Russian by birth and a New Yorker by trade, the great songwriter Irving Berlin is now a Californian in spirit. For it’s his 1919 tune, “How Dry I Am,” that best sums up the Golden State’s parched status.
Winston Churchill once quipped, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” For California, nothing is less apt a statement than how to deal with the four-year (and counting) drought and what to do to prevent or lesson future ones.
In 1997, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) started a very risky venture. It managed a large groundwater basin in Southern California, but, due to a growing population, cyclical droughts, and the need for additional freshwater barriers to push back seawater intrusion from the Pacific Ocean, OCWD needed another reliable source of water.
It is September in California, year four of a scorching drought. Forest fires are blackening the arid state, from Napa Valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fly over the High Sierra and about every tenth evergreen below appears dead.
California’s water sector is going through a paradigm shift.
Four years into a historic drought, the state has taken multiple steps to ease its impacts on our water resource availability through a series of legislative and regulatory efforts including the passage of Proposition 1 – California’s $7.5 billion water bond – the first ever comprehensive statewide groundwater law...