Report from Los Angeles Business Group Suggests that Southern California Will Meet its Water Needs Through the "Virtual River", Not New Dams and Reservoirs

Yesterday, the Southern California Leadership Council -- a business group that includes AT&T, Bank of America, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the LA Chamber of Commerce, and 4 former governors -- released a draft report identifying how Southern California will meet its water needs.  Rather than relying primarily on new surface storage and conveyance around the Delta, the report endorses water conservation, improved groundwater and stormwater management, water recycling and desalination, and transfers.  It says that "Developing new sources of imported water is a non-starter," and that "Drawing more water from existing sources is another non-starter." 

The organization's press release went even further, stating that "Surface storage in the San Joaquin and Sacramento watersheds offer Southern California little in the way of water reliability and if and when deliverable would be one of most expensive and energy intensive options."

Having grown up in Southern california, it makes me proud to see leaders in the region recognizing that the best water supply alternatives -- what we call the "virtual river" -- protect the environment and are some of the most cost effective ways of meeting our state's water supply needs.  If we invest in these water supply alternatives, and reduce diversions from the Bay-Delta, we can restore salmon and protect the environment while also meeting our water supply needs.  As an added bonus, as this report points out, these sources are likely to be cheaper than building new dams and reservoirs.  

Businesses and environmentalists thinking alike about water supply - now this could bring about a watershed moment in California's water wars.