On April 7th I wrote an article regarding the California drought explaining that the conditions they are now faced could have been dealt with, with a little innovation and a lot less wacky environmentalism.
The left-leaning journal The Economist even advances the fact that “Other places have dealt with drought better than California. Israel, for example, has built large desalination plants that helped the country, which is 60% desert, cope with a seven-year drought between 2004 and 2010 and the driest winter on record in 2013-14.
In California, desalination is harder because electricity is costly, thanks to a renewable-energy program. And green rules make building anything slow. A company called Poseidon will this year complete a $1 billion desalination facility to increase San Diego’s water supply by 7%, but only after six years of permitting and litigation. Many other desalination projects around the state have stalled or simply been abandoned.” The Greenies strike again!
So now battle lines have been drawn over who gets water. Governor Moonbeam is busy putting restrictions on cities and towns but has left the farming communities virtually alone, reports conclude.
“Mr. Brown put his foot on urban hosepipes while letting farmers carry on merrily wasting water, for which they pay far less than urbanites. Agriculture sucks up about 80% of the state’s water (excluding the half that is reserved for environmental uses),” the Economist adds.
And The Economist is not alone in its reporting that 80% of the water in California is used, and some would say abused by the states Agri-business. On April 3rd, the Washington Post headline read: “Agriculture is 80 percent of water use in California. Why aren’t farmers being forced to cut back?” There are many other such headlines across the internet.
But wait – did you catch that little parenthetical tidbit The Economist tossed out? You mean: “(excluding the half that is reserved for environmental uses).” Yes, that little fun fact that no one is discussing.
Here are the facts: 50% of all the fresh water in California is set aside for environmental causes. Agriculture consumes 80% of what is left, or 40% of the total. It’s not so damning when the real facts are known. Half of all the water is not allowed to be utilized to benefit people or agriculture.
Now that’s not to say that some of the uses aren’t legitimate. To some extent the water must be allowed to keep flowing through streams and watersheds to maintain ecosystems, keep the fish alive, preserve water quality, and so on. But it certainly isn’t all legit. Not by a long shot.
Stephen Moore at IBD found just one instance where enviro-weenies at both the state and federal level are wreaking havoc on many cities and towns. He writes that “the State Water Resources Control Board and a federal court order require the state to release local water from reservoirs in order to save fish downstream.”
“Some 30,000 acres of desperately needed water at $750 per acre-foot has been ordered to be released into the San Joaquin River Delta to save as few as nine fish,” a new report by the Lake Tulloch Alliance states.
“Think about this insanity,” says enraged Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents the drought-stricken area. “Gov. (Jerry) Brown is going to charge people a $500 fine for watering their lawns with a few gallons of water while our government policies are wasting millions of gallons of water thanks to these environmental policies. We have let a radical fringe regulate water policy in this state for years, and now the drought is making the costs fully evident. Since the construction of the New Melones Dam in 1978, not one major new reservoir with more than a million acre-feet of water has been built. In other words, the state has increased water storage by 4% while the population has grown by 70%.”
“McClintock thinks this has been a teachable moment for many Californians who are now seeing the repercussions of environmental policies run amok.”
I don’t. I personally don’t think the residents of California will learn a thing from the failed policies they’ve promoted for all these years. Assuming the state pulls out of this, they’ll go right back to voting for the same fools who have run the state into the parched ground.
It would be nice to admit I was wrong, but I doubt I’ll have to.