Survey Examines Concerns Of California Water Managers

In many parts of the country, population growth has put pressure on local water supplies and forced water agencies and districts to look for...

In many parts of the country, population growth has put pressure on local water supplies and forced water agencies and districts to look for more creative ways to bridge the gap between supply and demand. In California, where population growth is stretching water supplies to the limit, water resources professionals have responded by looking beyond their own boarders, considering alternative sources, and managing demand more aggressively.

As part of its 2006 Water Management Survey, EIP Associates − a water and environmental resources consulting firm based in Sacramento, CA − polled a broad cross-section of individuals responsible for managing and delivering water to residential, commercial and agricultural interests throughout California in an effort to better understand their views on water supply planning and management.

Among other key findings, EIP’s 2006 Water Management Survey determined that:

Respondents rely heavily on imported water. While local water supplies − either from surface or groundwater resources − still account for most of respondents’ current water supplies, a significant percentage is coming from outside sources. According to survey results, imported water − either from water supply contracts or water transfers − accounts for more than one third (36%) of respondents’ total current water supply. By comparison, respondents indicate that local groundwater and surface water each account for roughly one quarter (27% and 29%, respectively) of current water supplies.

Water providers are looking at alternative sources. As surface and groundwater become more scarce, California water suppliers are starting to look at non-traditional sources of water to satisfy demand. Most notably, survey respondents indicate that the use of recycled water is expected to nearly double over the next 20 years. According to survey results, recycled water − which currently only accounts for a small percentage of current water supplies − is projected to account for nearly one tenth of respondents’ total water supplies by the year 2025.

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