California's Drought: Adapting and Mitigating

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 2:30pm - 5:00pm PST/ Streamed Panel Discussion: 3:00pm - 4:30pm PST/ 6:00pm - 7:30pm EST

Meeting in San Francisco

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW SPEAKER BIOS

 

As Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed (on January 17th) that California was in the midst of probably the worst drought the state has experienced in a century, many wonder whether California is finally ready to take the actions necessary to ward off a major environmental and economic disaster. But it may be too late.

 

This drought is now three years running, with 2013 the driest on record, but previous droughts have often extended for a decade or longer, and mega droughts can last for several decades. Governor Brown’s call for 20% reductions in water use will help, but even if successful, would be just a temporary fix.

 

By far the largest consumer of water in California is agriculture, accounting for about 80 percent of all water consumption. The drought could be devastating for this $45 billion business, and for California’s economy. Farmers had already learned they would not receive *any* water from the State Water Project, and now the recent announcement that farmers may not receive *any* water from the Central Valley Project either...is a very ominous development.

 

Meanwhile, increasing temperatures related to climate change have significantly reduced the Sierra Snowpack (which provides about one-third of the state’s water), now standing at about 30 percent of normal levels.

 

 

Longer term actions and strategies include:

 

• Governor Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan

 

• Water Desalination

 

• Recycling Wastewater

 

• Increased Ground Water Storage

 

• Increased Surface Storage

 

• Conservation Oriented Rate Structures

 

• Pricing the Carbon Footprint of Water

 

• Repairing and Replacing Fragile Levees

 

Moreover, as the stark reduction in water available for Hydropower worsens, California may often turn to Natural Gas as a substitute, resulting in greater greenhouse gas emissions.

 

And the drier weather just leads to mass forest die-offs and dangerous mega-wildfires.

 

Financing projects and strategies for bringing water supply and demand to the required equilibrium over the longer term can be very difficult. The perception that water is relatively low-cost can be exacerbated by water utility rates that are set substantially below their true costs. Relatively flat rate structures have further encouraged overuse, and newer increasing block rates have been ineffective at curtailing water demand when successive blocks do not increase the price adequately.

 

The California “Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2014”, an $11.14 billion general obligation bond, is a modified version of a water bond which has been delayed for several years, as public and political support were lacking. More recently, scaled-back versions of the bond have been proposed in the California Senate and Assembly, reflecting the difficulties of getting the votes necessary for passage.

 

An alternative approach, assessing a modest non-bypassable public goods charge on investor-owned utility ratepayer bills, has proven politically challenging as well.

 

Here are some of the questions which our panel of experts will answer, focused on California, but also including the southwestern states:

 

1) What are the primary actions which state and local government, as well as publicly-owned and privately-owned water utilities, can take to mitigate drought?

 

2) Which of these actions are most likely to be successful?

 

3) What are the primary actions which the government and private sector can take to adapt to drought?

 

4) What are the public financing options most likely to both secure political approval and be most effective?

 

5) What actions can individuals and communities take to effectively reduce water use?

 

6) If the 13-year drought covering the southwestern USA states is becoming a mega-drought, what additional actions should be taken in those states, including California?

 

 

The specific meeting location in San Francisco will be provided upon registration.

Liste des inscrits
77 personnes sont présentes à cette réunion, parmi lesquelles :
Will attend in person Via streaming
Coolerado Corporation
Product and Marketing Manager
Genentech
Sustainability Analyst
Dropcountr
AECOM
Lead Biologist/Project Manager
State of California, Departm
Sustainability Manager
Marker Campbell Consulting
Sustainability Consultant
Reuters
Correspondent
Cooper White & Cooper LLP
Partner
Bloomberg News
Reporter
SFPUC
Deputy Communications Director
WaterWise Consulting, Inc.
Water Conservation Specialist
Lincus
Regional Director
California Energy Commission
Policy and Planning Analyst
Del Monte Foods
Manager, Sustainability Programs
Submission Solutions
Principal
San Diego State College of E
Program Director
Imperial Valley College
Music Faculty
Ecology & Environment Inc.
Project Manager
City of Palo Alto Utilities
Utility Account Representative
CA Dept. of Toxic Substances
Regional Administrative Services Branch Chief
Genentech
Sustainability Manager
Milepost Consulting, Inc
Project Coordinator
California American Water
Financial Analyst II
Ernst & Young
Associate
SFPUC
Manager, Communications and Public Outreach
cardno ENTRIX
SR VP
Veolia Water
Director
Mazzetti
Chief Plumbing Engineer
California Energy Commission
Associate Energy Specialist
AECOM
HR Content Manager
Bay Tree Design
Principal
BofAML
Alternative Energy Analyst
California Water Service Com
Conservation Manager
SDSU College of Extended Stu
Program Coordinator
California Public Utilities
Director
Straus Family Creamery
Manager of Specialty & Wholesale
CPUC
Utilities Engineer
eEcosphere
Co-Founder
Comverge
General Manager-CA
AECOM
Transportation Planner
AECOM
Civil Engineer
The Nature Conservancy
Policy Associate
Park Water Company
VP
California State University,
Dean of Engineering and Computer Science
Better Climate Research & Po
DIrector
Hunter Industries
Sales Manager
ERM
Program Director
ERM
Program Director
Evoqua Water Technologies
Sales Director
Imagine H2O
Outreach and Operations Coordinator
Prometheus
Sr. Manager of Ancillary Services
Mazzetti
Principal
EBG
CEO
HDR
Director, GHG Management Services
Sonoma County Water Agency
Principal Engineer
Envirospectives, Inc.
CEO
REE
principal
Office of Ratepayer Advocate
Program Manager
Optimum Soil
Founder
PERKINS+WILL
SENIOR ASSOCIATE
California American Water
Financial Analyst I
Cal Public Utilities Commiss
Policy and Planning Analyst
California American Water
Director of Rates
Ernst & Young
Senior Manager
County of San Mateo
Community Programs Specialist
University of Hawaii
Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solutions Lead
C.A.R.
Legislative Advocate
PeoplesGrid
Principal
SustainIt Solutions, UK
Business Development, US
Water Managers
Principal
CPUC
Policy Advisor
gThrive Inc
Software Development
Resource Renewal Institute
Project Director
RHA
Research & Regulatory Analyst
City/County of San Francisco
Renewables Associate
Impact Carbon
Program Manager
Tully & Young, Inc.
President
Consulter le compte-rendu et les présentations
Liste des intervenants
Scott Bryan
Imagine H2O
COO
Steven Ritchie
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Assistant General Manager of the Water Enterprise
Susan Leal
AECOM
Senior Vice-President
Wayne Whitlock
Pillsbury Winthrop
Partner
Animateur(s)
Patrick Hubbard
Langan Treadwell Rollo
Vice President/ Senior Associate