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Managing Water

Avoiding Crisis in California

Dorothy Green (Author)


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Water in California is controlled, stored, delivered, and managed within a complex network of interlocking and cooperating districts and agencies. Unraveling and understanding this system is not easy. This book describes how the current system works (or doesn't work) and discusses the issues that face elected officials, water and resource managers, and the general public. Using the Los Angeles area as a microcosm of the state, environmental activist Dorothy Green gathers detailed information on its water systems and applies the lessons learned from this data statewide. A useful primer on watershed and water policy issues, this book provides reasoned, thoughtful, and insightful arguments about sustainability.
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
A Land and Water Overview 4
Climate 6
Our Rivers Today 9

1. Los Angeles Area Water Supplies 14
Local Surface Water: Rivers, Streams, Lakes,
and Reservoirs 14
Groundwater 22
Imported Water 33
Conclusion 50

2. Water Management: Who’s in Charge? 53
Water Suppliers—Wholesale 55
Water Suppliers—Retail 70
Groundwater Management Agencies 82
Wastewater Management Agencies 92
Stormwater Management Agencies 96
Water Quality Regulatory Agencies 100
Associations of Water Agencies 104
Water Management Accountability 105
The CALFED Process 109
Conclusion 111

3. Water Use Efficiency 113
Conservation—Current Practices 114
Reclamation and Reuse 132
Conjunctive Use 151
Watershed Management 155
Ocean Desalination 164
Conclusion 166

4. Drinking Water Quality 170
Drinking Water Regulatory Overview 171
Drinking Water Standards and Monitoring
Requirements 179
Water Treatment Processes 183
Potential Types of Contaminants in Drinking Water
Sources 188
Water Quality Issues, by Source 191
Coordinated Efforts to Clean Up Drinking Water
in the Los Angeles Area 214
Conclusion 216

5. State Policy and the Los Angeles Area 218
Statewide Uncertainties 219
Projected Shortages at Each Aqueduct System 224
Statewide Efficiencies 228
Water Rights, Costs 237
Water Transfers vs. Water Marketing 239
Planning Processes 249
Political Consensus 263
Conclusion 265

Elements of a Sustainable Statewide Water Policy 269
Glossary 273
Native Plant Resources 285
Websites of Interest 287
Suggested Readings 293
Index 297
Dorothy Green is founding president of Heal the Bay and among the founders of the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, of which she is also president emeritus. She has chaired the California Water Policy (POWER) conference for the past 17 years and has helped to found the only non-profit in the state, the California Water Impact Network (, totally devoted to water supply issues.
“Offers much food for thought about the complex world of water management in the Golden State. Provides reasoned, thoughtful and insightful arguments about sustainability.”—Salinas Californian
“Delivers a thorough look at all the intricacies of water politics . . . This is not a book just for Californians but anyone in the US.”—Botanical Rsrch Inst Of Tx, Jbrit
Managing Water is a highly valuable resource manual that guides the reader through the political, regulatory, bureaucratic, and environmental challenges that have created and shaped water use throughout southern California. . . . Green offers a methodical, step-by-step analysis of water institutions, historical milestones in regional water acquisition, environmental challenges, and water treatment solutions to regional problems. This book will be useful for practitioners and concerned citizens in the region who want to familiarize themselves with water issues and to become active in shaping solutions to regional problems.”—California History
"Dorothy Green has produced a tour de force with her wonderfully clear exposition of the evolution of water-management successes and failures in the greater Los Angeles area and much of the state."—Norris Hundley, author of The Great Thirst: Californians and Water—A History

"If you have questions about water management in California, this book holds the answers. Water delivery systems make life possible in California, from natural watersheds and rivers to man-made aqueducts, treatment plants and delivery pipes. Dorothy Green's Managing Water uses the Los Angeles area to tell a statewide story of water supply, drinking water quality and treatment, conservation, recycling, and future planning. How is water kept pure or, when polluted, made clean again? What contaminates lurk in groundwater basins? What agency delivers water to your home? And how are water policy decisions made that effect your future? This is a detailed summary of the complex world of California water management that provides common sense recommendations for the future."—David Carle, author of Introduction to Water in California

"For students of California water, Dorothy Green uses the complexity of water management in the Los Angeles area as the essential classroom. This is required reading and a necessary reference for all who participate in southern California's efforts to manage its most limited and threatened resource."—Jeffrey Mount, University of California, Davis, author of California Rivers and Streams

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