For public agencies, the drought has highlighted how unprepared the region is for growing pressures from population growth and from climate change, which has already been implicated in worsening the severity of the drought.
"We have a long way to go," Lassiter says. "But we can make substantial changes. We can even persuade home owners to give up their lawns, which are English imports and not really appropriate to a semi-arid climate like California."
As the state thirstily sucks groundwater from underground aquifers, especially to keep its massive agriculture industry operational, the people up above are feeling the ramifications and are beginning to crack -- literally -- under the pressure.
California voters have approved Proposition 1 -- the 2014 California Water Bond. The ultimate value and effectiveness of the bond will depend on how it is implemented and how the funds are spent. Here are some key issues to watch, things to understand about the new water bond, and recommendations:
Fracking companies claim that drilling, when done properly, is no threat to drinking water. But in late 2011, the EPA said fluids used to drill for natural gas most likely polluted an aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming.
While the relative merits of several important water plans are being actively written and debated, it is abundantly clear that the key to making any of them a success is that we must change the way we view water in California.
The problem in California isn't environmental safeguards. It isn't a dearth of storage capacity. It's a lack of rain. Sacrificing the Bay-Delta ecosystem and building more canals and reservoirs won't usher in the rain clouds or create more water.
If we don't start managing our groundwater, we will be trying to fill a tub with a hole in it. All of our other actions and investments won't fix the problem. We need to do more than hope for more rain.
ExxonMobil must pay $2.329 million in a settlement, announced by Louisiana's Dept. of Environmental Quality last August and finalized early this month, to address violations from 2008 into 2013 at its greater Baton Rouge facilities.
The global water crisis is real. It poses significant, quantifiable threats to all aspects of business. Clearly, the private sector needs the best information currently available for sound planning and for sustainable operations and management.
Can we improve our reuse of water? Can we enhance our wastewater treatment to produce water fit for beneficial purposes? More water quality testing, better wastewater treatment and acknowledgement of this recycling is needed.