California’s Drought, Obvious & Surprising Disagreements

If you follow the news in California one of the top news stories in the last few months has been the drought. It has even impacted events like the Wildflower Triathlon, which may plan to move the swim to Harris Creek due to low water levels in Lake San Antonio.

California Drought

With the current drought in context, I spent a very rainy Saturday at UC Hastings for the symposium “Resilience in the Age of Limited Supply.” Sessions on the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, Hetch Hetchy, and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan predictably had some strong opinions. However, I was surprised by the strong opinions on desalination, particularly for the Poseidon project in Carlsbad. Desalination is often raised as an alternative for Southern California to imported water from the north. Desalination is hardly a simple option given the significant regulatory hurdles and substantial litigation the Poseidon project has faced. Nonetheless, if the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan stagnates and Endangered Species Act restrictions further limit northern water imports, then desalination may be the only realistic option for Southern California.


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