Can We Engineer Our Way Out of the Drought?


California leaders have framed the response to the drought around water conservation and their new mandates to reduce local water use. But sometimes it seems like everyone in the state has an engineering solution that would mitigate the impact of water cuts, from Governor Jerry Brown’s tunnels to William Shatner’s idea of a water pipeline to Seattle. How can we separate rhetoric from reality when it comes to engineering solutions to water shortages? How much water can we save with drip irrigation, rainwater capture, or toilet-to-tap recycling? How much can we produce with desalination? Celeste Cantú, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, Eric Hoek, UCLA professor and CEO of Water Planet, R. Rhodes Trussell, chairman of Trussell Technologies, Inc., and Madelyn Glickfeld, of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, visit Zócalo to discuss whether engineering provides a way out of the water crisis, or whether that’s just wishful thinking. Learn more at