Dear Editor:

To confront California’s housing crisis also means confronting its water crisis, because fewer homes get built when water supplies tighten.

Yet, California’s Legislature has studiously avoided mention of this state’s megadrought as it approves housing legislation to meet a state goal of 3.5 million more housing units (conservatively, 9 million more people) by 2030. And there has been no debate of whether to prioritize building affordable housing over market-rate units as the pool of available water for construction shrinks.

The unplanned and unregulated dense housing contemplated by Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10 (and particularly SB 9, which does not require development be near transit-oriented development) raises its own equity issues.

Water will likely be purchased from irrigation districts, at the expense of farm jobs and the local economies of already struggling rural agricultural communities.

State legislators need to rethink housing legislation in light of the worsening megadrought.

Rich Campbell


Editor’s note: Rich Campbell’s thoughts first appeared at and were in regard to an earlier piece on the website headlined, “Will Legislature confront housing crisis.” Campbell, a former Pacifica Planning Commissioner, was writing in his personal capacity and not as an EPA representative; his views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the EPA, the federal government or the Golden Gate University School of Law, which he serves as an adjunct professor.

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(3) comments

Jim Larimer

The percentage of California's annual supply of water used in residential interiors is at most 5% and more likely closer to 3%. The locations in California where water shortages were most severe are not where new housing is needed.

California needs housing for people who are already here. They are already using water. Properly housed they will like use even less.

Linking water and housing is the same kind of incorrect and radical argument against vaccination. Yes, some people have allergic reactions to vaccines, that is not a reason to stop using vaccines. Yes, some wells have run dry, that is not a reason to not solve the housing crisis.

California has a housing crisis, it needs a solution and that means more residential development even here on the Coastside.

uffish thought

From another CalMatters writer, Rachel Becker. August 24, 2021:

"As drought worsens, there are few, if any, protections in place for California’s depleted groundwater. The new law gave local agencies at least 26 years — until 2040 — to stop the impacts of over-pumping.

"During the height of the state’s last drought, thousands of Californians in the Central Valley ran out of water as their wells went dry.

"Alarmed, the California Legislature in 2014 enacted a package of new laws that aimed to stop the over-pumping.

"But seven years later, little has changed for Californians relying on drinking water wells: Depletion of their groundwater continues. Pumping is largely unrestricted, and there are few, if any, protections in place. 

"Despite the law, about 2,700 wells across the state are projected to go dry this year, and if the drought continues, 1,000 more next year."

[Wells are drying up all over the state but hey, let's bring in millions more people. ?! ]

Read the full story at

uffish thought

We don't have enough water. So why is Sacramento shoving more housing down and population our throats? Why won't they discuss a maximum population appropriate for our limited resources?

Because to gain more power they must build an insurmountable block of poor, "underserved" voters dependent on their government giveaways, even if it means destroying our natural resources across the board.

Unsurprisingly, our own City Council, one of whom helped write HMB's "slow growth" policy, sits mute on this and every other destructive edict handed down by those power-hungry, pro-growth, open borders, anti-environment, Sacramento fools.

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