Media Alert: What Can California Learn from Australia’s Biggest Dry?

Interactive Event on California Drought – Lessons Learned from Australia

Join the conversation
How should California respond to its water challenges?
What can it learn from Australia’s ongoing drought?

March 18, 2014

Background and invitation
Direct link to register
Learn more

CALIFORNIA and AUSTRALIA (March 11, 2014) — Circle of Blue, the team of award-winning journalists and researchers reporting on water and worldwide resource issues, today announced a special participatory online event Tuesday, March 18 that will bring together water experts and the public to help California understand and respond to its water challenges.

The question that experts, researchers, students and business leaders will attempt to answer:
• What can California learn from Australia’s Biggest Dry?

The California drought, now in its third year, looks to be a significant test of the capacity of residents, farmers, businesses and governments to ensure the state’s water security.

Participants in the event will look to Australia and how the country managed severe drought, water-stressed cities, and impact on its farmers and farmland. Those who dial in will take part and help sort out the seminal trends that are shaping water’s future, from Los Angeles to Melbourne.

The event follows launch of Circle of Blue’s series, Choke Point Index. The just-published installment explores three critical, water-challenged agricultural regions in the United States.

Circle of Blue will use new convening technology from MaestroConference to create an interactive, radio show-like experience.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
10:00am PT – 12:00pm PT
1:00pm EDT – 3:00pm EDT

Data dashboard
Participants will also have a preview of new data dashboards produced by Circle of Blue with a Qlikview Change Their World grant that allow comparisons of California and Australia water resources.

A global risk
The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2014 ranks “water crises” among the planet’s top three most serious issues. Water scarcity and supply are emerging as serious threats to people, business, the environment and political stability across the world, including the United States.

“By all measurements, our world’s most important resources are at serious risk,” said J. Carl Ganter, managing director of Circle of Blue and member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Water Security. “We face converging choke points that are causing billions of dollars of disruptions and testing human and ecological resilience. Our capacity to respond is in doubt unless we dig deep into the connections and combine the best of reporting, data and participation to understand the scope of the challenges and responses. We need the best thinking and participation to understand and respond to these challenges.”

This is the second in a series of free conference events on the California drought and part of Circle of Blue’s ongoing coverage of the competition between water, food and energy worldwide. In 2013, Circle of Blue reported from Mongolia, China, the Middle East, South America, the United States and Europe, covering issues that range from water pricing to groundwater stress.

Choke Point: Index is produced with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Wege Foundation, Alpern Family Foundation, Brookby Foundation and individual donors. Circle of Blue is a nonprofit affiliate of the Pacific Institute. Collaborators include the Columbia University Water Center, Earth System Science at the University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling, MaestroConference, Qlikview, and others.

The full Choke Point: Index report, and ongoing global coverage, is online at Circle of Blue

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
10:00am PT – 2:00pm PT
1:00pm ET – 3:00pm ET

Background and invitation

Direct link to register


Heather Cooley
Water Program Director
Pacific Institute

Professor Michael Young
Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies, Harvard University
Chair in Water and Environmental Policy, University of Adelaide
Honorary Professor, University College London

Dr. Robert Wilkinson
Director, Water Policy Program
University of California, Santa Barbara

Brian Richter
Chief Scientist of Water Markets
Nature Conservancy

J. Carl Ganter
Managing Director
Circle of Blue
Member, World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Water Security

Keith Schneider
Senior Editor
Circle of Blue

Brett Walton
Circle of Blue

Circle of Blue

Eric Bonach

About Circle of Blue
Circle of Blue uses its teams of leading journalists, photographers, data experts, field researchers, and designers to report from the front lines of the world’s resource crises, with a core focus on water. In 2012, Circle of Blue received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial Innovation Award for its breakthrough, feedback-loop model that combines on-the-ground reporting, data collection, analysis, design, and convening. Circle of Blue’s reportage is referenced widely. Circle of Blue is the 2012 recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Award. For more information, please visit: or follow Circle of Blue on Twitter: @circleofblue

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