A Crosscurrents Special on the drought! How can we save waters as individuals? Does it even matter, considering that agriculture uses about 78% of the state's water? Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick will tell us!
Record low rainfall and lack of snow have made this the driest year in California’s recorded history. Some scientists say it’s the driest in half a millennium. It’s enough to cause Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. Governor Brown has asked all Californians to start using 20 percent less water. We’re not to the stage of rationing, yet - that last happened in San Francisco more than two decades ago, in 1992.
As California faces an extreme drought, water politics are under a microscope now more than ever. Oakland-based Pacific Institute is a leader in research on the impacts of climate change on water. Its director, Peter Gleick, was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his work on water resources.
Even though 38 million Californians cook, clean and bathe with water, the Central Valley is still the largest user by far, taking up 75 percent of the state's water supply. Gleick sat down with KALW's Ben Trefny to decipher the state's water issues.
You may have walked by the beautiful green plants growing outside the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on Polk Street and not thought much about them. But these plants get their nourishment from our waste.
Along the outer perimeter of the building, there are rectangular planters that are irrigated by reused waste water, or ‘black water’. Black water includes toilet water, urinal water, bathroom and sink water.