05/12/2015 12:53 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Silicon Valley Please Lead Us to Water


An Open Letter to the Honorable Edmund G. Brown; Governor of the State of California.

I will start this letter with an admission; I am no expert on water. I find the complexity of water rights, storage, flows and the like to be extraordinarily difficult to fully comprehend. That said, I do fully grasp the dire nature of the issue and the fact that it is incumbent upon us all to find the best path forward. It is with that spirit that I write these words.

I applaud the conservation efforts being made and agree with the need to mandate water use reductions. I am encouraged with some of the recent dialogue between groups with diverse interests and beliefs as to how and whom water should be allocated and stored. But the math does not support the long-term efficacy of these efforts. This state has not built a significant water storage reservoir in over 35 years. Since that time the population has increased by over 15 million. I do not believe that conservation or a renegotiation of water rights is truly a viable path forward. Further, hope is not a great strategy and waiting for rainfall and snowpack to return to normal levels does not offer me great comfort.

Amongst the incredible riches that this great state possesses, one of the most powerful is that of the minds of its innovators. Roughly 90 miles from the state capital resides the greatest innovators of our generation. In the last 20 years the minds in Silicon Valley have changed the way we communicate, shop, bank, listen to music and conduct business. They have shrunk the world and expanded opportunity. To not engage them in helping to find a long-term solution to this current crisis is frankly just short sighted.

I would encourage you to reach out the leaders of Silicon Valley, ask them to provide some of their best and most creative minds. Sequester them with the instructions to find a solution to the current and future water needs of the state. Place no boundaries on them other than they must do good and not harm. Let them do what they do best; innovate. These are the same minds working now on driverless cars, private space travel and the Hyper-loop high-speed train.

Part of what I do for a living is to facilitate ideation and solution workshops. I will offer my services at no charge in order to assist in moving this forward. I believe it is not the water experts that are likely to find the solution. Rather, it is those that offer Beginner's Mind. Shunryu Suzuki wrote "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few".

Shunryu Suzuki wrote "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few"

2015-05-11-1431361334-8283914-Water.jpgNo other state in the union has the assemblage of brilliance that California finds in the residents of Silicon Valley. Water is as important to them as it is to the agricultural communities of the Central Valley. In my opinion there is no greater threat to the California economy and quality of life than the scarcity of water. I implore you to reach out, seek their assistance and allow us to demonstrate why California is the greatest state in our union.


Elliot G. Begoun
The Intertwine Group

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