Wouldn’t it just be cheaper and easier to consume less water?

Yes. For all the high-tech ways to fortify and expand our supply, the easiest, cheapest and potentially most effective solution is to use less water to begin with.

The Pacific Institute, a think tank in Oakland, says that conservation could cut California’s water use in half. 

In fact, conservation has already helped. In Southern California, total urban demand — residences, businesses, institutions and parks — exceeded 200 gallons per person per day in the early 1990s. In 2020 it was about 130 gallons per person per day. That means a population that has grown by several million people has reduced water use by more than a third.