California must apply its trademark innovation to water
9 Apr 2015
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
By: Judith Rodin
The governor’s order to reduce water use is a first in California history, but it’s not enough in order to build a more resilient future for the state. Resilience is about planning and preparing. As the world’s fifth-largest supplier of food and the world’s eighth-largest economy, California cannot run out of water without global ramifications.
Yet, this moment presents opportunity. There are many examples to learn from. El Paso, Texas, made brackish water potable. In Lima, Peru, engineers capture humidity on billboards and turn it into drinking water. Singapore’s Marina Barrage stores drinking water and offers recreational spaces. Drought-tolerant landscapes and permeable driveways dot Los Angeles communities. As members of the 100 Resilient Cities network, San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland are poised to learn from these cities and others.
But perhaps the most powerful lessons come from those who haven’t been as innovative — and ignored the warning signs. We’ve seen the worst-case scenario — when a major city can’t deliver water — in Sao Paulo.
California must dedicate its trademark innovative thinking to water conservation and drought resilience now — before San Francisco becomes the next Sao Paulo.
Judith Rodin is the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which funds the 100 Resilient Cities.