You Can’t Always Get What You Want – A Mick Jagger theory of drought management

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“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need,”
– Rolling Stones (1969, Let It Bleed album)

The recent California drought has many lessons for water managers and policy-makers regarding drought management. Perhaps the greatest lesson is on the possibility of economic resilience when water is well managed.

For the last few years, California essentially lost about 33% of its normal water supply due to drought. Yet in spite of often several local impacts, the state overall saw an undetectable loss of jobs and economic production. During this period, agricultural production, about 2% of California’s economy, saw net revenues reduced by 3% along with the loss of 10,000 jobs in the face of leaving over 6,000 acres of irrigable farm land fallow. Yet, high commodity prices and continued shifts to higher valued crops (such as almonds, with more … see more