California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” One clear barrier to reaching this target is the sheer number of small water utilities that pose service sustainability and public health risks to their customers.
As drought and population growth place increasing pressure on water supply, the need to save and efficiently manage Southern California's water resources becomes increasingly critical. A single information and communication technology platform could go a long way toward moving water utilities from reactive to proactive maintenance practices.
As the Los Angeles region increases its reliance on groundwater sources to become more resilient in the face of drought and to reduce demand for imported water sources, advances in the information available on groundwater quality and contamination could help community water systems avoid health hazards and better ensure a safe drinking water supply.
With climate change already generating storms, heat waves, and droughts beyond historical norms, local governments need to do more to prepare. A decisionmaking framework developed by RAND allows communities to stress-test ideas, weigh the trade-offs, and plan for a range of possible futures.
A targeted approach could help the federal government address the root causes of infrastructure problems more effectively than a spending initiative that simply spreads money around with the hope that more spending might do some good.
Water professionals can think about building resilience as a process of embracing and managing future uncertainty. Rather than trying to predict which problem to plan for, researchers help planners consider a wide range of potential scenarios.
RAND has opened an office in the San Francisco Bay Area to foster collaboration with the region's leaders and researchers working to solve today's complex problems. Nidhi Kalra, a senior information scientist, is leading the new office.
Water resource agencies around the world are grappling with how to make smart investments to ensure long-term water reliability at a time of unprecedented water stress, growing demands, uncertain climate change, and limited budgets.
South Africa is proving that governments in poor cities can provide water and collect payment without turning off the water spigot. Detroit and Baltimore might consider exploring models like this that have been successfully tested in even more challenging settings.
RAND has established a new Water and Climate Resilience Center to address one of the most significant policy challenges of our time: How do we plan, build, and organize our societal systems to become more resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change?
South Africa’s landfills are reportedly rapidly reaching capacity—as are those in many developing countries. Surveys show that only about 3 percent of urban South Africans sort and recycle their household waste frequently. Until recycling becomes more widespread, the nation will have to keep building landfills.
The massive damage and disruption caused by “Super Storm” Sandy has created a rare moment when New York City, New Jersey and surrounding areas are singularly focused on the infrastructure they need in a changing environment – not just the infrastructure they already have thanks to the vision and investments of past generations.
Policy Researcher David Groves describes RAND's role in helping to develop a plan to guide Louisiana's coastal investments, help its coastal citizens plan for the future, and create a sustainable coast.
Technological development challenges suggest that it is highly unlikely that advanced approaches for producing hydrotreated renewable oils suitable for military applications will constitute an important fraction of the commercial fuel market until well beyond the next decade, writes Keith Crane.
The economic slowdown threatens to put a crimp in ambitious efforts to balance preservation, transportation improvements and development in western Riverside County. It doesn't have to. Actually, it presents an opportunity, writes Lloyd Dixon.