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New Solutions For Dire California Drought47:46

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California Governor Jerry Brown, and his billion-dollar emergency drought plan. We’ll look at dry California’s options, including turning to the sea.

In this Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 file photo, houseboats sit in the drought lowered waters of Oroville Lake, near Oroville, Calif. California voters overwhelmingly see the state's ongoing water shortage as a serious problem. A Field Poll released Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 says 94 percent consider the shortage serious, and of those 68 percent find it extremely serious. (AP)
In this Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 file photo, houseboats sit in the drought lowered waters of Oroville Lake, near Oroville, Calif. California voters overwhelmingly see the state's ongoing water shortage as a serious problem. A Field Poll released Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 says 94 percent consider the shortage serious, and of those 68 percent find it extremely serious. (AP)

More water woe in California this year.  The most populous state in the Union, the biggest source of American veggies and much more, is entering its fourth year of drought. Parched reservoirs all over. The mountain snow pack almost gone.  It’s at 12 percent of normal.  Twelve percent!  Last week, Governor Jerry Brown rolled out a billion-dollar plan to deal with the water crisis. But you can’t buy rain.  Californians are beginning to get the message, but the message is potentially so tough it’s hard to take on board.  This hour On Point:  getting real about a dry, dry California.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Heather Cooley, water program director at the Pacific Institute.

Yoram Cohen, professor of chemical and bio-molecular engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kevin Starr, historian and author. Author of several books on California, including "California: A History" and "Americans and the California Dream."

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: No, California won't run out of water in a year — "State water managers and other experts said Thursday that California is in no danger of running out of water in the next two years, even after an extremely dry January and paltry snowpack. Reservoirs will be replenished by additional snow and rainfall between now and the next rainy season, they said. The state can also draw from other sources, including groundwater supplies, while imposing tougher conservation measures."

Sacramento Bee: Could desalination solve California’s water problem? -- "The eyes of a thirsty state are trained on this project: It is a crucial test for an industry eager to expand in California, where residents are famously protective of their coastline and also accustomed to relatively cheap water. In short, the Carlsbad project is challenging California’s status quo while also offering the tantalizing prospect of relief from drought."

The Wall Street Journal:California Turns to the Ocean for Drinking Water -- "Desalination is widely used in other parts of the world, including the Middle East, but has been slower to catch on in the U.S. One reason: It takes a great deal of electricity to separate the salt from water, making the process unattractive for communities that have cheaper sources."

This program aired on March 23, 2015.

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