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The New Normal

Topic: What Price Water? 

Issue: Water is considered a public trust resource and is not priced. However, the conveyance, storage, and other management of water comes at a cost, especially in a time of water crisis. Do we have enough water for all our needs in California? What are some ripening ideas for creating water resiliency in a time of climate change uncertainty? Beginning with a quick overview of how we use water, what for, where, and by whom, we will discuss individual as well as large scale approaches that could be adopted to develop sufficiency in our "new normal" of a water future much different from when our large water systems were built.

Presenters: Alex Hall, Richard Atwater and Molly Peterson in conversation with Paula Daniels.


For context and grounding – and not an absolute prerequisite for your attendance - please click the link below to find a selection of suggested informative topical materials to read and/or watch, generously curated by our expert panel.




suggested background materials



Participants: Click here for Suggested Actions and Further Information 




December 3, 2015



Paula Daniels 

in conversation with 

Alex Hall,

Richard Atwater and

Molly Peterson




Paula Daniels is Executive Director of California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative.  She is the founder and chair emeritus of the LA Food Policy Council, Stanton Fellow (awarded by the Durfee Foundation), and a 2015 Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. In addition to UCLA, her academic appointments have been at Vermont Law School and UC Berkeley, where she held the 2013 Lee Chair in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning.  After a long career as an attorney 

in civil litigation, she served as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner and then Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. She has also been a commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority.  She is an appointee of Governor Brown to the California Water Commission, and served in his Office of Planning and Research as Senior Fellow for Food Systems, Water and Climate.

Richard Atwater is the Executive Director of the Southern California Water Committee.  As Executive Director he has been engaged on all aspects of water policy issues affecting Southern California: the Colorado River, statewide issues like the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and drought action plan, stormwater capture and water use efficiency, water recycling and desalination.  He has pioneered many nationally recognized award-winning water projects.  In 1994 Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt awarded Mr. Atwater the Conservation Service 

Award, the highest citizen award for natural resources management. And he has received from three separate Governors the Economic and Environmental Balance Award (Governors Wilson, Davis and Schwarzenager).  He received his B.S. degree from Stanford University and a Master degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Management from USC.

Alex Hall is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA. Alex Hall's research is focused on reducing uncertainties associated with global climate change and involves a global perspective on earth's climate. The overarching goal of his global climate research is to determine what controls the climate's sensitivity to external forcing. His work also focuses on developing regional earth system models and studying the climate from a regional perspective to lay the groundwork for an understanding of climate change at scales most relevant to people and ecosystems.

Molly Peterson is an award-winning environment correspondent at Southern California Public Radio. Molly has reported, edited, directed programs, and produced stories for NPR and NPR shows including "Day to Day" and KQED's "California Report." She was a contributing producer for Nick Spitzer's weekly music program, "American Routes," and reported for "Living on Earth" in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. Prior to joining KPCC, she produced a nationally-distributed radio documentary about New Orleans called "Finding Solid Ground."

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A former LA Press Club radio journalist of the year, Molly reported on the faulty pumps installed at New Orleans canals after Hurricane Katrina. That project was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award.


Molly worked for NPR American legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg during the Clinton Impeachment.


She studied international politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law. She is an inactive member of the State Bar of California.


Molly was lucky enough to grow up climbing northern California trees and fishing eastern Sierra waters.

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