The policy gap
Let’s not forget that between water supply and water use, there is a distribution network.
California continues to struggle with low rainfall. Dan Walters, writing for Cal Matters, says there are three options: more storage; more supply from desalination; and switching water supply from agriculture to environmental and residential uses. He points out that exhortations to take shorter showers or water lawns less frequently are a “bromide” – a banality, a cliché, a platitude.
For sure he is right that major engineering projects shouldn’t be debated for more than six decades, during nine governorships, without a decision, and that security of supply is critical.
But like so many people, he omits to mention the importance of minimising losses in the distribution network. This is always considerably cheaper than the infrastructure projects that would deliver new supply and it delivers benefits much faster. It should certainly be addressed before customer conservation measures are required.
Dan Walters also points out that changing the body that has oversight isn’t the solution. He’s right. What is needed is a regulator that can assure security of supply, ensure network losses are minimised, and regulate water use by appliances and businesses/agriculture.