In the biblical story, Joseph tells Pharaoh that he should store up grain and other supplies during times of plenty so that when the inevitable lean times come, the people can draw on the state reserves.
That’s just common sense, and sensible people who have the ability to do so have always saved during the good times for a rainy day.
In the case of California, a “rainy day” is a dry year, and they occur pretty regularly.
So you’d think that the leaders of what is naturally an arid state would make preparations for saving water during years of high precipitation.
But the state’s water storage system leaves a lot to be desired, with many reservoirs across the state lying unused so that even when it rains heavily, most of the rainfall simply goes back into the ocean.
In recent years, the state’s share of Colorado River water has also declined under legal agreements, and California’s leadership has made no efforts to replace it.
Further exacerbating the state’s situation is that years ago, a judge shut off most of the water to the San Joaquin Valley, which was one of the richest agricultural areas anywhere, to “save” the so-called Delta smelt. Not only is there no real evidence that sending water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta south presented any danger to the fish, but the smelt is not even native, having been transplanted somehow, probably by fishermen who dropped some live bait.
Just as with the Colorado River water, the state’s Legislature and governor have done nothing to replace the lost agricultural water.
So now the valley is bone-dry, and what used to be miles upon miles of crops and ranches is now dust, devastating the state’s economy and driving up food prices throughout the West and elsewhere.
The state hasn’t really had its rainy season, which is generally mid-January through March, but all signs are that rainfall will be low again in 2014.
In a state run by common sense, some preparations would have been made long ago for such an eventuality, but you get the impression from the panicked condition of state officials that they just realized the state is in trouble.
Not only is there a sudden water “emergency,” seemingly out of the blue, but the state is cutting deliveries from the State Water Project to zero in 2014 if things don’t change.
Also, agencies and organizations with water rights in the Sacramento Valley will have their deliveries cut by 50 percent.
“Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin.
Sounding a bit like Jimmy Carter telling America to put on a sweater to solve the 1970s Energy Crisis, “Governor Moonbeam” Jerry Brown in recent days has been offering his solution to the water shortage: don’t flush unless you have to.
It’s a classic bit of liberal planning. President Obama tried, in the State of the Union address, to blame the drought on global warming, but it’s mostly caused by bad government policy. Where any sane leadership would have refurbished the state’s unused reservoirs and created new ones to store water in rainy years, California’s liberal leadership for years has sat on its prodigious butt and done nothing.
Californians are being told not to flush, but we really need to pull the handle on the state’s so-called leaders.