“Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.”

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned those words in his 1798 poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” to describe the plight of becalmed sailors who could die of thirst while surrounded by limitless expanses of undrinkable seawater.

In a way, it also describes California’s plight. Despite its 3,427 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, including bays, inlets and tidal marshes, the state has an ever-widening gap between its demand for water and its supply.

CALmatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers.

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