Sustainability. California Water: Moving Toward a More Sustainable Future

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1 Introduction: Heather Cooley has received the US Environmental Protection Agency's Award for Outstanding Achievement for her work on agricultural water conservation and efficiency. She has testified before the U.S. Congress on the impacts of climate change for agriculture and on innovative approaches to solving water problems in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. Ms. Cooley holds the Bachelors in Science in Molecular Environmental Biology and a Masters in Science in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Pacific Institute, she worked at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory studying climate and land use change and carbon cycling. Ms. Cooley currently serves on the Board of the California Urban Water Conservation Council. Please give a warm round of applause for Heather Cooley. [Applause] Heather Cooley: Great, well thank you all. Thank you for that warm welcome. It's really a pleasure and an honor to be here for the 8th Annual Sustainability Conference. And before I get started, let me just give you a little bit of background about myself and about the organization I'm with. I am I was born and raised in California actually in Antioch which is somewhere between the Bay Area and the Delta. I am Co Director of the Water Program at the Pacific Institute. We're a non profit research organization and we re based in Oakland, California, although we have offices in Colorado as well and have people working all over the world. We have been around for 25 years and are celebrating actually our 25th anniversary this year. 1

2 I'm going to be talking a lot today about our water works, where we work on water on a variety of issues from the local level all the way to the international. We focuse a lot on sort of sustainable water management and strategies for achieving that. And within sustainability, we look at both the environment, the economy, and issues around the social justice and social equity. And so we really approach this, all of our work from the sustainability perspective. So for that reason, I'm and for that reason also, I'm very happy to be here to be talking to you today. The title of my talk is California Water: Moving Toward a More. Water is essential for all life. We use water to grow our food, to generate electricity, to produce steel and cement and nearly everything else that we use, consume, buy, and sell. The environment however also needs water, it needs water to survive and to provide the goods and services that we use that come from the environment. We are in need of new thinking about water. Our current use of water is unsustainable and it's out of balance. And there is evidence of it all over the state, from declining ground water levels here locally but also across California especially in the Central Valley. Ecosystems are collapsing in the Delta and we hear about that as well. We have pollution in our rivers and our streams and in our lakes. 2

3 I believe however, that there is a path towards a more sustainable future and that there are many ways we can get there. None of them will be easy but we can do it through sort of a harder way or an easier way. And so I'm going to put forth kind of what I think would be a path for getting towards a more sustainable future of water in California. 3

4 So today, I want to talk about really three things and I'll tell you now, I am using slides. Most of my slides will be figures and graphs, it won't be too many words. I'm sure you guys are seeing a lot of these lately. So I want to begin today by describing how water resources are distributed around the state and how we are using them. Then, I want to talk in a little bit of detail about some of the water management challenges that we're having in California. And then finally, I want to offer some new thinking that suggests a different path towards a more sustainable future as possible. 4

5 So first, let's look at water resources in California and how they are distributed. So California's water resources are spatially and temporarily variable. As is shown here, much of the wettest parts of the states are in the north. In some of those areas, they're receiving over 120 inches per year on average. Other parts of the states, through sort of the drier regions in the southeast, are getting less than five inches of rain every year. And so we have a very, very diverse spatially diverse distribution of water. We also have what's called a Mediterranean climate. So that means we get a lot of our precipitation during our winter months, that is, from October to May. On top of that, we also have a large annual variability. So we can have very, very wet years and we can have, as this year is, very, very dry years. And so, that really makes water management tricky in this state. 5

6 We also unfortunately have a very different distribution of population than we have water resources. This figure here shows the population per square mile in California. And as you can see, much of the population is concentrated in the southern part of the state and as you recall from the previous slide, those are our driest parts of the state. We also have some pockets of population in our coastal regions and again, our coastal regions tend to be relatively dry as well. Furthermore, we have a population that's growing and much of that growth is occurring in these hotter, drier areas. And so, it's sort of exacerbating some of the challenges that we're having. 6

7 So as result of this sort of unequal distribution, we've built a vast and intricate network of reservoirs, aqueducts and pipelines to move water from where and when it is available to where and when we need it. So I show here the Central Valley Project. The Central Valley Project was built by the federal government beginning in It consists of around 20 dams and reservoirs, numerous power plants and hundreds of miles of aqueducts. It transports water from the Trinity, the Sacramento, the American, the Stanislaus, and also the San Joaquin rivers to farms and communities in the Central Valley and in some parts of the San Francisco Bay. So there's a it's a branch that sort of goes over as you can see to the San Francisco Bay. In addition to the federal project, so again, this is the Central Valley Project 7

8 and we have the State Water Project. So the State one, that's this area shown in red. The State Water Project transports an estimated 3.6 billion gallons of water each day. The water is taken out of the Delta at Tracy. So you can see if there's a little pointer, I'll just point through here. You could see it's taken out of the Delta here at Tracy and is transported through the Central Valley as you can see it here. And then you see it goes in over the Tehachapi Mountains. Okay, that's a 2,000 foot lift and that is the single largest lift in the world. That water then, once it's over the Tehachapi, it there are small communities along here. It then delivers water into Southern California especially the Metropolitan Water District who's a wholesaler down there and then they then distribute it to San Diego and to all regions in sort of the Los Angeles and San Diego region. As a result of this sort of massive movement of water, the State Water Project is the single largest consumer of energy in the state. It uses about two to three percent of all electricity in California. So, that really demonstrates I don't know if how many of you have heard about sort of the connection or the water energy nexus; this is a piece of it. This is sort of all of the energy we're using to move water around the state and I'll just throw this out there for those who haven't heard it, about 19 percent of the state's electricity is water related. Okay, so that's water we're excuse me, that's energy we're using to move water around but also to heat water in our homes and our businesses. Any questions? 8

9 Audience member: What percentage of the state's power is water generated? Heather Cooley: Hmm, I don't have those numbers in my head. I want to say around 15 percent but I'll do you know? Audience member: No, [Inaudible Remark] Heather Cooley: Oh, you had the same [laughs]. I think it's about 15 percent. So here, we have the State Water Project 9

10 We also, on top of that, have local water projects. So these are projects that are were built in some cases, financed although in some cases not financed with local money. Some cases, there were state money available for them. So this includes the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, which takes water from the Tuolomne River in Yosemite National Park and transports it to the San Francisco Bay Area. And that provides water not only to San Francisco but a lot of the communities around the peninsula and up through Hayward for those of you familiar with that area. We also have this is sort of East Bay MUDs pipeline here. East Bay MUD provides water in Oakland, Walnut Creek, those sorts of areas they're taking water from the Mokelumne. You've also have the Los Angeles Aqueduct, taking water from the Owens River and from Mono Lake down to the Los Angeles area. For those of you who are interested, there are a lot of books and movies about sort of that system. For those of you that have seen China Town, of course that's kind of a Hollywood version but there are actually some a little bit of history of that system there, very fascinating. We also have the Colorado River Aqueduct, okay, which takes water from the Colorado River down through farms in the Imperial Valley. For those of you who the salt and seas here, it's another again fascinating story about California water and takes in water to San Diego as well, and to Los Angeles. 10

11 So in total, this shows all of them combined, and then also shows some of these that are more natural features, right, which are our actual rivers. So in total, we have built a very, very vast network of to move water around the state. The system has brought tremendous benefits, right? It's allowed us to be allows us to have the economy that we have to support the population that we have today. But it's also come at social and environmental and economic costs, and we're seeing signs that it is no longer sustainable, that we'd have to start looking at this differently. 11

12 So, how do we use water in California and for what purposes? We use about 44 million acre feet of water per year on average and that varies again from year to year. In dry years, we could be using more, right, because our landscapes, our farms require more water. In wet years, we tend to use a little bit less. Of the amount, about 80 percent is used by agriculture and 20 percent is used for urban areas. And again, this can vary from year to year but these are our rough averages. If we look down at our urban use, which is sort of what I'm showing here, about 60 to 70 percent is residential, okay? So that's what we're using in our homes. We're also using it for commercial, so if you think of hotels, those sorts of things. Industry is using around six percent energy. Not a major user of water in California although it's certainly a major user of water in the nation. And the reason is we use salt water to cool our energy, at least we do right now, that's changing. But then, you see this large landscapes what is that? Those are sort of landscaping and commercial properties or institutions for example, our schools, our hospitals, those sorts of things. So we use a lot of water in a lot of different ways. Another way to look at this, too, is about 40 percent of our 47 percent of our water is outdoors. So that's water that we're using on our lawns, again, both in residential but also for other purposes. 12

13 So, a huge amount of water is used outdoors. And in the way I see it, I'm an optimist, a lot of opportunity there. If we look around the state and we drill in to residential use, and that's sort of what this figure shows, there's huge variability in the amount of water we're using in our homes, okay? The state the Department of Water Resources who manages and sort of has a planning and oversight role in water management in California typically divides California into sort of 10 what they call hydrologic regions. And then they've developed some estimates of how much water residents are using in those areas. And remember, residential use is just a piece, albeit a large piece, but it's just a piece of our total water use. There's huge variability. The San Francisco hydrologic region, which is not just San Francisco but is sort of the larger Bay Area. They are using about 100 gallons per person per day in their households. Okay, that's each day, each person, a hundred gallons. But if we look down in this Colorado River Basin, they're using about 255 gallons per person per day. Again, just residential, so huge variability. We also see the Sacramento River, which is part of the area we're in. using about 174 gallons per person per day. So, huge variability is that's considerably higher than what's considered efficient use. We are nowhere near efficient use, so again, a lot opportunity here. 13

14 We are under sort of there's a state law passed, you'll hear it sort of short hand 20 by We're supposed to reduce per capita water use by 20 percent by the year And so, these numbers certainly are coming down in most areas, but as you recall, remember I said a lot of our development is happening in these hotter, drier areas, so it creates a challenge. And certainly, new homes that are built are much more efficient than some of the older homes. So as new homes are built and old homes get sort of converted and updated, you can start to see per capita water use going down. 14

15 So today, we are facing a wide range of challenges to our state s water resources and water management systems. 15

16 So, let me just click through these, they're in an odd order. Pipes and levies built a century ago are deteriorating. Okay, we see that not only in the Delta but in other parts and there is a story recently in San Francisco, you see it in Los Angeles. Pipes are deteriorating, they get leaks, they cause huge damage locally and we're not spending the money that we need to, to maintain this. This is not only an issue in California. In fact, it's actually much worse in other parts of the country because there are older systems. So if you look at your Boston, your Philadelphia, New York, they're actually having a lot more of this issue. But it's something that if we don't keep on top off, that if we don't spend money to invest in our infrastructure, we're going to be as bad off as some of those areas are. Floods and droughts. So as I mentioned earlier, we have very large annual variability in water and floods and droughts are a natural part of our system here. And we build and do a lot of things to ensure that we have a system that can handle those sorts of swings in yearto year precipitation. But there is evidence and I'll touch on this later that the frequency and intensity of these droughts, floods and droughts, are increasing and so that's incredibly problematic. 16

17 We also have declining water quality. So, surface and ground water quality are deteriorating in many places from biological and from industrial pollutants. You hear about MTBE, right? That was an additive we put in gasoline, we ve now found it's hugely toxic and we are finding evidence of it in our water systems. A nitrate contamination; you'll hear about that especially in agricultural areas or where you have people who are not connected to sort of a sewer system, right? They may have other they may be storing and treating their waste on site. We also have perchlorate, you'll hear about that. A lot of these sort of industrial chemicals that were used are now being found in our groundwater and are polluting it. We're hearing more and more about pharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticals in our water, even caffeine, those sort of things. Our wastewater treatment systems aren't designed to remove those sort of things and so we're finding it in our environment and in our drinking water. So a lot of different concerns about water quality. 17

18 We also have collapsing Delta ecosystems and fisheries and I'll touch on this a little bit more. The Delta is sort of the heart of our water system in California, and we're seeing some very major ecological problems there. 18

19 We also have growing demands for water. We have population growth and again, much of that occurring in sort of the southern parts of the state. And with these growing demands, we're seeing increased conflict among water users. So cities fighting with farmers, growers fighting with other growers, water for energy development such as fracking, which you may hear about a little bit in the news, competing with other municipal and agricultural water users. So there's a lot of tension around water and how we're using it. 19

20 And then, we have sort of a new challenge on the horizon, climate change. So climate cycle and the hydrologic cycle are linked. And the hydrologic cycle through evaporation and precipitation, is really the primary way that we distribute energy around the planet. And so as temperatures warm, we're essentially accelerating that cycle and so it's happening on a much faster and more intense time cycle. So this is causing changes in the availability of water, when that water is available, the quality of the water and also on our demand for water. So, as temperatures go up, lawns need more water, our crops need more water. And so warmer temperatures create demand. And indeed, all of the international and national climate assessments find that water is among the most vulnerable sector. And so when talk about water in California, we have to talk about climate change and how we're going to address that. 20

21 So in the interest of time, I want to focus on two of these just to give you a general sense of the scale and scope, and then I promise I'm going to end on a positive note. [laughter] So this is not going to be completely doom and gloom. 21

22 But the first I want to talk about is the Delta. So the Delta is an amazing system in California, and for those who have never been there, I really encourage you. Really, it takes water so water comes in through the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River and it really meets at the Delta. It then flows out into the San Francisco Bay, and the San Francisco Bay through the raising of tides to the tidal fluctuation, you see where some of these areas are salty some of the times and other times, it's fresh water especially during the winter time or during the spring time when you have much more water flowing down through the system. And I saw on the program, you're going to have somebody that's going to talk in great detail about sort of the Delta and some of the issues there. So I'll just touch on it high on sort of a high level but I really encourage for those of you who are interested and if you're not in class to come back later today to hear about that. But on a natural system, we're having the Sacramento River, more water comes down the Sacramento River. Typically, this water would then come together and then flow out through the San Francisco Bay. If only it were quite that simple. 22

23 So back in the back sort of in the earlier days, this was a very diverse habitat. So you had wetlands, perennial wetlands. You had emergent wetlands, so things that will just wetlands that would form only after floods. I mean you also had this forest along the rivers that are called riparian forest. When you have a very diverse ecosystem, you also had birds that rinse in this area, fish that this was used as a nursery so it was a very vibrant and beautiful place. What happened and this is again another fascinating story, there's a book called "Battling the Inland Sea" that really does an amazing job at giving a history of this. What happened is during the Gold Rush period, when Europeans came in, they ended up building communities along these rivers as most people did back in those days. And given those years when we had these amazing floods, their communities would be underwater quite incredibly. And so what they did was they build levees to try to protect their communities, but they did it a very uncoordinated fashion. It was sort of this community would build it and then the next community would get flooded just across the other side of the river. So they would raise theirs and it became the sort of competition. And as a downstream community, built a levee, it would then flood an upstream community, right? 'Cause where then the water would have naturally come out and spread out, it was no longer able to do that so it sort of went back up the river. So then, you had an upstream community starting to build a levee. 23

24 And so these levies were sort of built, they weren't they wouldn't meet quite sort of our standards of engineering engineered levies under today they were people really get together and just trying to protect their communities and to protect some of the farming that was done in that area. Well, over time, as you can see, we created this amazing network of levies and then we started doing agriculture on these sort of islands. But what then would happen over time is those islands as you farmed them, a lot of the soils started to volatilize and so you had a major drop in land. In some cases, 20 feet below the level of the river. At the same time, you then had sediment from the gold rush building up the base of the river. And so it's a really tremendous pressure on the levees. So that's sort of the system we now have. We also on top of that, we move huge amounts of water from the area down in here, Tracy through the Central Valley and the State Water Project. And we move it out either towards the lower part of the Central Valley or Southern California. 24

25 This figure shows the water deliveries through the Central Valley Project and State Water Project over time, starting in about So back in 1970, we're using about we're taking out about three, three and a half million acre feet of water. And as you can see, there's been some variability so 77 was an amazingly dry year in California. In fact, one of the driest we've ever had and so they weren't the water just wasn't there, they couldn't pump it out of the Delta. After that year, you can see more water. Again, '87 to '92, another major drought in California and so the amount of water that was pumped out of the Delta, the water just wasn't there, there was no water to pump out. But you can see over time in addition again to these sort of drought induced reductions, overall, the amount of water we're taking out of the Delta has increased. Again, we see another drop here, in part due to a drought but also because we've put some restrictions on how much water we can take. Yeah. Audience member: Do you know how much farther that curve goes down there with the depth of the drought? Heather Cooley: No, I don't actually. That would be a good question, I don't have the 2010,

26 So, we're seeing over time, anyway, a huge increase of water being diverted and again, that's being diverted down from around here towards Central Valley and Southern California. And as a result, that really altered the flow patterns. So remember when I told you that water sort of came together and diverged out? Well now, you actually have water moving in this direction which is not how that system would normally operate. In some cases, you have water, because of the sucking through this pump, going upstream so it's very confusing to the fish that are living there. It also on top of this, we have invasive species that have come in. We've lost a lot of the natural habitat that we've had. There are a lot of issues around this region and the challenges. Audience member: [Inaudible Remark] Heather Cooley: Yeah, exactly. So, as we've diverted water out of here, the salt wedge has moved upstream. It's been challenged. There's so there's issues now, there's a whole group of people for those interested, they're trying to solve some of the issues here. We tried at various points in time, there was the CalFed process, which was a state and federal process to try figure it out. There's a new sort of Delta protection and Delta stewardship council. 26

27 So, there's a lot of information now about what's going to on here but there are some plans to build well, it used to be called the peripheral canal; they're now referring to it under different names but either tunnels or some sort of canal system to take water from higher up and to essentially bypass the Delta. A lot of people are opposed to that, a lot of people are in support, a very sort of divisive but interesting issue in California. So you'll hear a lot and I just want to throw this out. You hear a lot about the Delta smelt, right? And how we've reduced diversions because of the Delta smelt. The Delta smelt is a very small fish. It's not one that's necessarily has a commercial value but we care about it because it's an indicator species. It's an indication of the health of this system, and as we saw, Delta smelt populations plummeted and then shortly thereafter, many of the other fish species plummeted as well. So, it really did provide an indication. And so while that smelt spurred a lot of action, it was because again, it's an indication of the health of the entire system and it's really a symbol of the entire system. 27

28 So, moving away from the Delta a little bit, I want to talk about climate change. So, climate change as I mentioned, the movement of water is the way that we distribute energy and that climate change is going to intensify. So in many cases, intensifying the existing the patterns that we already have. So we know that temperatures are warming, that doesn't mean that every day and every year is going to be warmer but on average, we know that temperatures are warming. And so in terms of precipitation, the models on precipitation are mixed, especially for California. In general, what the models are indicating, at least in the United States and in North America, that the wet areas are going to get wetter and then dry areas are going to get drier. California is sort of in this boundary area. Some parts of California may get wetter, some parts are going to get drier, we don't know. It's not clear yet and we're probably not going to know any time soon. What we do know, though, is that there's going to be a lot more variability. We're going to have wetter years and we're going to have drier years. Things we remember when a lot of times with climate models and when we talk about the results, we talk about the average. On average, we're going to be wetter or drier, but you can even have no change in an average and have really big changes in extremes that on average, balance each other out, right? But it still creates problems on those extremes and so that's always something to keep in mind. It's really when we think about impacts on society, it's often the extremes. It's our floods, it's our droughts, it's the fires, those are the things, those are the things that in fact define California. And so we're going to be seeing more of that. 28

29 So, one of the major and interesting findings is how climate will change run off in basins with snow amount. So, California in California, we rely on our snow pack, right? The Sierras are an important natural reservoir of water. We get a lot of as I mentioned, a lot of our precipitation in the winter time. That's not when we use or need water, right, we need water in the summer time. So with the snow, the snow is amazing in that it captures that water during the times when we don't need it and then in the spring, it then melts and releases that water down into the rivers and streams. So and it creates this and it shows here under a natural system this sort of peak, this blue. So, we have very little run off in our streams, lower run off in our streams during January and February even though we have a lot of precipitation because it's being captured as snow. But then, our run off starts to peak in around April and May and then it starts to decline over the summer period, okay? That's a typical natural run off cycle. 29

30 But with climate change, we see essentially a shift in the run off cycle so because it's warmer, we're going to see more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, right? So, you start seeing more run off during those winter months when you wouldn t have. So you can see here, you get a little bit more run off there. Also, because it's warmer, the snow is going to melt earlier and so you're going to peak earlier, right? So because of that, oftentimes, we re also getting wet storms coming through in our lower in our urban areas and our lower areas. So now that you have less snow pack and more running off, you can start to have more floods, right? Because we know that it's when the snow is melting and we get big storms that we start seeing floods in our system. But what happens is because we've shifted towards this red line, we have less run off during the summer and in through the fall. So that creates problems, right? Remember, I said water use was especially high in these periods yet our run off is going to be lower. So here, it really demonstrates how you can have more floods and more droughts at the same time. I think sometimes that's hard for people to understand. So this is sort of what the best scientist indicates is going to be happening. 30

31 And in fact, we're already starting to see this. So this shows Sacramento River run off from April through July, and that is the percent of run off of the entire year. So typically, we would see a lot more under a natural system, we would see more of the run off as the snow is melting during that April to July period. But what we're seeing over time, and we see there's a lot of natural variability, right? In some years, the run off is higher or lower depending on if we've had a wet or dry year but if we look at the long term trend and again this goes back to 1906 we see a steady decline in run off during those spring months again and that's because a lot more that's happening earlier in the year during the winter. 31

32 So, I want to also talk and add sea level rise into the mix. So, sea levels are rising. This shows the tidal data going, again, aback to 1900 and this is in San Francisco. Since that period, it's been about an eight inch rise in sea level. But what the projections are is that it's going to go up around four to four and a half feet, so that's going to create a lot of problems in California. It's going to create problems for the Delta, right, where we're pumping water. If you have more of that salt wedge that you had mentioned sort of going further up, you start having concerns about not pumping fresh water but pumping some salty water and that the pumps aren't designed for that nor did the farms and the cities want that. You also have coastal aquifers, right, that coastal communities rely on. And when sea levels rise, many of those communities are already having what's called salt water intrusion because they're pumping too much water out of those systems. And as a result, the sea waters if you're pumping fresh water out, the sea water is going to rush in to sort of fill that issue. And so if sea level rises, that creates more pressure on those aquifers and you start to get more salt water intrusion. 32

33 You also have facilities located along the coast, like waste water treatment facilities, that could be flooded and that obviously has some major water quality issues for people living in those areas. So this was a study we did at the institute about three or four years ago that looked at some of the sea level rise projections. We did it for the entire coast. I'm just showing you San Francisco Bay just so you can see some things. But basically, there are about 22 wastewater treatment plants located along the margins of the bay. They are taking wastewater, treating it and putting it out. But at sea and they produce on average about 325 million gallons per day, so quite a bit of wastewater as you might imagine. As sea levels rise, there is concern that they're going to flood some of these wastewater treatment plants that's a worst case scenario. They certainly will make it harder for that wastewater, the treated waste water to go out. There's going to be pressured on some of those pipes and so communities there, in some cases, are already starting and starting to think about this. San Francisco has been really leading on some of that work. East Bay MUD is doing some work on trying to understand how their wastewater treatment facilities will be impacted. But sea level rise is going to be a major issue for coastal communities. 33

34 So how do we respond? And this is really a key sort of issue. The 20th century approach was really about and we saw the images about this was really about building massive, centralized, very expensive in some cases, often federally subsidized infrastructure to move water over long distance. So the focus was really, okay, well, you're having issues, build more supply. That supply would somehow going to solve all of our issues. So, it was about building dams, reservoirs and pipelines, again to move water from where and when it's available to where when it's needed. And clearly, this approach has brought many benefits but these solutions are largely tapped out, are no longer appropriate or are part of the problem. 34

35 So what we need and as these just shows, this shows reservoir capacity in California from 1850 to the present. So as you can see, we weren't really building many reservoirs in the 1800s not surprisingly. Starting in the early 1900s, we started to build dams and reservoirs. You can see there is a huge building period especially during the 1960s. So Shasta was around 1945, a huge dam obviously, in terms of our reservoir capacity. You can see in the '60s and starting in the '70s, huge amounts of reservoir capacity. But it's tailed off. And the reason it's tailed off is because we've already built on all the best sites in California and we've even built on some pretty bad sites. And so any of the dams that are available or the reservoirs that are available are going to provide fewer and fewer benefits at higher and higher costs. And we can't be fooled into thinking that one or two dams is going to solve this problem, right? It's much bigger than that. And we can't simply just pump more groundwater. 35

36 This figure shows groundwater pumping in California, and this was just over the period 2003 to There are starting to be a lot more monitoring of groundwater levels. California is hugely over drafting our reservoirs, not only locally but even on broader regions. We can see overall during this period, groundwater levels declined throughout the Central Valley. But we can see some really big declines in these regions. It was in some of these regions, it was declining at around 4 to 5 feet per year, okay, so groundwater declines. So we are treating this sort of reservoir. In some cases, this reservoir is fixed. It does recharge itself naturally but if we're taking more out on an annual basis than it's able to recharge, you start to see long term groundwater challenges. And again, not just a problem in California, you hear about it in Ogallala Aquifer as well and in other parts of the world India, China, they're having major issues. California is right up there in having the scope and the same scale of groundwater issues as some of these other countries. 36

37 So I would argue, just to quote Einstein, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that got us into these." So we need sort of new tools, we need new science, we need new technological, economic, institutional, educational. And we're going to have to challenge conventional thinking and the status quo. 37

38 So what does it look like? What is sort of the scope of it? 38

39 First, we must rethink demand and become more productive in how we're using water in every community and in every sector. So we're still wasteful and inefficient with our use. I showed you just a glimpse of that when we talked about residential water use. Typically, we're efficient indoor water use is around 30 to 40 gallons per person per day, okay? So and outdoors, you know, you can debate. How much water do we need to use outdoors? How much do we need to use outdoors versus how much are we using? So we have huge potential. And again, remember, in some areas, it was 255 gallons per person per day, so huge opportunities there. Our businesses could be using water more efficiently. Our farms could be using water more efficiently. The thing with efficiency, with conservation is really, the focus is on the fact that we don't really want water, right? We want the services that water provides. We want clean clothes, we want to grow our food, we need some basic water for drinking, of course. But for many of these other uses, we can use less water than we currently are and that's really the focus of conservation and efficiency. 39

40 Second, we must rethink supply. So we can't rely entirely on our traditional surfacing groundwater. We must look to alternatives. We have to reuse our waste water, we need to capture storm water and rainwater, and utilize grey water in our homes and in our businesses. And I'll get into each of these in more detail in a couple of slides. 40

41 We also have to rethink management. We need to think about improving the existing institutions, looking at new institutions. We need to get better data. Our data in California on how we use water and our water resources is awful. We don't know how much groundwater people are using, we barely know how much surface water people are using, and so we have to really tackle that issue. 41

42 So I want to talk a little bit about sort of a framework for thinking about this new pathway and that's called the soft path for water. Has anyone ever heard of the soft path? Okay, great. So I'll one person in the back. So the soft path that term was originally coined by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. And it was used this was back in the 1970s to describe an alternate path for energy development. It emphasizes energy efficiency, decentralized energy systems, and looked at sort of a quality of energy because believe it or not, there's different qualities of energy. So the soft path for water is so the soft path for water really is looking at applying some of those soft path energy principles to water. It's based on some several key principles. First of all, it looks at improving the productivity of water. And again, that's through conservation and efficiency and for reuse. It looks at developing alternative supplies and matching the quality of supply with the quality of demand. So all of our communities are generally providing high quality potable water and we're using it for everything. We're using it for our landscaping. We're using it for cooling water. None of these things require high quality potable water. So we need to rethink that, and look at matching the quality of the water with the quality of the need. 42

43 We must look at meeting basic human and ecosystem needs. Even in California, believe or not, people don't have basic access to clean water. There are communities especially in Central Valley, especially communities on ground water, that don't have access. We recently passed the human right to water in California. It is an issue and it something we need to focus on. But in addition to that, we must ensure that our ecosystems have the water they need, and that is certainly not the case today. The soft path also looks at integrating decision making, and I'll talk a little bit more about what that is in a slide or two. And finally, it looks at working with local communities. So it's not about coming with solutions from sort of what we call the top down, right? It's about communities working together, engaging, knowing where their water comes from, knowing how they're using it, and coming up with the solutions. So the good news and what I'll focus on in the next couple of minute is that is already beginning to happen. Although, I will argue more must and should be done. 43

44 So this shows California's water use. It shows total withdrawals on the bottom. It shows population and then gross state product. So what we can see and it goes back to What we can see is that total water withdrawals in California have declined from what there were in the 1970's, and are about, kind of similar to what they been over the past 10 to 15 years. Yet, we've seen major increases in population. We've also seen major growth in our economy. Our economy has increased almost two and a half times since So, what this means is, historically, people have thought, Well if you got growth, you can have more water, that's how works. That's not the case; we've decoupled that. And the reason we ve done that are sort of two reasons. One is conservation and efficiency. We're using water much more efficiency than we were. The toilets that we're using, the clothes washers that we're using, all of them are more efficient. But also we changed the nature of our economy. Our economy use to be based more on water intensive manufacturing. It's now more of a service economy. And so, both of those things have enabled us to continue to grow, to continue to have a vibrant and healthy economy, yet to keep our water use at about the same. 44

45 Audience member: What are those that just place water uses aren't the basis of the services industries, use of the manufacturing industry with somewhere else. So is there any like the reason of the water withdrawing in other places that consider you using like Central Valley. Heather Cooley: That's a really good question, and actually, I would I have we're working on the project now that looks like California's water foot print. So it's much like a carbon foot print but it looks at the state as a whole. I don't have time to get into it today but we can talk about it later and uncertainly, we have worked on a report that looked at that, it's on our website. Everything is on our website, by the way. Everything we do is free. I'd encourage you to look at it. But we're also looking at a time series. How has our water footprint changed overtime? So, these are really interesting questions. 45

46 So again, part of that is through conservation and efficiency 46

47 As I mentioned earlier, and I'll just touch on this again conservation and efficiency is not about brown lawns and sort of these short showers, right? It's much more than that. It's new technology. 47

48 It's changing our landscapes to more drought tolerant plants. It's using high efficiency toilets. It's using high efficiency shower heads. So, it's not about again, the focus is on providing water service, not the total volume of water that you're using. 48

49 There's also and in the interest of time, I'm just going to briefly run through this. There is potential for technology improvements in agriculture, right shifting towards sprinkler and drip, using irrigation scheduling. So better applying the amount of water when the plant needs it rather than simply when the water is available. There are some innovative management practices called deficit irrigation, where you stress the plant during drought tolerant phases. So you actually reduce water use below its requirements. And so, you can save water there while getting an actual increase in the quality of your fruit and vegetables. So this is the case wine grapes do this already. There is potential for this with citrus, some of our stone fruits. Even alfalfa. There's some new research that you can use this on alfalfa as well. So there's a potential there. 49

50 This, I wanted to show you. We have made some major technological improvements in agriculture in California. This is a survey done in It shows the low volumes sprinkler, or excuse me, the low volume drip irrigation sprinkler and then the areas that are still flood irrigated. We can see there, we still have a lot of areas in the state that are flood irrigated. And so there's potential to reduce water use there. 50

51 This image cannot currently be displayed. Sustainability We also, as I mentioned one of the things that was matching the quality of supply with the quality of demand. So there are some communities that are starting to do that. Irvine Ranch Water District which is in Southern California, about 20 percent of their water is recycled water. So some communities are doing this in Orange County, that's what this is here. They're doing this really interesting project where they're treating waste water to a very high quality and then injecting it in the ground water and then later reusing it for drinking water after again, they have to treat it again. And interestingly, the water is of higher quality when they inject it underground and when they pull it out later on. So, sort of an interesting, innovative approach. Down here, this is a big rainwater harvesting project in Southern California that a group, Tree People, is working on. So were starting to see some movement in this direction but we need to do more. 51

52 This image cannot currently be displayed. Sustainability Finally, the last thing I want to talk about is integrated decision making. So here in California and this is again not just a problem in California but everywhere. We have people who are focused on flood control. And then we have your water suppliers. And then we have your wastewater suppliers. And they're all working in water but they're not working together, okay? Even if they re housed in the same say building, they're still often operating in silos and may not talk to each other. So there's a lot of opportunity to integrate some of their working in an effort to sort of foster innovation. As an example of this, there's this that's called low impact development. How many people have heard of this? Okay, so good about the third of the room I would say. So with low impact development, this is something that's happening again in communities. It really looks at capturing some of the storm water and using it to recharge groundwater. So when we built our cities, we looked at storm water as a liability. And we built these curving gutter systems to get that storm water out as quickly as possible. Well, some communities are beginning to realize "Wait a minute, that's not a liability. It's an asset and we need to capture that water." So and this happening it's certainly happening in Portland and Seattle. They're sort of the leaders on this, but also in some parts in Southern California and in other communities where they're slowing that water down. They're using it to infiltrate groundwater so that they can then pump it out later on during the summer or during a dry period. 52

53 This image cannot currently be displayed. Sustainability And in addition to providing sort of a water supply, there's a water quality benefit. A lot of the pollution that happens in our rivers and streams is when that storm water runs off the cement, which we have a lot of in our urban areas, and it erodes the creek, it washes all of the all of the oils and the metals into them. And so if we can instead capture that in these bio swales or in these other sort of green vegetated areas, we can really create a water quality benefit as well for downstream communities. So, it really has sort of a win win. So to conclude, I believe we are at a very fascinating and remarkable time in California Water Policy. We face many serious risks and concerns. We're also at a point where we have a lot of affordable solutions, we have attractive solutions, we have innovative solutions that we can apply to help us address these things. So, I believe that this transition towards the soft path is inevitable. But again, there are some easier ways and some harder ways of getting there. But I think together, collectively, if we all work on this, we can get there. So I have sorry I didn't leave much time for questions. I can take maybe two or three questions. Okay, I'll start this way, and there and then go ahead. Audience member: 14.5 percent in 2007 on the hydroelectric. My questions for you Is that double is that double canal system that the governor seems to be supporting going to be on the ballot, or bonds? 53

54 This image cannot currently be displayed. Sustainability Heather Cooley: There's debate about how that's going to be funded, and it's not clear yet. Audience member: My question is what s your take on those tunnels? Heather Cooley: Well, an interesting question and I'll speak for myself. My organization is not taking a position. And in fact, I haven't really taken a position on it. I do have issues with the amount of water that they're talking about moving. I think we can do it with less water if we also start to look some of these other alternatives. So if we couple it with the storm water and the efficiency and the recycled water, we can potentially reduce the amount. I do have concerns about the process that's been used. So I think there are a lot of communities in the Delta farmers and small rural communities that haven't been brought into the decision making process. And so, you know, whenever were doing have to make a tough decision, it's important to include those who are going to be impacted in that decision making. So, you know, I think we're going to have to deal with the Delta in some way. But the issues of how big and how much water we're going to be moving and who is going to operate it and how they're going to operate it are really central to sort of for me, any way of coming up with an opinion on it. And yet, I haven't yet seen any sort of definitive answer on that We're going to go behind you and then over there, and then I can go. Go ahead. 54

55 This image cannot currently be displayed. Sustainability Audience member: Yes, ma'am. While we were speaking, I thought of something that had never occurred to me for 55 years here in California, and that was the water that comes from Hetch Hetchy to San Francisco. And I thought to myself, we're shipping water from the southern part of the valley up to the Bay area and we're sending water south from the Delta and [inaudible]. Heather Cooley: Why? Audience member: Why is that? Heather Cooley: Well, I think, you know, we didn't in thinking about the reality we have now of water, it wasn't a linear progression. Those systems were built at different times and for different needs and they weren't always orchestrated. So the federal government wasn't necessarily working with the state government on how to build those things. And so we sort of built them when we needed them without thinking about what the future was going to be. And in some cases, you know, it make sense we didn't know what California was going to be but in many cases, that lead us to something that would counter intuitive when we looked back. Audience member: Is there any thought about changing it? 55

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