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Managing Californias Water: Insights from Interviews with Water Policy Experts

  • Sarah E, Null
Published Article
San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2012
Center for Watershed Sciences John Muir Institute of the Environment


This paper presents insights from interviews with over 100 California water policy experts, who answered open-ended questions regarding California\textquoterights long-term water policy challengesand potential solutions. Interviews were conducted in the spring and summer of 2010, and interviewees were selected from a range of sectors and regions within California. Top long-term policy problems cited include management of the Sacramento\textendashSan Joaquin Delta, dysfunctional institutions and water governance, unsustainable water supplies and flood management, poor environmental protection, and problems with water rights and valuing water. In addition to a range of specific management solutions, respondents emphasized the importance of public education, incentivized cooperation, more holistic water management, local innovation, and removal of regulatory obstacles as primary solutions to California\textquoterights long-term water challenges. There was little emphasis on new surface storage projects, except from politicians. Other respondents preferred local and regional approaches to improve water supply, such as conservation, groundwater banking, recycling, or stormwater management. Despite differences in opinion on the problems with implementation of the Endangered Species Act, there was broad agreement that environmental management approaches need to shift away from single-species, piecemeal approaches toward ecosystem-based, multi-species approaches.

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