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Fact Sheet

Water Use in California’s Environment

By Jeffrey Mount, Caitlin Peterson, Gokce Sencan

What exactly is “environmental water,” and how much water does California’s environment actually use? This explainer sticks to the facts—and dispels a few myths in the process.


Achieving Universal Broadband in California

By Joseph Hayes, Niu Gao, Darriya Starr, Amy Gong Liu

In 2021, California invested over $6 billion to expand broadband infrastructure, address affordability, and promote digital literacy. This report examines barriers to installing broadband in underserved communities and offers recommendations as the state aims to close the digital divide.

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Sites Reservoir’s Novel Approach to Storing Water for the Environment

By Gokce Sencan

The proposed Sites Reservoir would take a novel approach to storing water to benefit freshwater ecosystems when they need it most. We spoke with Jerry Brown, executive director of the Sites Project Authority, to learn more about plans for the reservoir and its ecosystem water budget.

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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.

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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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.

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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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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.


Solar Energy and Groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

By Andrew Ayres, Annabelle Rosser, Ellen Hanak, Alvar Escriva-Bou ...

Hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the San Joaquin Valley in coming decades. At the same time, the state needs to ramp up renewable energy generation to meet climate goals. Could solar development on fallowed land help the valley’s residents? Our new report examines the challenges and opportunities.

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The Environmental Benefits of the Water Storage Investment Program

By Gokce Sencan, Jeffrey Mount

The Water Storage Investment Program is the first attempt use public funds to incentivize new water storage for the environment. While the program has faced some challenges, it could prove to be a useful model for future efforts—with some improvements.

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