How Do You Measure a Year?

Hurricane Katrina's devastation

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee? You might expect the Pacific Institute to pine for the simpler days of the late 1980s as portrayed in the musical Rent, after 2005′s staggering natural disasters, increasingly visible evidence of global warming, and the numerous other problems that threaten a sustainable world. Instead, the independent think tank measured 2005 in groundbreaking analyses, innovative solutions, policy victories, leadership honors, and by exemplifying the notion that adversity breeds ingenuity and opportunity. Read the 2005 Year-In-Review.

Institute has Mixed Emotions for Water Plan Update

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) took a tentative step forward with the release of the California Water Plan Update 2005 on January 31. Unfortunately, while the state’s principal tool for water planning has become more sophisticated in its inclusion of future water-use scenarios, its most efficient scenario greatly underestimates the potential for cost-effective reductions in California’s water use. Using the same model as DWR, the Institute found that Californians can actually cut water use by 20 percent in the next 25 years while satisfying a growing population, maintaining a healthy agricultural sector, and supporting a vibrant economy.
“Update 2005 is a dramatic improvement over previous Water Plans, particularly in acknowledging the risks climate change poses to California’s water resources. Unfortunately, the update fails to pay sufficient attention to potential efficiency improvements – particularly in the agriculture sector – despite evidence showing that conservation is cheaper than developing new water sources,” said Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute. “California’s cities have made good progress in reducing water waste, and more can be done. But it is also time for the agricultural sector to step up and do its share.” Continued

What Would Gandhi Do?

Meena Palaniappan

Throughout January, Meena Palaniappan continued to chronicle her experience conducting water work in Chennai, India. In one entry, she asked a question that may be more relevant than ever to India: "What would Gandhi do?" Palaniappan found answers to that question in tireless optimism, greywater recycling, and the propagation of good ideas.

Other January entries included a Chennai harvest celebration (Pongal) tempered with indoor air pollution warnings, the costs and benefits of toilet counting, and the search for the Holy Grail.



02/04/06. Wastewater Treatment [Royapettah, Chennai, India] As the compendium of Meena Palaniappan’s three month Fulbright research fellowship in Chennai, India, she has organized and will be co-hosting a day-long workshop entitled: Wastewater Treatment: Opportunities for Chennai’s Water Future. The workshop is an exciting confluence of government, business, NGOs, and residents to address a key problem in Chennai and in other Indian cities: the treatment of wastewater and its reuse to meet water needs. During the session "Current State of Affairs in Chennai Wastewater Treatment," Palaniappan will address the existing laws governing wastewater treatment, the potential for wastewater recovery, and compare the costs of wastewater recovery and desalination.

02/04/06. Water System Privatization [San Francisco, Calif.] Gary Wolff will be moderating a panel at the California Water Law Symposium at Hastings Law School: "The Efficacy and Morality of Private Sector Participation in Water Services: Through the Lens of Stockton."

2/16/06. Colorado River Delta [Tucson, Ariz.]  Michael Cohen will participate in a binational NGO meeting to discuss items and issues related to the Colorado River delta, including the Institute’s streamgage paper and the ‘Conservation Before Shortage’ policy proposal.

2/16-2/17/06. California Law and Policy [Berkeley, Calif.] Ian Hart and Amy Baker will attend California and the Future of Environmental Policy, a conference sponsored by the Boalt Hall School of Law and the Goldman School of Public Policy.


Why we oppose plan The Desert Sun, 01/30/06

Water conservation, efficiency conference focus Western Farm Press, 01/10/06

Delta’s health in rapid decline San Jose Mercury News, 01/05/06

Could you spray less water on the lawn? Torrance Daily Breeze, 01/02/06


"To propagate and not patent good ideas—this is what Gandhi would have done."

- Meena Palaniappan, from her recent diary entry


1/30-2/1/06. Goods Movement [Long Beach, Calif.] Six representatives of the Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative attended and presented at the second EPA sponsored Faster Freight Cleaner Air Conference. They highlighted the impacts of the goods movement industry in California on local communities that border sea ports, airports, rail facilities, and freeways.

1/31/06. Salton Sea [Sacramento, Calif.] Michael Cohen participated in the Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee.

1/27/06. Rail MOU [Sacramento, Calif.] Andrea Samulon testified before the California Air Resources Board and urged the board to rescind the Rail Memorandum of Understanding.

1/26/06. Water Conservation [Sacramento, Calif.] Peter Gleick participated in a panel on water conservation and efficiency at the California Irrigation Institute conference.

1/20/06.  Colorado River [Boulder, Colo.] Michael Cohen met with Bureau of Reclamation staff and NGO partners to discuss recent modeling runs for the NGO’s ‘Conservation Before Shortage’ proposal for the Colorado River.

1/17-1/18/06. Salton Sea [Ontario, Calif.] Michael Cohen participated in the Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Habitat and Infrastructure work group meetings.

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