The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment collaborated with the Public Policy Institute of California to host a workshop entitled “Water and the California Economy.” The goal of the workshop, held September 23, 2011, was to examine what is known about the linkage between water and the California economy, in the hope of engaging California's business community in issues related to California water resources. While the agricultural community has been actively involved in debates over California water policy, much of the rest of the business community has been only haltingly engaged. All the participants at the workshop agreed that the health of California's water sector is of immense importance to the economy of the states and that the business community should therefore be more involved in policy discussions.
Participants in the workshop identified major water-related issues that should be of concern to California business leaders and also identified areas where there is a need for research into the relationship between water and the state’s economy. Major water challenges that the workshop examined inclded the drainage of the state’s aquifers, threats to Southern California’s water supply and aging infrastructure throughout California’s water system.
In addition to identifying water issues that are of key significance to California's economy, the participants also discussed policy options that could successfully address them and that the business community should support. Such solutions include California's use of water markets. The Public Policy Institute of California will publish a white paper on the findings of the workshop by early next year.
For more information about the workshop, please contact Buzz Thompson.