Michael Levitin reports on how some of America’s biggest companies are working to tackle drought conditions that threaten the country’s biggest source of fresh food, and pushing for stronger legislation
In America’s most populous state water stress is not a risk on the distant horizon; it’s a matter of life and death today. US fire authorities have said that the rapid spread of deadly wildfires that have devastated parts of northern California were exacerbated by drought conditions that have afflicted the state for the past six years.
In May 2014, after Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, multinational companies, non-profits and public-sector agencies met in Los Angeles to discuss a long-term response to a water crisis that affects the production of almost half the country’s fruits, nuts and vegetables.
It was a perfect storm to engage businesses in California and make some significant change
That same year, the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (Bicep) network, a coalition of more than 50 companies brought together by the sustainability non-profit Ceres, began working to develop water conservation strategies and influence smart water policy at the state level.
The results were two high-impact, private-public initiatives – the California Water Action Collaborative, or CWAC (pronounced Quack), and the Connect the Drops campaign, which are now...