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Joining E2 is the most effective way to stay informed about cutting-edge environmental issues, leverage your professional network, and use your skills to influence important environmental policy issues.

Join Now E2 is a partner of NRDC
Business Voice for the Environment
June 30, 2010
Thursday, June 14, 2018 (5:30 PM - 8:00 PM Mountain)
EcoSalon read more >

- Advocacy, publications and events
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- Members focus on clean energy and freshwater supply
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- San Francisco EcoSalon on necessity for all users to cooperate
- E2 TeleSalon for June 2010
  Photo id
  Northern California’s June EcoSalon speakers (from left) Ed Osann, Dan Dooley, Zeke Grader and California Assembly Member Jared Huffman (D-Marin), with E2 Co-founder Nicole Lederer. [Click on image for larger version.]
E2 Northern California hosted an EcoSalon, “Farming, Fishing, and the Future of Water in California,” at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco on June 10, focusing on one of the most important and daunting challenges – management of our freshwater resources – faced by California and much of the western U.S.

Pulling together an expert group of speakers for an engaging conversation-style program, the audience heard from three figures who brought the concerns of agriculture, fishing and urban water users to the table. A spirited and honest discussion about the history and current dynamics of California water helped explain why the volatile issue is often portrayed as a tug-of-war between the different camps.

E2 Co-founder Nicole Lederer moderated the group, which included Zeke Grader (Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations), Dan Dooley (Vice President of the Agriculture and Natural Resources division, and Senior Vice President of External Affairs, for the University of California), and Ed Osann (Senior Water Policy Analyst at NRDC). Following the group, California Assembly Member Jared Huffman (D-Marin) summarized the recent passage of a package of water bills and previewed a new bill he is introducing (AB 2063) to help restore salmon populations in California.

Upon arrival, E2 members and guests mingled during a private food and wine reception before taking their seat in the theater, where they were treated to a short film featuring dramatic footage of the recent flows of water into the dry riverbeds of the San Joaquin River. The 2006 settlement of an 18-year lawsuit between the U.S. Department of the Interior, NRDC and the Friant Water Users Authority, concerning the restoration of fish habitat versus supply impacts to long-term contractors receiving water from the Friant Dam, was cited throughout the main program as an example of a successful effort to negotiate and compromise on the hot button issue of water management and allocation between agriculture, fishing and cities.

One overall conclusion as to why the parties ultimately agreed to hash out a settlement after so many years of disagreement, according to Ed Osann, was the shared sense of risk that doing nothing about the issue would be detrimental to all. It was a lot of hard work, pointed out Dan Dooley, by all players to try to understand the complex needs of the other sides and to resist the intimidation of hitting dead ends while attempting different solutions. Zeke Grader agreed that the willingness to listen and put oneself in the other side’s shoes yielded the kinds of breakthroughs necessary to come to resolutions.

The issue of water scarcity will only intensify as populations increase and no new sources of water are available, the speakers explained. The only new water Californians have at their disposal will be the water they don’t use – in other words, water efficiency. As we work toward better management of our water, including setting efficiency improvements in urban areas and instituting best practices for agricultural water use (as the recent set of water bills lays out), we also must address difficult areas such as groundwater regulation and finding more ways for farmers growing the crops most susceptible to water shortages to adapt (“Farmers are at their best when trying to solve a problem,” noted Dan Dooley). Zeke Grader added that saving water isn’t the whole fight, but getting that saved water into the places it is sorely needed to bring back fisheries is equally important. California can be the nation’s great breadbox and fishbox, he said. To do so, all sides need to continue working together to ensure a reliable and adequate water supply for people, farms and fish.

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