California: laboratory of desperate water policy

“Let’s manage water like California.”  Can you imagine any Minnesotan saying that?

Nope.  But there are things we will be watching and learning as California’s wretched water situation forces overdue political decisions. Their “someday” problem has arrived  and there is no more room for policy makers and agencies to kick the can down the road any further. Last September our Moos Speaker , Jay Famiglietti, laid out the decades long history that is now making headlines from coast to coast.  (You can see his presentation here)

The debate has already shown how desperate interests have been squaring off with new proposals for who should be “doing more” coming right along after them.  Some examples:

City vs. city because usage rates vary and frugal communities think wasteful ones should step up

City vs. rural because agriculture uses way more water than the cities

Rural vs. city because ag says even though it is still large, it HAS cut way back on use—and growing food trumps growing lawns and filling swimming pools.

early well owners vs. later and deeper well owners because the Golden State does not regulate withdrawal of groundwater (yet)

And lastly from today’s posting at, everybody vs. rich people.

Raise a glass and toast Minnesota’s willingness to pick away at long-term issues before they erupt.

And hope the political will remains to  be wise stewards of what we have.

Steve Woods

1 thought on “California: laboratory of desperate water policy”

  1. Let us look at the following laboratory: Suppose all water subsidies were replaced with an excise tax on water. Preferably the excise tax would expand and drown out taxes on economic effort such as labor. This would give individuals incentive to labor in places and ways to not waste water.

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