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OPINION: California Needs an ‘All of the Above’ Solution for Water: Guest Commentary

This year’s drought has brought an unprecedented amount of attention to California’s water future, and with that debate, two different views about the solution. There is the view we can solve this problem by emphasizing a single approach, such as conserving more water or desalinating the Pacific Ocean. And there is the view that we have to take many actions on many fronts, an “all of the above” strategy, to truly remain reliable.


As the regional planner and long-time importer of water supplies for the six-county region, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is among those advancing a comprehensive approach to our water future.

BLOG: Beavers: A Potential Missing Link in California’s Water Future

On California’s central coast, a region that usually receives drenching rainfall or fog for most of the year, some forests are now as arid as a desert. Streams that once ran at least at a trickle through summer have vanished in the ongoing drought, and environmentalists and fishermen fear that local salmon will disappear if climate conditions don’t improve.

The landscape desperately needs rain. It could also use beavers, according to ecologists who say the near eradication of Castor canadensis from parts of the West in the 19th century has magnified the effects of California’s worst dry spell in history.

Before California’s Drought, a Century of Disparity

Bulmario Tapia Madrigal doesn’t want to shower in a stream of dirt. He doesn’t want to cook with bottled water, haul a bucketful to flush the toilet, or wonder if he has enough water to clean the diabetes wounds on his feet. But since his well went dry three months ago, that’s how life has been. Some relief is coming for the 70-year-old orange picker. On a dry August afternoon, he zips his motorized wheelchair up and down his driveway, anxiously watching a crew of workers.