What do Californians need to know about our water system to be able to grasp the big management challenges we face—both in times of drought and for the longer term? Jeffrey Mount reveals all in a conversation with Joint Venture Silicon Valley CEO Russell Hancock. The wide-ranging conversation, now a free podcast, is a 45-minute entertaining crash course in the workings of watersheds, state water policy, and why we need an “all of the above” strategy to solving our water crisis.
The interview walks us through a number of key topics, but goes in-depth on one: groundwater.
“This will be the year of groundwater,” Mount said. “We’ve been treating groundwater like a non-renewable resource, like oil . . . Now as a state we’re trying to grapple with the fact that we’ve overtaxed that resource.”
By podcast’s end, you’ll be able to talk intelligently about the pores between soils (and why we need them), the costs of desalination plants, the potential for information technology solutions to help us manage our water better, and the long-distance origins of our current drought.
When asked what lasting change he would like to see as a response to the current drought, Mount said: “Droughts are pivot points: they lead to changes in technology, and they lead to changes in practice. We saw that in Australia; after the drought was over, people’s behavior changed. That is going to happen in this drought. People are using less water on a per-capita basis, and that will be the lasting part of the drought.”
We hope you’ll listen in.