by Jay Lund
California water policy is often discussed and depicted as being impossibly complex. In its essentials, it can be seen much more simply, as in the flow chart below. Without extreme events (such as floods and droughts), the policy process would be simpler, but ironically less effective, and less well funded.
California’s remarkable water history shows that frequent extreme events have activated enough innovation and preparations over 170 years such that floods, droughts, and earthquakes are now much less threatening to California’s population and economy. However, frequent failures have not yet motivated adequate preparation and management for ecosystems and rural water supplies.
Given predictions of climate and ecological disasters, the future looks simultaneously bright, terrible, and worse for those not prepared.
Pinter, N., J. Lund, and P. Moyle. “The California Water Model: Resilience through Failure,” Hydrological Processes, Vol. 22, Iss. 12, pp. 1775-1779, 2019.
Yes Minister – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister