Thoughtful report from the Water in the West folks at Stanford University: Water Governance and Climate Change: Drought in California as a Lens on Our Climate Future by Jacqueline Peel and Janny Choy.
A new report on water governance and climate change through the lens of the current California drought has just been released by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program.
This report, authored by Water in the West visiting scholar Jacqueline Peel and research analyst Janny Choy, summarizes the insights, lessons and key findings of a workshop hosted by Water in the West in September 2014, which brought together participants who have played central roles in managing water during California’s current drought. The conference focused on planning, management, response, and other aspects of water governance in the face of climate change. Participants included officials from local, state and federal agencies and researchers from Stanford and other universities and institutions. Topics addressed at the conference (and in the report) include the ramifications of increasingly severe droughts on water users and the environment, how water managers have made water allocation and other decisions during the current drought, and how to improve water management and governance in the context of a changing climate.
The Stanford workshop was held in conjunction with a parallel workshop at Melbourne Law School in Australia. Participants in the two workshops took part in a joint videoconference session to exchange insights about the two regions’ experiences with drought. The report includes some of these lessons from Australia’s experiences during the millennium drought and its aftermath, including water law reform, increased reliance on water markets, allocating water for the environment, and desalination.
The report identifies many key issues for California in dealing with the current drought and preparing for the next one, and maps out key questions for further research and work. I hope you will take a look and share with friends and colleagues who may be interested.
And here is the introduction from the report itself:
This report summarizes the insights, lessons and key findings of a workshop hosted by Water in the West on “Water Governance and Climate Change” held at Stanford University on September 25-26, 2014. The report was prepared by Jacqueline Peel, a Visiting Scholar with Water in the West and a law professor at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Janny Choy, Research Analyst with Water in the West. It contains the authors’ analysis of the workshop findings but does not reflect the individual views of any particular participant.
The workshop was held in conjunction with a parallel workshop at Melbourne Law School in Australia. Participants in the two workshops took part in a joint videoconference session to share ideas, lessons and innovations in water governance across the two jurisdictions.
One thing I enjoyed: the quotes dispersed throughout the report. Samples:
“In the world of public policy, a drought is a terrible thing to waste.”
“It’s not that we don’t know how to plan. The problem is that we don’t know how to use those plans and we don’t implement our plans.”
“The deeper the drought, the longer it lasts, the less able we are to muddle through it.”
“It’s said that there’s no such thing as a shortage of water – only a shortage of cheap water.”
“We should put a lot more money into gathering data than spending money on lawyers fighting about data we don’t have.”