The deep blue Golden State is home to environmentalist extremists who seem to be at war with each other. They advocate for more equitable food distribution policies and healthier diets but at the same time promote policies that may threaten California’s status as the nation’s leading agriculture producer. The issue is water and who gets to use it.
This past winter was one of the wettest on record with successive storms rolling in from the northwest. Yet, we were warned by our climate wizards that the drought wasn’t over. But perhaps it would be for all practical purposes if we were better at managing the abundant water that fell from the sky. Even during the driest of winters, there’s enough snowmelt to provide an adequate supply of water to all users with a little help from the Colorado River and perhaps from sea water distilling plants. California, it has been said, doesn’t have a water supply problem so much as a water storage and distribution problem. The ancient Romans seemed to figure out how to collect, store and distribute water to where it’s needed and the naval fleet operates on distilled sea water so one might think that Sacramento could figure it out by now.
Most of the winter storm precipitation is flushed out to sea for the benefit of the delta smelt and other endangered species by diluting the nutrient pollution in the San Francisco Bay area instead of being collected and diverted to the cities and to Central Valley farmers who may soon also become an endangered species if their fields continue to lie fallow for lack of water.
Who, you might ask, makes these decisions? Apparently, California’s powerful environmental warriors who seem to have a thing for endangered species like the aforementioned smelt and the fairy shrimp, neither of which you will see on the menus of your favorite sea food restaurant or, indeed ever see at all. Nor are they, as far as I know, favored by sea creatures farther up on the food chain or used as bait. The real question that should be asked is “Why are these people given such power and why do the taxpayers tolerate the decisions they make that result in endangered species taking precedence over humans?”
Approximately 150 to 200 plant and animal species become extinct, on average, every day. You probably never notice. And since these are computer-generated estimates, the experts probably don’t know for certain, either. People still, nevertheless, manage to survive and even prosper. Not one endangered species has ever caused mass extinction, not even the dinosaurs. Extinction, it would appear, is a fact of life like death and taxes. Californian environmentalists, however, seem determined to save several of their favorites like the delta smelt and the fairy shrimp even if by doing so they cause the Central Valley farmers to become an endangered specie.
Edward Ring, a senior fellow and co-founder of the California Policy Center, writing in the Wall Street Journal recently, says that the state’s environmental extremists have done all they can to prevent water managers from filling reservoirs and allowing pumps to operate at capacity to fill southbound aqueducts and allow farmers to get their full water allocations. But even if they put the needs of the farmers and cities ahead of endangered critters, there isn’t enough water infrastructure to solve the containment and transportation problem. We all know what it takes to get anything built in California especially if it inconveniences endangered weeds or insects.
The state’s two largest water reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are also the nation’s largest. They are far below capacity in spite of record winter precipitation. Record snowmelt will result in severe flooding in many areas causing billions in damages, including lost homes. Much of this could be avoided if we had the political will to build new reservoirs and expand existing ones and put the needs of human beings first. Doing so would also reduce our dependence upon the dwindling supply available from the Colorado River which must be shared by seven states.
VOL. 113, NO. 20 - May 17, 2023
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