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Water Efficiency & Conservation

H2O puzzle: Felicia Marcus of the California State Water Resources Control Board

December 3, 2015

Felicia Marcus, the chief water regulator in California as chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said the historic four-year drought in her state has been the "Godzilla of all wake-up calls" about what climate change could mean. That line, spoken at VERGE 2015, resonated.

Californians have had to adjust big time to life with less water, with farmers and farm communities especially feeling the pinch, she noted in this VERGE studio interview. About 500,000 acres of farmland lay fallow in 2015 because of the drought, resulting in loss of jobs for thousands of farm workers and leaving some rural communities with dry faucets.

But the state and its inhabitants also have learned to conserve water and make some wise choices about water use and innovation. Re-use of gray water, rain water catching and desalination are all part of the California experience. This forever-on-the-vanguard state has learned lessons about water conservation it can teach other regions which might face similar experiences as the climate warms.