Loux_paper_on_water_supply - WATER SUPPLY AND URBAN GROWTH...

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W ATER S UPPLY AND U RBAN G ROWTH IN C ALIFORNIA : F ORGING N EW I NSTITUTIONAL L INKAGES OR B USINESS AS U SUAL ? Jeff Loux Director of Land Use and Natural Resources, University of California, Davis Extension Adjunct Faculty, UC Davis Landscape Architecture Program [email protected] ; 530-757-8577 O CTOBER 2004 I. Introduction Water supply and urban growth have always been linked in California. Where accessible and reliable water can be secured, urban growth has not been far behind, or in some cases, leading the way. However, it is only in the past decade that the issue has come to the forefront on a Statewide basis and become part of the land use process for many local communities. (1) And, it is only in the past four years that the State has decided as a matter of law that cities and counties need to demonstrate a long-term, reliable source of water prior to approving land development projects and plans. This paper explores the relationships between urban growth decisions and water supply in California; looking specifically at how the recent statutory changes may affect institutional arrangements and planning practice. The paper begins by explaining the water supply and demand picture in the State to set the context for why this issue is so critical. The paper then explores why water supply and urban growth decisions have been disconnected for so long. In doing so, some basic background information on the complexities of California water supply is necessary. The paper then examines the recent trend elevating the issue of water supply and urban growth, and specifically, recent changes in State law that now require a linkage between water reliability and some types of development (Senate Bills 221 and 610 passed in year 2001 and related court cases and statutes). The paper then suggests what institutional changes and planning practices one might expect as a result of this trend, and what actually has transpired “on the ground.” The paper concludes with established and emerging tools that land use planners and water planners might take advantage of to better link land use planning and decisions with water resource availability. II. Urban Water Supply and Demand in California Allocation of water supplies is one of the most significant issues facing California and the west; and all data and projections suggest that the coming decades will see increased competition, conflict and need for creative solutions to meet water needs. California’s population is nearly 36 million and expected to rise to nearly 50 million by 2025. Although water use efficiency (i.e. conservation) has become a “fine art” in much of the State, aggregate urban water demands are increasing. At the same time, while considerable
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2 agricultural land is being converted to urban use, many farmers are moving toward more water intensive crops such as vineyards and wine production; thus, overall agricultural water use is not declining, and in some areas, actually increasing. Projections suggest that by 2020 in a “normal” (or average) water year, water shortages
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2009 for the course ECI 165 taught by Professor Salon during the Fall '09 term at UC Davis.

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Loux_paper_on_water_supply - WATER SUPPLY AND URBAN GROWTH...

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