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Kelly Coplin’s Blog

New California Water Web Tool Asks, Is Your City Planning for the Future?

Kelly Coplin

Posted January 29, 2013 in Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

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Do you know where your drinking water comes from? Beyond “the tap,” the majority of Americans have no idea, let alone the environmental and public health costs associated with delivering their water to their faucet. In California, 78% of residents do not know what the Bay-Delta is, yet this water source provides approximately two-thirds of Californians with some or all of their water supply!

This need for the public to know more about where their water comes from, and the environmental and economic costs associated with California’s water supplies, motivated NRDC’s creation of a new web tool, released today, allowing California residents to explore the water sources that keep their dishes clean, gardens watered and thirsts quenched. Beyond reporting on current supplies, the tool pulls from urban water suppliers’ Urban Water Management Plans, and reports on the supplies that water agencies expect will make up their portfolios in the next 20 years.

Does your water supplier plan to increase reliance on the Bay-Delta and its tributaries? Or does it plan to reduce demand on imperiled rivers in favor of better groundwater management, recycled water use, and efficiency? Visit our website for a snapshot of how your water supplier is planning for the future.

Here's an example graphic from the website for residents served by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power:

los angeles water sources pie charts.png

Now, more than ever, it is critical that the public learn what is coming out of the tap, and what we can do to keep California’s rivers flowing. Our state is at a turning point. Our rivers are tapped out. Diverting more water from fragile freshwater ecosystems will lead to ecosystem collapse and threaten water supply reliability from Santa Clara to San Diego. Luckily, cost-effective solutions exist to ensure enough water for people, a thriving economy, and a healthy environment.

Given the availability of green, clean alternative water supplies, shouldn’t we consider how to better use efficiency, recycling, and green infrastructure to improve our water quality, cut down on energy use, and protect against the impacts of climate change? Alternatively, should we continue to pump more water out of already over-tapped waterways?

Get a snapshot of how your water supplier is planning for the future by entering your zip code into our website. Once you know where your water’s coming from, take action and urge Governor Brown to ensure safe and sufficient water for people and the environment by requiring state agencies and planning processes to prioritize investments in sustainable water sources. California’s infrastructure investments today will impact water management for many years to come. Now is the time to invest in 21st century solutions.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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