Now that the elections are over and California has a new (old) Governor, it's time to get back to problems that have been festering for ages. The obvious ones are poor management of groundwater, a lack of water markets, and the low prices that lead to shortages in dry places (because the price of water reflects the cost of delivery, not the scarcity of water).
But these problems can be resolved locally, without significant political action.
The Delta problem involves politics and politicians (mostly because it was caused by them).
I've written on one possible solution [PDF] that uses "put your money where your mouth is markets for stakeholders," but I've also been thinking of another idea for ages...
It's the California Water Conference
Slogan: "Leadership. Solutions. Now."
Time: 2.5 days
Attendance: 100 participants, with a composition of (roughly) 10 academics/consultants, 30 politicians/public managers/bureaucrats, 30 biz/ag people, 30 enviro/activists.
The Trick: Attendees are nominated and/or voted in by other interest groups. This means that Ideologues will be excluded. Is it possible to find a solution if they are excluded? Probably. This is a political problem that only requires a majority.
The other trick:
Lock people in the room with lots of alcohol.
18:00 Registration and cocktails
19:00 Plenary speaker (30 min) -- a revolutionary who accomplished something...
19:30 Dinner (2 hrs)
9:00 Two speakers (15 min plus 15 min for Q&A/each)
11:00 Two speakers (same)
2:00 Panel (debate a metatopic)
4:00 Breakout/Brainstorming sessions (2 sessions on the SAME topics?)
9:00 Solutions I (Breakout sessions presented 30 min/debated 30 min)
11:00 Solutions II (same)
2:00 Political/economic/legal issues
4:00 Solving those problems/drafting language
All attendees will receive booklets with photos, emails and phone numbers.
How does this sound? Suggestions for improvement? Want to help me organize it?
Bottom Line: A political solution requires that enough people find enough common ground, without resorting to high-minded, but empty, posturing.