They used to call California ocean desalination a disaster. But water crisis brings new look at water sources
In 1961, when John F Kennedy became the first person to set foot on the Moon, a drought in California took the nation by surprise.
Back then, the state was losing a third of its water each year.
In the 1960s, California was the world’s leader in water use, the third largest importer of the stuff and the biggest water consumer in the US.
But in the 1960s it was a bit of an outlier. Today, California is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country.
But then, it was the world’s largest. By 2003, it had become the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, even though it was running the world’s most efficient water use programme at the time.
As the world’s water problems became more severe, a state in the grip of drought became the poster child for the global water crisis.
That’s where California comes in.
The state had the power to make or break any programme being rolled out to solve the crisis.
It was the epicentre of the crisis, the point of no return for the effort to reverse the long-term damage being caused by a huge decline of water and a massive increase in thirst.
Today, California is the poster child for the global water crisis. The state is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country, and it has become a poster-boy for government inaction against the problem
The scale of the disaster facing the state seems incontestable.
In 2006, just before the state set itself a new goal of getting 10 per cent of its water from sustainable sources like groundwater, it had become the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country. And in the five-year period since then, it has