California’s Self-inflicted Water Woes

California Water Woes
“Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here.” – University of Southern California historian Kevin Starr, regarding California’s current human population. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“For over 10,000 years, people lived in California, but the number of those people were never more than 300,000 or 400,000. Now we are embarked on an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.” – California governor Jerry Brown, in the New York Times article “California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth

So, just what is this “level of comfort” that residents of California strive to attain?

From the Washington Post article “As water runs dry, Californians brace for a new way of life:

PASADENA, Calif. – His lawn was thick, healthy and gorgeous, and Mike Duran was in love. “It was so green. It was so lush,” he said. But the relationship had financial issues. Watering the grass cost about $1,200 every other month in this drought-stricken state.

“The money I was spending for water, I had to make a change,” Duran said. The yard has been an arrangement of sand and cactus for three months now. “Emotionally, it took me a little time to adjust, to say the least,” he said.

When Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told Californians last week that watering grass every day is “going to be a thing of the past” and announced the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history, people in a region full of swimming pools, pretty lawns and flowers bursting in technicolor began to worry that the place would start to look a lot more like Arizona.

“Without water, you can’t live in California,” said Bill Whalen, who works on politics, and the politics of water, at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “It ties into the California psyche.

“They have plush lawns and nice gardens that require lots of water. They have the ocean and Lake Tahoe skiing. You have a nice car. You want it clean. You need water,” said Whalen, who was a speechwriter for former governor Pete Wilson (R).

In a column for City Journal, Victor Davis Hanson writes the following:

We do know two things. First, Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people.

Second, the mandated restrictions will bring home another truth as lawns die, pools empty, and boutique gardens shrivel in the coastal corridor from La Jolla to Berkeley: the very idea of a 20-million-person corridor along the narrow, scenic Pacific Ocean and adjoining foothills is just as unnatural as “big” agriculture’s Westside farming.

The weather, climate, lifestyle, views, and culture of coastal living may all be spectacular, but the arid Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay-area megalopolises must rely on massive water transfers from the Sierra Nevada, Northern California, or out-of-state sources to support their unnatural ecosystems.

If a recently-released study by NASA researchers is correct, then California’s water woes are just beginning.

From the Washington Post: “A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say

The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says.

Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday.

Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of major water shortages and conditions that dry out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California.

“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it,” said Toby R. Ault, an assistant professor in the department of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell, one of the co-authors. “This is a slow-moving natural hazard that humans are used to dealing with and used to managing.”

The abstract of that aforementioned NASA study states, “In the Southwest and Central Plains of Western North America, climate change is expected to increase drought severity in the coming decades. These regions nevertheless experienced extended Medieval-era droughts that were more persistent than any historical event, providing crucial targets in the paleoclimate record for benchmarking the severity of future drought risks.”

Discussion Question: What are plausible political impacts on California if a mega-drought does strike?

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  • jim_m

    I work for a company based in the Bay Area. The majority of the management in the commercial organization have refused to relocate. We just spent two years trying to fill an upper level position because the demand was that it be filled with someone who would be local. We could have gotten a more qualified candidate if we allowed them to work remote and could have filled that position in 2 months.

    California is becoming a crappy place to live. It’s too expensive, too many rules, and run by a bunch of leftist morons. When Governor Moonbeam has become the voice of reason in your state, you should know that you are ruled by idiots.

    To answer the parting question above: California will react to the drought by crushing its economy, banning water use for agriculture and putting thousands of people out of work and causing food prices to escalate across the country. It is only a matter of time before the enviro left overturns Gov. Brown’s executive action which protects agriculture. Already leftists are fomenting about this because “agriculture is only 3% of the state’s economy!” and the elitists in the media don’t care if their food prices soar. They won’t be hurt.

    California wants glamorous and pricey tech jobs, not farms and farmers and people who touch things with their hands for a living.

    • Kaiser Derden

      the farmers should band together and build a desalination plant … scr*w the politicians …

      • jim_m

        LOL. The enviros would never allow a desalination plant because the brine effluent would harm the environment. The environmental movement today is the equivalent of the Luddites of 18th century Britain.

        In fact, there are truly very little differences between the movements as both have opposed economic development and progress. Both have resorted to violence to advance their agendas. Frankly, the enviros should be dealt with in the same manner as the Crown dealt with the Luddites 2 centuries ago.

        • WHO’S THE BUSTER

          There is a proposed plant that would be located North of San Diego, but the cost of water would be three times what is now paid for ground water.

          Of course if there is no ground water that would be irrelevant.

          I am surprised that it is not more economically feasible, but reduced energy costs could make it more viable.

          Nuclear power or the falling natural gas prices could be primary components.

          • jim_m

            Except that the enviros oppose both nuclear power as well as the fracking that gets us the natural gas you speak of. So again this is a fantasy. They cry about the sky falling but oppose every rational method of avoiding the crisis. Fuck ’em. They deserve what they get.

          • WHO’S THE BUSTER

            Ummm…yeah, I am aware of that.

          • jim_m

            Hence my comparison to the Luddites. Enviros oppose the improvement of our living conditions for irrational reasons. what they really want is to roll the clock back on all of mankind by several centuries.

        • magic1114

          The brine could be dumped at sea. I really don’t think you could over-salt the ocean…

  • Kaiser Derden

    NASA is now in the drought forecasting business ? just another scare report from the rent seeking NASA ,,,

    • jim_m

      Better weather forecasting than the building muslim self-esteem business.

  • Tanuki Man

    “Without water, you can’t live in California,” said Bill Whalen

    “Without water” you can’t live ANYWHERE! Fer Goshsakes. That statement may be on the level of Star Trek “without our shields we’ll be defenseless” stupid.

  • That the population has been growing is hardly a surprise to anyone. The fact that government has neglected to plan for the necessary infrastructure for that growth borders on criminality.

  • Vagabond661

    How many illegals live in California? Don’t they use water? Ship them back.

    • Lizzie Borden Oink

      Exactly. . . .along with the Usurper.


      Yeah, that ought to do it.

      Now about picking those crops…

      • jim_m

        Many farm workers are legally here. Characterizing them all as illegals does a great disservice to the 50% that are not. There are programs for legally entering the country as a seasonal laborer.

      • Vagabond661

        Are you saying only illegals pick crops? There are a whole bunch of legal migrant workers who travel with picking season.

      • LiberalNightmare

        Hmmm, wont need many pickers if there aint enough water to grow the crops in the first place.

        But maybe if you keep those snail darters alive they can be trained to vote democrat.

  • Brian Brandt

    “The yard has been an arrangement of sand and cactus for three months
    now. “Emotionally, it took me a little time to adjust, to say the
    least,” he said.”

    This guy needs more important things to worry about. Apparently he’s about to get them.


    I am wondering how the liberals managed to stop the rain, which if you read the comments is of little consequence.

    The drought, which is predicted to last another decade and to also affect many of the states in the Midwest, is, dare I say it, apolitical.

    How will those Red states have managed to “waste” their water?

    Oh well, I live in Michigan and we are willing to sell you water, albeit at a premium (you know, supply and demand).

    Of course the federal government made it clear a few years ago that the water is not really ours, but is the property of all of the United States (which will be of considerable surprise to Canada; there may be a line in the middle of many of the Great Lakes, but if you put a “drain” on your side it may become a point of contention).

    I would propose, however, that we cease allowing Nestle to purchase water for ridiculously low rates as they pump the lakes dry for a somewhat inane product known as bottled water.

  • magic1114

    I saw what was coming a few years ago and decided to act with my feet. Lack of water is just one more reason in a long list of reasons to leave Commiefornia. I didn’t think the term “Basket Case” could apply to a state, but it does…