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The PJ Tatler

by
Rick Moran

Bio

February 1, 2014 - 8:30 am

Just how bad is the drought in California? Unless measures are taken to drastically reduce water consumption, there is actually a danger the some towns and cities could run out of drinkable water within 100 days.

To underscore the seriousness of the crisis, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state agency responsible for allocating water — the California Department of Water Resources — will take the unprecedented step of not giving out water this summer from the State Water Project, a system that serves two thirds of the state’s population.

San Francisco Chronicle:

Department Director Mark Cowin said at a news conference that if the dry spell continues, only carryover water from last year will be channeled to the farmers and several towns that get their water from the State Water Project. Those users will have to rely on groundwater, local reservoirs and other supplies.

“Everyone – farmers, fish, people in our cities and towns – will get less water as a result, but these actions will protect us all better in the long run,” Cowin said. “Simply put, there is not enough water to go around, so we need to conserve.”
Threat of running out

The announcement comes after state health officials said 17 communities and water districts are in danger of running out of water within 100 days, including Cloverdale and Healdsburg.

The list is expected to grow.

The snowpack in the Sierra is 12 percent of normal for this time of year, the lowest since the state began keeping snowpack records in 1960. California wildlife officials banned fishing in several rivers to protect salmon and steelhead trout.

California’s other large water management system, the federally run Central Valley Project, is expected to announce allocations in mid-February. The Central Valley Project irrigates more than 3 million acres of farmland, provides drinking water to nearly 2 million people and serves as a critical water source for fish and wildlife.

With its reservoirs also running low, contractors of the federal water system are bracing for low to no allocations. Those federally managed reservoirs included Shasta Reservoir north of Redding, which is at 36 percent of capacity, and Folsom Lake, which is at 17 percent, enabling visitors to see a previously submerged abandoned town from the 19th century.

The State Water Project’s largest reservoir, Lake Oroville in Butte County, is at 36 percent of capacity.

With two-thirds of the wet season having passed, there is little hope that enough rain and snow will fall to lift California out of the crisis.

“The state would have to experience heavy rainfall and snowfall every other day through May to get back to average precipitation levels,” Cowin said.

Bay Area water agency officials said they planned for the worst, but this is “worse than the worst,” said Robert Shaver, assistant general manager for the Alameda County Water District, one of four Bay Area agencies that gets its water supply from the State Water Project.

Some practical water saving tips from the state include flushing your toilet less and avoiding “long solo showers.”

I predict a mini-baby boom about a year from now. Conjugal showers are a fun way to save water.

What isn’t fun is that the most productive farm land in the world is in danger of not getting enough water to grow its crops. Irrigating a desert has been one of the truly miraculous achievements of California farmers (with a lot of help from the Feds). But, as Californians are discovering, a desert is a very dry place and while the drought may be unprecedented, the state’s history only goes back 160 years. How many droughts like this — and worse — have been visited on the land now known as California in the distant past? Too many to count, I’m sure.

That doesn’t help matters today. One hopes that nature gives Californians a break and the rain begins to fall. But that doesn’t seem likely, so the reservoirs will continue to fall and ever more stringent restrictions on water usage will probably become necessary.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
According to a WSJ article earlier in the week, because water providers in SoCal have taken pains in recent years to increase their capacity (desalination, underground storage, etc), they currently do not foresee need to curtail water use in the south. Yet. There has been some recent precipitation in CA, but it has not fallen in areas (northern Sierra) where it'll do much good. As pointed out below, CA has experienced droughts like this in past, and had been on a path towards better water use until the environmental wackos started worrying more about "Gaia" than people.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh don't worry. When the free-standing fire-killed timber burns from one end of the state to the other, nobody will blame the enviro-Nazis that sued to prevent the lumber companies from doing their job. It'll be blamed on GLOBAL WARMING. Droughts! Fires! Gaia is wroth with us! We must INCREASE our carbon trading as a penance...!

What, the rest of the country is freezing its tuchus off? Uh.... NEVERMIND THAT! What, more businesses are shutting down or fleeing? Screw those killer-capitalist red-state bipeds! They don't like it here, they can LEAVE!!!!!111!!1!11!1!! Oh, and to hell with the farmers. They're just another special interest group. What we NEED is DRINKING WATER for our CHILDREN... and to wash the leaves off the sidewalk, and fill our swimming pools.... Desalination plants? What...? No. That sounds like it would damage the beach or something. Try it and WE WILL SUE111!!!!!!1!

This is not satire, any of it. This is what is going to happen -- every word, every jot and tittle. I am Austin-bound before the end of February, and it looks like I'm getting out just in time. My happy pro-commerce gun-friendly state has turned into a wicked, stupid cesspool. I look forward to watching it collapse at a safe remove. Hopefully the free state of Jefferson will arise from the bankrupt ashes.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Non-dryland farmers in West Texas are about to enter Year 3 of no river water allocations, while Eastern New Mexico appears to be out of drought, at least for 2014, following flooding rains at the end of summer that filled reservoirs (though if they get refilled following the initial releases will depend on the March snow melt from the northern part of the state). And you also have environmental factors, in this case involving minnows in the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers, instead of the Delta smelt in California, where X amount of water has to remain in flow in certain areas (both rivers have all but dried up in certain spots, but since the enviros aren't as strong in the mountain West, as long as there are still pools for the minnows, the laws have yet to get draconian).

Drought's a natural cycle of arid areas, including the Central Valley of California. There's not much you can do about that, but government can stop making life miserable for California farmers in non-drought years.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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California dug it's own grave in this regard: 30 years of growth and not a single addition to the water infrastructure. Even a good year of snowfall and water wouldn't save California at this point because there would NOT be enough reservoirs, canals, and infrastructure to handle it all.

In short: in years of plenty they squandered their wealth. The years of famine now set in.

Trouble is: Joseph just jumped the state line for greener pastures after being ridiculed by the voting base. There will be no wise steward to save the Egypt of the west from it's own folly.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
let's get some perspective here, if possible.

world climate 'scientists', supporting carbon taxing initiatives going to 3rd world dictators ($7.5 billion last year alone?), say they can predict climate change for the future (although they really haven't), and yet, they can't get these same helpful scientifical politicians to help the bread basket of the world produce food necessary to all the world's starving populations? primarily due the kenyan and his lapdog e.p.a.?

btw, did you know that obamacare also has laws contained therein specifically designed to harm farmers by requiring extraordinary i.r.s. reporting requirements for anyone doing more than $600 in business w/ farmers. and then we have the halfwit messiah shutting off the water to protect the snail darter turning beautiful farm land into desert, almost overnight. oh, and let's not forget the new dem. death taxes designed to destroy the family farms.

is there any prosperous part of this country (besides government employment) that the world's most admired choom choom rump ranger hasn't tried to destroy?

can't wait to see the thousands of new laws they will foist upon us in the new immigration giveaway. probably have provisions that will need to be interpreted by the u.s.s.c. of the 3rd world kenyan. it really is a great time to add tens of millions to our healthcare clusterfk.

go go destructo obamo. he probably wakes up every morning and first thing tries to figure out what great American enterprise he can destroy that day.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm hoping they get just enough water to keep them from being forced to leave California. At least for now, the enviro-wackos are somewhat contained. Lord help us all if they don't learn cause-and-effect from their policies and start bleeding over into the states that still have folks with common sense.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is worse than it should be thanks to two reasons: not building enough reservoirs to store water in good years, and not pursuing desalination technology. Thanks a lot, environmentalists and our "progressive" state government. And yes, Rick, to answer your speculation, the geologic record shows California and Nevada have in the recent geologic past suffered droughts that have lasted centuries. Fingers crossed this isn't one of them.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
An apt analogy. It reminds me of the story of Joseph of Egypt... except Joseph was never elected to office and as a result jumped California for (what will soon be) greener pastures.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's a good pictorial of the situation:

http://www.wunderground.com/news/stunning-photos-californias-lakes-depleted-extreme-drought-20140123

Maybe that little snail darter will die off peacefully so the farmers can finally get a break once the rains return?

RIP ya little bastard - you caused more farmers more discomfort than your slowly silting up gills perpetrated on you. Its what you deserve for having the audacity to outlive whatever usefulness you may have ever had.

/satire
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
This should not be a problem, last time I checked, Cali was located next a ocean.

SEA WATER REVERSE OSMOSIS
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe they can take the money from those high speed choo choo trains and built those plants? Of course they'll need a couple of nuke plants to power them.

Hmm - I see problems in their future. Not that they don't have enough current problems.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to a WSJ article earlier in the week, because water providers in SoCal have taken pains in recent years to increase their capacity (desalination, underground storage, etc), they currently do not foresee need to curtail water use in the south. Yet. There has been some recent precipitation in CA, but it has not fallen in areas (northern Sierra) where it'll do much good. As pointed out below, CA has experienced droughts like this in past, and had been on a path towards better water use until the environmental wackos started worrying more about "Gaia" than people.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for some perspective, Hong Kong during the 1960's always had tap water rationing, the amount available on "Water Days" varied depending on the Rainy Season. We residents [hotel guests had more] only had a twenty four tap water supply when the cachement areas and reservoirs were overflowing right after a typhoon.

One year [1964?...anyone remember?] we had no typhoons, and our ration was swiftly reduced from x-hours per day, down to x hours per day only on staggered days per week, and for an eighteen-month-straight period we had four hours' supply of tap water....only on every fourth day, meaning for three days straight we had no running water.

As a guideline, we were expected to use eight gallons per day per person for all purposes. We recycled the used washing water into the floor-wiping bucket into the toilet for flushing.

In Kowloon Tong where I had a small flat on Oxford Road, there was a Mainland refugee squatter area not too far away where many, many people shared one or two taps. If the breeze was just right, I'd get a whiff of unwashed bodies.

Gradually the water in our few drums became slightly muddy, and we'd put a spoonful or so of powdered alum in the drums to settle the mud, this caused skin itching among the sensitive.

There were no riots reported, news would've spread like lightning, to the enormous credit of the Chinese and also of the Governing British.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh don't worry. When the free-standing fire-killed timber burns from one end of the state to the other, nobody will blame the enviro-Nazis that sued to prevent the lumber companies from doing their job. It'll be blamed on GLOBAL WARMING. Droughts! Fires! Gaia is wroth with us! We must INCREASE our carbon trading as a penance...!

What, the rest of the country is freezing its tuchus off? Uh.... NEVERMIND THAT! What, more businesses are shutting down or fleeing? Screw those killer-capitalist red-state bipeds! They don't like it here, they can LEAVE!!!!!111!!1!11!1!! Oh, and to hell with the farmers. They're just another special interest group. What we NEED is DRINKING WATER for our CHILDREN... and to wash the leaves off the sidewalk, and fill our swimming pools.... Desalination plants? What...? No. That sounds like it would damage the beach or something. Try it and WE WILL SUE111!!!!!!1!

This is not satire, any of it. This is what is going to happen -- every word, every jot and tittle. I am Austin-bound before the end of February, and it looks like I'm getting out just in time. My happy pro-commerce gun-friendly state has turned into a wicked, stupid cesspool. I look forward to watching it collapse at a safe remove. Hopefully the free state of Jefferson will arise from the bankrupt ashes.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
GTK you're jumping ship. My only question is why you didn't leave sooner.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Glad you're arriving. Gone to Texas in 2005 from SF Bay Area.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." I would follow you to Austin, absent the scorpions.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Been here 8 years. Never seen a scorpion. Nevertheless, I'll take my chances with scorpions over Sacramento prostiticians any day. The former may make you sick, but the latter will drain your life force and then imprison the remains for not paying more taxes.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Non-dryland farmers in West Texas are about to enter Year 3 of no river water allocations, while Eastern New Mexico appears to be out of drought, at least for 2014, following flooding rains at the end of summer that filled reservoirs (though if they get refilled following the initial releases will depend on the March snow melt from the northern part of the state). And you also have environmental factors, in this case involving minnows in the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers, instead of the Delta smelt in California, where X amount of water has to remain in flow in certain areas (both rivers have all but dried up in certain spots, but since the enviros aren't as strong in the mountain West, as long as there are still pools for the minnows, the laws have yet to get draconian).

Drought's a natural cycle of arid areas, including the Central Valley of California. There's not much you can do about that, but government can stop making life miserable for California farmers in non-drought years.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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