California Needs Water

California needs to figure out its water shortage problem.  Sure, some of it is drought and there’s no easy fix, but I saw this article which gives a balanced view:

The few take-aways as I see it are that there hasn’t been a large lake been built since 1979 due to:

1) most of the best sites are taken
2) Environmental laws: Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, California Environmental Quality Act made it tougher to get such a project approved
3) California passage of Proposition 13 reduced Calif state tax revenue and federal laws were changed to require states to pay a greater share of local projects that benefited them.
4) Cities and farms improved efficiency – drip irrigation, more efficient toilets and faucets.  LA and San Jose use as much water now as they did 30 years ago.

This November, California will vote on providing bonds to fund more dams to retain the rain which currently runs off into the Pacific. Dam opponents say none of the big projects make economic sense. If the five most often talked-about projects were built, the cost would be $9 billion and the average annual water yield would be only 400,000 acre feet — 1 percent of California’s total annual use — said Ron Stork, with Friends of the River.

I bet Ron “Friends of the River” Stork probably sings a different tune when it comes to climate change.  Even though changes the world can make make will have as minimal an impact as he describes above, I bet he’s one of those crying, “but we have to do something!”  My issue with Friends of the River types is that they feel more strongly about preserving the habitat of a four tongued, three legged frog over the improvement of 14 million people’s lives through reduced water bills.

Bond supporters say that if more water is stored during wet years in new reservoirs, it can provide a cushion during droughts. They cite locally funded efforts like the Contra Costa Water District, which built Los Vaqueros Reservoir in 1997, or the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which built Diamond Valley in 1999 in Riverside County. Both regions do not have rationing now, and cite the stored water as a reason.

What do you think? Protect the rock gnome lichen, the dwarf wedgemussel, the Comal Springs dryopid beetle, and the tiny delta smelt or save rainwater from going into the Pacific Ocean for the future of mankind?

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