virtual River is the best source for California Water Supply of the Future

“There is only one river left to slake the thirst of California, as the nation’s most populous state keeps growing. … But you won’t find California’s last river on any map because it’s a virtual river. … the virtual river is a combination of water-use efficiency, water recycling, improved groundwater management and advanced urban runoff management. The virtual river dwarfs all other options.” “Making the most of the virtual river will require … recognition that every water drop saved – whether by conservation, recycling or groundwater and storm water management – counts as water supply. Those drops add up to more than 7 million acre-feet of water a year.” (Tapping California’s largest source of water – San Diego Union-Tribune 30 May 2008.)

The chart “Virtual River Compared with Other Water Sources” dramatically shows the massive water source potentially available from the Virtual River. Notice the negligible water yield from California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s costly, foolish dam proposal at Temperance Flat that would kill yet another section of the San Joaquin River. (Tapping Into California’s Virtual River – Switchboard NRDC 30 May 2008.)

New dams & canals would destroy our state budget and our environment without solving our water supply problems

Our bankrupt state cannot afford to waste taxpayer money building big expensive dams & canals that would take a long time to build and would add very little to our water supply. Damming and draining the last drops of water from our rivers and killing the salmon and the other fishes would be more destruction and not a solution to our problems.

California needs to do more water conservation, store groundwater more efficiently, reuse nearly all of our wastewater, stop throwing away storm water & cut agricultural water waste. (California has enough water – Los Angeles Times 23 October, 2007.)

California’s farms should invest more in modern, efficient underground drip irrigation systems. (Irrigation drip by drip – underground irrigation system – Agricultural Research 01 March, 1991.)

For more information:

California needs a smarter water supply policy to survive the drought and secure our future – BRT Insights 15 June, 2008.
California needs innovative, aggressive water supply policy solutions for the future – BRT Insights 01 June, 2008.
Conservation alone CAN be a big help to fix the water crisis in California – BRT Insights 31 October, 2007.
California Water Supply Policy and River Conservation – BRT Insights.

Bruce Thomas is a resident of Davis and enjoys river trips in northern California. He writes BRT Insights – Whitewater Kayaking where this article first appeared. It is republished with his permission.


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