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California water crisis is manmade

By Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO, California — I was walking through downtown Sacramento recently when raindrops started falling. People on the street stopped dead in their tracks, looked up at the sky and began acting giddy. “What’s that?” I asked a man. “I think it’s something called rain,” he responded. Such is the gallows humor in a state that hasn’t seen substantial rainfall in years.

The obvious lack of rain is the seemingly obvious reason for the state’s lack of sufficient water. Water levels in state reservoirs are falling, officials are cracking down on “excess” water use (lawn-watering, etc.), and voters passed a water bond on the 2014 ballot to help fund more storage. The Capitol crowd is obsessed with the water issue, while local planners use the crisis to clamp down on building permits.

State officials say California’s drought is “one of the most severe droughts on record” and they warn that even an El Nino rainy season is unlikely to fix the situation. In fact, nothing seems to fix the situation. Californians have slashed their water use by 31 percent during July — well above the 25-percent reduction targeted by the governor. And there’s still not enough water.

But as this Watchdog series will show, California’s drought is largely a man-made crisis. It is caused by a series of policies — some from the past, many that are ongoing — which has prioritized environmental demands above the basic provision of water resources to the public. More than half of the state’s water resources simply flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

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2 responses to “California water crisis is manmade

  1. p.g.sharrow October 4, 2015 at 11:16 am

    The talking heads are saying that it will take 10 years of normal rain to refill the reservoirs. BS! I have seen this movie before. Last time it took 10 days of heavy rain to fill the drought stricken impoundments, if the rains had of continued 1 more day Sacramento would have been flooded 10 feet deep!
    California is swamp or desert, often in the same year. The central valley is a bathtub with one small outlet and tall mountains on the east side, low mountains on the west that wring the moisture from the west to east weather flow off of the Pacific Ocean. When I was young flooding was a 3 or 4 year happening so the Central Valley project was created to hold back the flood and provide water during the dry times. With the invasion of eastern hordes of Democrats after WWII the body politic of the state changed and the project was halted in mid-stream. Then the Ecoloons gained control and have demanded the state be returned to their idealized version of the “natural” condition. My ancestors tamed this state from it’s natural condition. You would not like California’s inland valleys in their natural state. It was Hell on earth! Even the Indians did not live in the valleys. They lived in the foothills above the periodic flooding and the summer furnace.
    Soon we will have a real flood, then maybe the last 5 giant reservoirs will be built and the valleys dependably irrigated AND water for the cities.
    Brown and friends want the farmers water for the new cities they want to build along the high speed rail line that they want built out in the desert with our tax money. The Ecoloons want the water to flow to the sea from the water project reservoirs so they can play in the clear cool streams of their dreams and not “wasted” by farmers growing food. During droughts of the past, before the water projects, the streams would shrink, and the lower rivers drop into stagnant drains with salt water intrusion to the center of the valley. The Valleys turn into a dust bowl. Great Grandma said she would have to dust or plow the front room in the morning depending on which way the wind blew the previous day! The California Paradise was built by men during the 18 and 1900s right after a once in 200 year flooded the Central Valley 40 feet deep and did not drain out until late summer. We are over due for the next. Several year Droughts are followed by a WET season that balances the books. A 6th generation Californian. 😎

  2. Simon Derricutt October 5, 2015 at 3:45 am

    pg – you noted that the Native Americans didn’t occupy much of this wonderful state. I expect they tried and found that the variations in rainfall were too great to be worthwhile. It’s only usable now because of the technology used to provide water in the dry times and cope with the floods in the wet times.

    We’ve just had a pretty major flood on the French Riviera (Cannes, Nice and especially Antibes) which isn’t actually that unusual. This time, though, there have been fewer natural barriers to the floodwaters coming down from higher ground, so it’s had a major effect with at least 16 killed. Funny thing is that we give certain areas the name “floodplain” and then complain when it floods.

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