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🗣️ Water Challenges in California

Water Talk

Photo by Gustavo Zambelli / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Drs. Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns & Sam Sandoval
Guest: Felicia Marcus | Fellow | Stanford University’s Water in the West Program
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[11:58] “The water board […] is a unique creature in the country. […] The water quality regulatory function in the state, meaning what like sewage treatment plants could put out in the ocean or in surface waters, or industry, or ag, […] the water quality side, and the water rights regulation, which is about more quantity and use and priority and seniority, with an overlay of public trust, fish protection and protection of other uses, was put together in one entity. Because folks felt that, particularly with California having a strong desire to protect resources of common value to all of us, as opposed to just looking at water as an extracted input to production of something that you having a group of people in a five member full time board of regular people with varying expertise would bring more of that subjective judgment that was inherently a part of either the water quality side, or making judgments on what was reasonable or unreasonable.”

[21:17] “There are different sets of issues [in California water|. So one is sort of intelligent water management generally and in particular, in the urban arena. […] Climate change adaptation of water in cities is just incredibly important. I think we've made tremendous progress there. And that's due to the leadership at the local level, and having some of us in government try and figure out how to aid and incentivize acceleration of that work versus thinking we have to control it from on high, which is, one size fits all doesn't recognize it every place is different in a lot of ways.”

[21:55] “In the Bay Delta arena, I don't think we have a high enough appreciation of how much is at stake and what we're about to lose in terms of the complete collapse of a incredibly vibrant […] ecosystem and how close we are to […] creating […] a water desert. […] And I worry that we don't have enough of an appreciation for how important that is and how at risk it is for that the general public really realizes how slow we've been as a state to really protect the heritage that really is theirs and belongs to all of them.”

[23:04] “I think on the water quality arena, we have this problem of sometimes brought by a greater technical savvy and ability to identify contaminants at a smaller and smaller level so that we can look now at what we call contaminants of emerging concern, like endocrine disruptors […]. Same is true with PFOS as one of the scariest newer compounds that we're realizing is in deep contamination, […] [and] also it's just ubiquitous and Teflon pots and fabrics we use. […] So how are we going to deal with that in a way that's economical […] [and in] energy sensitive ways [is a challenge].”

[24:05] “I think the biggest challenge is […] the unmasking and the recognition of the vast number of Californians who don't have clean, safe and affordable drinking water. […] We're among the few states who have outed themselves in terms of doing the reports and doing the data. […] Californians, particularly in agricultural […] rural communities have been relying in whole or in part on nitrate contaminated groundwater, which is the byproduct of a socially productive enterprise, which is growing food and fiber.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "Ecosystem Management & Drought")
🕰️ 33 min | 🗓️ 06/18/2021
✅ Time saved: 31 min

Additional Links:
California Water Board