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Policy Brief

Policy Brief: The Future of Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

By Alvar Escriva-Bou, Ellen Hanak, Spencer Cole, Josué Medellín-Azuara

Agriculture is a key driver of the regional economy in the San Joaquin Valley, but water for irrigation is an ongoing—and growing—concern. Our latest research offers the most accurate, nuanced, and localized look at where fallowing may need to occur—and details the policy and management actions that could lead to better outcomes.

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Can Nine Atmospheric Rivers Recharge California’s Groundwater?

By Sarah Bardeen

Last month’s storms dropped immense amounts of water on California. Now, many people are wondering if we’ve been able to sock away any of that bounty—so we asked groundwater hydrologist Helen Dahlke to give us the skinny.

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Can We Capture More Water in the Delta?

By Sarah Bardeen

A massive amount of water is moving through the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta in the wake of recent storms, and calls have risen from all quarters to capture more of this bounty. We spoke with PPIC Water Policy Center adjunct fellow Greg Gartrell to understand what’s preventing that—and to dispel the myth of “water wasted to the sea.”

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Crisis Communication Suffers During Natural Disasters

By Jeffrey Mount

Walloped by a series of atmospheric rivers, California is grappling with an unfolding natural disaster. In any disaster, communication is key—but this past weekend, our senior fellow Jeff Mount gained firsthand experience of some of the challenges facing our fractured communication systems.

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Adapting to a Water-Scarce California

By Ellen Hanak

With the arrival of a series of atmospheric rivers, drought-weary Californians are now confronting the weather whiplash that’s a hallmark of our state’s climate. But the current deluge won’t erase California’s water challenges. PPIC Water Policy Center director Ellen Hanak reflects on what happened with California’s water in 2022—and explores how to manage the resource in our increasingly volatile climate.

Fact Sheet

Water and Energy in California

By Alvar Escriva-Bou, Gokce Sencan, Andrew Ayres

Water and energy are closely entwined in California: the energy sector relies heavily on water for electricity generation, and statewide water use consumes a lot of energy. Our new fact sheet illuminates the connections between these two sectors, and explores ways to make both systems more resilient in the face of climate change.

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Video: Surplus and Shortage—California’s Water Balancing Act

By Sarah Bardeen

After three years of virtual events, our annual fall conference returned to an in-person format in Sacramento on Friday, November 18. The upshot? Good people, good food, and three vital panel discussions about managing water in California’s changing climate. Read our recap!

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Surplus and Shortage: California’s Water Balancing Act

As climate change accelerates, it’s bringing more extreme weather to California: The dry periods are hotter and drier than ever before—and the wet periods can be torrential. The only certainty is that water managers at every level will have to plan for and respond to extremes. How can we cope with the increasing volatility of our water cycle? We bring together three panels of experts to find out.

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Climate-Challenged California Must Learn to Thrive with Less Water

By Ellen Hanak, Jeffrey Mount

Managing water in our increasingly volatile climate is becoming more challenging: even if we do everything right, water supplies are likely to decline. The grand challenge for 21st-century water management in California is learning to thrive with less.

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Solar Development in the San Joaquin Valley

To balance the San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater basins, hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the coming decades. Utility-scale solar development—already an attractive option for landowners—could help keep these lands economically productive, but it faces some obstacles. Can solar overcome these challenges and help support the region as a whole? Join us for an expert panel discussion.

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