According to a new report released June 10 by the Pacific Institute and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), California could save up to 17.3 million cubic meters of untapped water. According to the issue brief, “The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply,” this is more than the amount of water used in all of California’s cities in 1 year. The brief explores the significant potential contributions achievable through aggressive statewide water-saving practices, water reuse, and stormwater capture.
According to the brief, the state suffers from a growing water deficit in excess of 7.4 billion cubic meters. On average, the state diverts approximately 6.2 billion cubic meters per year above and beyond what the Sacramento-San Joaquin watershed can sustain from its estuary. The state also overdrafts groundwater by at least 1.2 billion and as much as 2.5 billion cubic meters annually. The water deficit is even higher during a drought. Excessive water diversions from the state’s drying rivers and chronic groundwater overdraft have, in turn, led to shortages for some users, degraded ecosystems, and compromised water quality. However, through 21st century water supply solutions, such as such as drip irrigation and precise irrigation scheduling, California could provide enough water to serve 20 cities the size of Los Angeles, every year. Read more.