Category Archives: Restructure California State Water Project

What Will California do if the Initial State Water Project Allocation does not Increase Substantially?

In a move that seemed to surprise many interested parties, the California State Department of Water Resources (DWR) decided on an initial allocation of 5% of maximum deliveries to the 29 water contractors using the State Water Project. The initial allocation, while not unprecedented (the lowest initial allocation, also at 5% came in 2010 after the three year drought between 2007 and 2009) has raised concerns about long-term water supplies, storage, and a host of other issues. While DWR will likely raise the final allocation above 5%, California still faces tough challenges in managing drought conditions and economic growth in the long term. In this piece, I would like to address some of the reactions to the initial allocation and how California can plan for prolonged drought in the future. Continue reading

A Modest Proposal to Restructure California’s State Water Project

Contractors of California’s State Water Project (“SWP”) are negotiating renewal of their SWP contracts that expire in 2037.  Rather than business as usual, California has an once in a generation opportunity to restructure the SWP along economic principles that facilitate better resource utilization, resolve lingering disputes over SWP water supply and transportation, and yield California billions of dollars.  How?  Auction the SWP’s water rights and facilities.  There are many issues to discuss.  Let the dialogue begin. Continue reading