California Water Issues

Conflicts over water in California have perpetuated throughout the years in many different forms: between the North and South, between the East and West, and amongst agriculture, urbanists and environmentalists. These conflicts have shaped the growth and location of Californian cities. Norris Hundley explores the relationship between water and the development of California in his book "The Great Thirst: Californians and Water History." Marc Reisner shares the story of California's water in his novel "Cadillac Desert." The following links summarize the historical information on these issues, as well as relevant current issues.

  • Timeline of California Water History
  • Current Water Shortages in California
  • San Diego's Water Crisis
  • California Water Districts

  • The Public Policy Institue of Califoria released a comprehensive study in February of 2011 on the history of Californian water policy and management, current issues and the looming water "crisis", and proposals to better manage the state's water in the future. The authors claim that the state has run out of "new" water sources and express concern about non-point pollution sources, deteriorating ecosystems, and increased flood risk. The proposals for better water management include imposing a tiered pricing system, imposing conservation measures, requiring greater industrial efficiency that may require the reclaiming and reuse of certain wastewaters, and "groundwater banking", or the expansion of undergrand water storage as an alternative to expanding surface water storage capacity.