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Aquarium Convenes Forum to Address Water Crisis
Robin Riggs
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This still from the Aquarium's El Niño show debuting November 15 shows the warm water at the surface of the Pacific Ocean during an El Niño year.
NOAA's David McKinney, explorer Sylvia Earle, the Aquarium's Jerry Schubel, Esri's Dawn Wright, and David Gallo of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Esri's Ocean GIS Forum.  | Esri

Conservation

November 25, 2014

Water experts from Southern California and beyond convened at the Aquarium of the Pacific on November 24 to identify new strategies to deal with the water crisis now and meet increased demand in an uncertain future. The Long Beach Water Department asked the Aquarium to convene the forum to share ideas and develop an action plan. Participants included meteorologists, hydrologists, oceanographers, communicators, municipal water department managers, and others.

At a press conference during the forum, Aquarium President and CEO Jerry Schubel, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, California Representative Alan Lowenthal, and Long Beach Water Department General Manager Kevin Wattier spoke to reporters and emphasized their support for new and innovative water conservation measures.

During the forum participants discussed action items necessary to reduce the impacts of a drought and ensure water supply into the future. These included stricter restrictions on outdoor water use such as lawns, highway medians, cemeteries, large commercial landscapes, and golf courses, a new tiered pricing structure for water to reflect high use while protecting those least able to pay, a groundwater inventory, and a public education program.

Opportunities identified by the forum to improve supply included expanded use of water recycling, stormwater capture, smart meters for consumers, permeable pavement, and certified greywater systems, as well as investment in water infrastructure to eliminate loss. They also emphasized the need to keep all possible contributors “on the table” such as desalination and improving the efficiency of Delta transfers. Participants urged the clean-up and management of groundwater for sustainable use so that surface and groundwater can be managed together in a comprehensive management program. They called for targeted research on high priority issues needed for state water management.

In this video, Schubel and Wattier discuss the forum and the action items recommended by the participants:

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