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‘Gimme Shelter’: In drought, does California have enough water for lots of new homes?

Maria de la Cruz mows the dead lawn of Daniel Tellalian, who is no longer watering his lawn in Los Angeles in July.
Maria de la Cruz mows the dead lawn of Daniel Tellalian, who is no longer watering his lawn in Los Angeles in July.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

Tear up your lawn. Do fewer loads of laundry. Don’t flush the toilet unless you have to.

This is all advice Californians have received in a drought that is forcing water restrictions up and down the state. Yet, at the same time, California leaders are pushing for the construction of millions of new homes to ease the state’s affordability problems.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we discuss the seeming contradiction between the drive for water conservation and new homebuilding. In short, water experts say that there’s enough available for lots of new homes and people if residents’ 60-year-trend of using less continues and accelerates into the future.

Our guest is Ellen Hanak, director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center.

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Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times, and Manuela Tobías, housing reporter for CalMatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcasts.


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