The Challenges and Opportunities of Water Policy in California

Sep 16, 2008
CSAC Conference Center<br /> 1020 11th Street, 2nd Floor<br /> Sacramento, CA


Dr. Antonio Rossmann
Lecturer, Land-Use Planning & Water Law
University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall

Click here to view the handout.


The debate over water has permeated much of California’s political history, a tradition which continues today in the public debate on water quantity, quality, and access. With a second year of drought facing the Golden State, new environmental and judicial limitations being installed, and a still-increasing population, California’s policy makers need new solutions to govern and improve this scarce resource.

In many places, formerly dependable groundwater is now polluted or depleted.   Exports from the Delta seem to have reached their limit, threatened both by the risk of levee failure and endangered species restrictions.  With the prolonged drought on the Colorado River, and increased demand for its water from growing states such as Nevada and Arizona, that source has also faced limits.  Finally, the observed and projected impacts of climate change on the Sierra snowpack also present California with an equally great threat. These challenges are calling California policy makers into action to redesign the California water system.

To discuss the future of water in California and the current water bond proposals, Dr. Antonio Rossmann will draw upon his research and experience to discuss the setting for this year’s water bond proposals including: proposals and counter-proposals for infrastructure bonds originating in the Legislature, the Feinstein-Schwarzenegger proposals, and the Delta Vision Task Force effort.  Reviewing these initiatives and the state’s experience with the Peripheral Canal a quarter century ago, Dr. Rossmann will provide his assessment of needed ingredients to advance effective solutions.

Dr. Rossmann is the lecturer on water resources and land use law at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, and also remains involved in the state’s major water disputes  as founding partner of his San Francisco-based law firm.  He was the first public advisor to the California Energy Commission, the first executive director of the National Center for Preservation Law, and he has served as chair of the California State Bar Committee on the Environment.

During this seminar Dr. Rossmann will address these questions:

1.      How did California’s water system get to this point? What are the contributing causes, and their effects?

2.      What are the merits of the water bond proposals currently on the board?

3.      What innovative and not-so-innovative solutions can be applied to improve our water resource management? 

If you have any questions about this program please contact Kathleen O'Hearn at or at (703) 993-8426.  Please register by emailing