(Someone just told me that it's hard to blog when you may say something that upsets the boss. My boss is dead, so I get to say what I want.)
Blaine Hanson from UC Davis basically said "if you like food, don't take water from farmers" -- a form of FUD that I find particularly galling. Of COURSE farmers will grow food if water is reallocated (via markets):
- There's NO WAY that cities could absorb all the water, and environmental flows can co-exist with agricultural application.
- Farmers will always grow the most-profitable crops. If they have less water left after welling some, they will stop growing the least-profitable crops.
- Food prices will rise if land is taken out of production, drawing in supply from other states and countries -- as well as bringing California land back into production.
Rick Soehren from California's Department of Water Resources gave a typical drought presentation [PDF]. When I asked him about groundwater, he deferred to the Legislature. (He did say -- as a private citizen -- that groundwater and surface water need to be co-managed.) When I asked him if DWR has done a white paper on the value/consequences of groundwater monitoring, he fell silent. I can predict that legislators want information on groundwater from DWR. If DWR has nothing to offer, either nothing will be done, or some political hack job will make matters worse. DWR needs to at least PRETEND that it understands Water Resources!
Bottom Line: This forum was heavy on low-flush toilets and weak Weak WEAK on the economics of water conservation. If I was presenting, I would say one thing: There's a water shortage because demand exceeds supply, and the way to fix that is by raising prices!