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Water for Growth: California's New Frontier

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Abstract:

California’s population is expected to add another 14 million people by 2030, reaching a total of 48 million. One of the most serious concerns of policymakers is whether the state will be able to supply the water needed to sustain such a population. Although many large water projects in the past were undertaken with state and federal leadership, most current options are local or regional in scope. The frontline agencies responsible for water supply are the hundreds of municipal utilities serving the state’s residential and commercial customers. In this report, the author examines how well California is faring in meeting the water supply challenges of growth throughout the state and the extent to which local governments are integrating water supply concerns into their land-use planning. The report also evaluates progress in implementing the new “show me the water” laws, SB 610 and SB 221, which require up-front screening of water availability for large development projects.