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California Colloquium on Water - Tim Quinn

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Uploaded on Mar 13, 2009

California Water: Managing Crisis and Opportunity

Tim Quinn - Executive Director, Association of California Water Agencies

Abstract: California is experiencing its worst water crisis in history with drought combining with increasing regulatory restrictions and inadequate infrastructure to generate significant negative impacts on both the environment and economy. This presentation explores the root causes and possible solutions to this crisis. Californias water system was conceived and constructed under very different natural resource policies than those that exist today. In the mid 20th century, natural resource policies focused on resource extraction for human economic purposes. As we move into the 21st century, natural resource policies are focused on the restoration and sustainability of the environment, quite apart from any economic value to human beings. Not surprisingly, the physical system that was conceived under extraction policies in the 20th century is characterized by high levels of conflict between societys 21st century environmental and economic goals. Governor Schwarzeneggers Blue Ribbon Delta Vision Task Force has recently completed its work with sweeping recommendations to overhaul the states water infrastructure and water management practices to accomplish the coequal goals of environmental restoration and water supply reliability. These recommendations will be reviewed with an eye toward their potential to set California on a sustainable path as we transition from an extraction to a sustainability natural resource policy.

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