California is in the midst of an historic drought, now the worst in recorded history. It has not been managed well. Reservoirs are drying up. Crops are wilting in the fields. For the first time ever, towns and cities will face a mandatory 25 percent cut in their water use. Even those holding the oldest rights are facing cutbacks. That is the short-term problem. But there is a long-term problem faced by California and much of the rest of the world –- how to manage a complex water system that is increasingly under pressure.
Designed piecemeal over the last century, going back to a time when Los Angeles had one-sixth its current population, California's system for managing water doesn't just make it tough to deal with shortages — in some ways, it encourages inefficiencies and waste. But even if one were free to design a new system, achieving sensible ground water management would be a complex undertaking due to a variety of reasons: the current over prescription of use, interaction between surface and ground water, variability of climate, need for an extensive monitoring and enforcement system, ownership views of overlying users, the amount of cooperation needed on regional scales, etc.
How should one design and implement a new system for water management? This is partly a climate issue, partly an engineering issue, partly an economic issue, and partly a political issue. It requires co-ordination across a number of disciplines.
Please note that this is an invitation-only workshop.