Drought has influenced policy changes before

Apr 10, 2014 John Stumbos University of California, Davis
Professor Mark Lubell describes weather’s role in building support for water projects.

(from The Central Valley Business Times)

In an interview with the Central Valley Business Times, environmental science and policy professor Mark Lubell describes the current drought as “a focusing event” similar to those in the past that have been used to drum up support for new water projects.

“Definitely in the past in California, droughts and floods have created the impetus for change,” he said.

Southern California’s William Mulholland used the threat of drought to build support for the Owens Valley project that brought Sierra Nevada water to Los Angeles. And drought was part of the argument for the Central Valley Project.

14.04.012cDroughtpolicylubellportrait.jpg
Professor Mark Lubell, UC Davis.
Lubell, who also is the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior, recently posted a blog entry entitled The California Drought is a Political Time Machine. In it he draws parallels between society’s response to the current drought and other droughts:

Now nearly every scientist, commentator, and politician is using drought to make some call for their preferred political change. Regulate groundwater. More storage. Build the twin tunnels. Pass the long-delayed water bond. These cries for change are truly echoes of the 1976–77 drought and other past severe droughts.

(Read the full story or listen to an audio version of Lubell’s interview published March 12, 2014 in the Central Valley Business Times.)

Additional information:
•    Read Mark Lubell’s blog post: The California Drought is a Political Time Machine.

Media contact:
•    Mark Lubell, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis, 530-752-5880,

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, contact:
•    Ann Filmer, Senior Director of Communications, 530-754-6788, [email protected]

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