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Game Tests California Residents’ Water Knowledge

Photo caption: All American Canal in Imperial County, on November 5, 2009.

Photo credit: Raquel Baranow

All American Canal in Imperial County, on November 5, 2009.

The California Watergame lets residents decide how the state will deal with a looming water shortage.

A new online tool allows Californians to take charge of the state's water future. The California Water Challenge by the non-partisan group Next 10 asks residents to make choices about the state's limited water supply.

The public-policy think tank lets players choose the right mix of more conservation, better irrigation, higher costs and desalination. The idea is to let participants see the impact of water choices as California deals with a looming water shortage.

Each decision carries consequences.

Next 10 founder Noel Perry said the game is designed to engage people on a very important issue. He said it is relevant because California is in the midst of a punishing four-year drought.

"We hope that they're more educated in how water works in California ... to better engage on the issue about water in California. Because there are some very important choices coming up over the next few years," Perry said.

This fall, voters will decide the fate of a $7.5 billion water bond.

Voters will likely also get a chance to consider the fate of a massive tunnel project designed to pipe water from Northern to Southern California.

Informed California residents will be able to make better choices, Perry said.

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