PPIC's Commentary RSS Feedhttp://www.ppic.org/en-usCopyright 2014 PPIC All Rights Reserved.Sat, 20 Dec 2014 17:16:29 PDTPublic Policy Institute of California : Commentary Beyond the Drought: 10 Big Changes Ahead for California Water http://www.ppic.org/main/commentary.asp?i=1428 <a href="http://www.ppic.org/main/bio.asp?i=72"><img height="74" width="81" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.ppic.org/content/portraits/StaffPhoto-Hanak.jpg" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px;" /></a>By <a href="http://www.ppic.org/main/bio.asp?i=72">Ellen Hanak</a>, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California<br /> <img src="/content/images/spacer_transparent_10x5.gif" title="" alt="" /><br /> January 13, 2014<br /> <br /> <br /> These days, all water news in California is focused on the weather. After two successive dry years, this year’s rainy season has yet to make a decent showing. Unless the skies open soon, the state seems firmly headed for a major drought, with serious implications for the farm economy, some water-scarce communities, and the fish and other species that depend on our rivers and streams. <br /> <br /> Periodic droughts are inevitable in California, given the state’s highly variable climate, and many scientists expect such extreme events to become more frequent with climate change. An essential part of water management in California is preparing for this inevitability—with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1041">multi-pronged strategies that include water marketing, groundwater banking,</a> conservation, and investment in non-traditional supplies like recycled wastewater. Each drought provides an opportunity to get better at stretching scarce supplies and reducing the economic hardship caused by water scarcity, as <a href="http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_1209EHR.pdf">PPIC’s California Water Myths report</a> points out. <br /> <br /> I recently wrote a piece—with Jay Lund, PPIC adjunct fellow and UC Davis professor—for the UC Davis <a target="_blank" href="http://californiawaterblog.com/2014/01/07/resistance-is-futile-inevitable-changes-to-water-management-in-california/">Center for Watershed Sciences’ California WaterBlog that highlights 10 other inevitable changes</a> in store for California water. These changes range from vulnerable levees and uncertain water supply conditions in the Delta to deteriorating groundwater basins to the shrinking Salton Sea. To minimize hardship and disruption, most of the items on our top 10 list will—like droughts—require significant preparation and planning. This is often hard to do, given the tradeoffs and costs of most water management solutions. But we think that preparation is the best way to reduce the pain and develop a water policy that supports the kind of state Californians want, rather than wishfully thinking that California can avoid change. Mon, 13 Jan 2014 00:00:00 PDT Are You a Have or a Have-Not? Californians’ Views http://www.ppic.org/main/commentary.asp?i=1425 <table width="" align="" style="width: 360px; border-collapse: collapse;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top;"> <p>By <a href="http://www.ppic.org/main/bio.asp?i=298">Dean Bonner</a>, research associate, Public Policy Institute of California<br /> <br /> January 8, 2014</p></td> <td style="padding: 0px; text-align: right; vertical-align: top;"><a href="http://www.ppic.org/main/bio.asp?i=298"> <div><img width="90" height="81" style="margin-left: 15px;" src="/content/portraits/staffphoto-bonner.jpg" alt="" /></div></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table><br /> <p>As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, it’s clear that income inequality is an issue that resonates with Californians today. According to <a href="http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1077">the latest PPIC Statewide Survey</a>, a record-high 66 percent of residents said the state is divided into haves and have-nots. When asked to characterize themselves Californians are split, with 40 percent saying they are part of the haves and 45 percent saying they are part of the have-nots. But this split obscures a striking change since 2002, when 60 percent viewed themselves as part of the haves and just 32 percent viewed themselves as part of the have-nots.<br /> </p><img width="360" height="262" src="/content/images/blogpostgraphic_bonner_01-08-14-upper2.jpg" title="" alt="" /><br /> <span class="secondary_body"><span class="footer_copy">Sources: PPIC Statewide Surveys: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/survey/S_902MBS.pdf">September 2002</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1077">December 2013</a></span>.</span><br /> <br /> <p>The legislature is also taking notice and has established a <span style="font-weight: bold;"><a href="http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-12-12-senator-desaulnier-launches-caucus-end-poverty-and-inequality-california"></a></span><a href="http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-12-12-senator-desaulnier-launches-caucus-end-poverty-and-inequality-california">new legislative caucus</a> focusing on poverty and inequality. Part of the mission of the caucus is to increase economic opportunity for all Californians.</p> Wed, 8 Jan 2014 00:00:00 PDT