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Priorities for California’s Water

By Jeffrey Mount, Letitia Grenier, Ellen Hanak, Caitlin Peterson ...

California has made great strides in preparing for a drier, hotter future, but it remains a challenge to harness the bounty of wet years while also reducing flood risk. How did California’s water sector manage the unusually wet 2023 water year—and what lessons can we glean for the future?

blog post

Navigating the Hope (and Hype) around Solar Canals

By Sarah Bardeen, Gokce Sencan

Placing solar panels over canals is attracting attention in California. But will solar canals live up to the hype—and will they work in California? Turlock Irrigation District’s general manager, Michelle Reimers, tells us about a new pilot project that could answer some of these questions.

blog post

Commentary: Water-use Challenges Affecting Farmers Means Reinventing the San Joaquin Valley

By Ellen Hanak, Caitlin Peterson

To ensure the San Joaquin Valley’s future, groundwater overpumping has to end—and some 500,000 acres of farmland will likely need to come out of intensively irrigated production. But unplanned, haphazard fallowing would harm the valley. In our Fresno Bee commentary, we share insights on how to protect the valley’s residents, agriculture, and environment, drawing on over seven years of research.


Managing Water and Farmland Transitions in the San Joaquin Valley

By Ellen Hanak, Andrew Ayres, Caitlin Peterson, Alvar Escriva-Bou ...

How can the San Joaquin Valley adapt to a future with less water? We’ve been researching this issue for the past seven years, and our new report presents highlights from we’ve learned, including a robust list of policy suggestions to help the valley weather—and make the most of—the coming changes.

Fact Sheet

Water Use in California’s Agriculture

By Caitlin Peterson, Alvar Escriva-Bou, Josué Medellín-Azuara, Spencer Cole

California is an agricultural powerhouse that relies heavily on irrigation. Discover how much water the sector uses and how groundwater laws and climate change are bringing change.

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An Epic Snowpack May Test Water Management in the San Joaquin Valley

By Jeffrey Mount

Nothing improves our understanding of water like a “stress test”—and it’s starting to look like the San Joaquin Valley will face one this spring, when California’s epic snowpack begins to melt. This week on our blog, Jeff Mount speculates about what may lie ahead for the valley.

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Commentary: Lack of Water Is Forcing Major Changes in Valley Agriculture, New Analysis Says

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

Agriculture is a key driver of the regional economy in the San Joaquin Valley, but the valley faces a future with less water: our latest research finds that average annual water supplies could decline by 20% by 2040. How can the valley adjust? We found that with a few changes, valley agriculture could continue to thrive—even with a smaller footprint.

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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.”

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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The Troubled History—and Uncertain Future—of the Salton Sea

By Sarah Bardeen

Southern California’s hundred-year-old Salton Sea is drying up, and that’s creating a host of problems, as both wildlife and air quality in the region suffer. We sat down with an expert—UC Riverside professor and PPIC Water Policy Center adjunct fellow Kurt Schwabe—to discuss the issues facing the sea and explore potential solutions.

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