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Are Policy Makers Exacerbating Drought Scares? That's What It Looks Like in California

Like much of the West, the state has serious water issues, but Mother Nature is only partly to blame.

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In reality, California's water pressures could help push it toward being a leader in the kind of water-management practices that will be essential in the 21st century. But that will require rethinking water distribution and the balance of power associated with it.

"The real solution," wrote Rachel Olivieri, "reducing and relocating vulnerable population centers, reducing consumer demand, developing local water sustainability and restoring watersheds is simply unthinkable -- and the unthinkable is the only solution."

Tara Lohan is a managing editor at AlterNet.