Less water could sustain more Californians if we make every drop count


California isn’t running out of water,” says Richard Luthy. “It’s running out of cheap water. But the state can’t keep doing what it’s been doing for the past 100 years.”

 Luthy knows. As a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, as well as director of a National Science Foundation center to re-invent urban water supply (known as ReNUWIt), he has spent decades studying the state’s metropolitan areas.

In a new journal article, he argues that California cities can no longer rely on their three traditional water-coping strategies: over-drafting groundwater, depleting streams and importing water from far away. His analysis focuses on several strategies that, taken together, can help cities provide for their growing population with prudent public policies and investments.

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