Abstract

ABSTRACT:

California has a long and challenging history of managing and providing water to its ever-growing population. With the state's extreme climate variability and indications that climate change will intensify droughts and reduce snow storage, managing water for long-term sustainability is a complex challenge. California's recent five-year drought was the driest overall period on record. Response to the drought "crisis" included a first-ever mandate requiring urban areas to cut water use by twenty-five percent, as well as legislation and policy changes intended to promote more-efficient water use. Such a crisis can provide an opportunity to facilitate significant policy changes that might otherwise seem politically impossible. After the winter of 2017, the wettest on record, Governor Brown declared the drought officially over. However, since the mandatory cutbacks were rescinded, statewide urban water use has slowly risen. This paper will investigate California's response to the recent drought, and whether policies and attitudes toward water use and conservation are shifting from managing drought as a climate emergency to a more comprehensive approach of water use efficiency. We focus specifically on some of the constraints, both behavioral and legislative, to achieving a more resilient and sustainable water supply.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 112-134
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-08
Open Access
No
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