With the state facing its fourth consecutive year of drought, and an $11 billion water bond recently approved for the November ballot, the perennial debate over water policy issues will likely ratchet up in 2010. A recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California attempts to refocus the discussion by analyzing the “myths” about how the system works and the possible options for improvement.
Aside from their rhetorical value for certain stakeholders, the persistence of these myths can be attributed to the lack of rigorous scientific and technical information in the public policy debate over water issues. By examining the “myth,” the “reality,” and “how the myth drives debate,” the authors deconstruct the status quo and reframe the policy issues with hard evidence.
The LAO has produced a quick and graphic overview of water in California to aid policymakers and citizens in grappling with the coming challenges to the state’s vital water delivery system. Sections with copious charts and tables cover governance, supply and demand, finance, and issues for legislative consideration.
[Public Policy Institute of California]
A suite of reports from the Public Policy Institute of California looks at preparations for climate change at state and local levels. Some institutions, such as water agencies and electrical utilities, have already begun planning for change. But other areas have yet to prepare effectively for the challenges of a changing California.
After a 20-month planning process, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force has adopted its Delta Vision Strategic Plan. The plan seeks to ensure long-term sustainable management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, balancing the need for a reliable water supply for California, and protection for the Delta’s environmental resources.
A new report from UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics opens with an epigraph by Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” The report details costs associated with climate change and response options in seven areas: water; energy; transportation; tourism and recreation; real estate; agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; and public health.
With the recent passage of Proposition 1A clearing the way for the construction of a high-speed rail line linking San Francisco and Los Angeles , a report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute explores quality-of-life benefits to Bay Area residents in four categories: business and job creation; mobility; urban development; and climate change.
Just in time for the November 4 election, the Reason Foundation has released a slew of reports on California ballot measures. The bond measures Prop. 1A High Speed Rail, Prop. 3 Children’s Hospitals, Prop. 10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles, and Prop. 12 Veterans’ Bonds, are treated in a single report. Prop 1A, Prop. 5 on Nonviolent Offenders, and Prop. 11 on Redistricting are covered more thoroughly in separate studies. For another perspective on the redistricting initiative, see the report from the Center for Governmental Studies. If after reading these you’re still undecided, check out the abundant resources on the ballot measures compiled by the Institute of Governmental Studies Library at Election 2008 Hot Topics.
Does the economy look greener on the other side of innovation? Three reports examine the dynamics of policy and resources. The Innovation Driven Economic Development Model is based on the new realities of globalization and the changing nature of the innovation process. Energy Efficiency, Innovation, and Job Creation in California looks at the long term impact of energy efficiency on economic growth. And the San Francisco Urban Planning and Research Association zooms in on local economic greening in Building San Francisco’s Cleantech Economy: Analysis and Strategy Options.
A recent Public Policy Institute of California survey notes a 10% increase (51-45%) in support of offshore drilling since July 2007. An overwhelming majority of Californians also continue to support efforts on the part of state policymakers to broadly target global warming, including reducing auto emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, and including implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. However, a majority of Republicans polled (57%) believe that implementation should wait until the budget situation is resolved or until the state’s economic condition improves.
A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California re-emphasizes the point (made in previous PPIC reports, as well as reports from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force) that the systems that currently hold the Delta ecosystem together are “unstable and headed for major change.” The report makes several recommendations to improve the Delta, including building a peripheral canal, a proposal that is sure to be controversial, given the 63-37% defeat of a ballot measure in June 1982 that proposed a similar solution. (PPIC has an interactive map that displays county voting patterns on Proposition 9, showing the significant disparity between voting patterns in most of the counties of southern California, together with Kern County, and the rest of the state.)