California drought pits farmers vs. cities. But neither is the biggest water victim: cities
Water is now the primary factor in California’s water wars. It will be for some time longer. But until the state addresses its water problems, many of its citizens will have to do so without it.
In a recent New York Times op-ed, Michael Brune points out that climate change is not the main reason we have serious water problems in California, which is now in an environmental drought.
He is correct on that score, but that doesn’t make a bad case or a poor solution.
In fact, Brune has made a solid and valuable contribution to our understanding by showing what has been happening to California’s water over the past two years. The state has been in a drought for nine years and is now nearly back in a drought for a second year. That’s a historic drought. A total of 26 months have been above normal precipitation.
The long drought that has affected Californians will have a serious economic toll on the state. Its infrastructure, industries and agriculture all are now suffering. The state has been on the brink of a bankruptcy filing for two years now.
The drought is a national and international embarrassment for the state. It is costing billions of dollars a year and its water supply is at risk.
Climate change and population growth will likely not fix those problems. It’s the economy that will be the problem.
Many believe that the drought is not the result of climate change, but it’s the direct effect of a flawed water management system.
A lot of good has been done. People care enough to make a point about it. It is a very good point.
But the problem isn’t with the drought, it’s with the water.
As Brune pointed out, the water system is at risk. But to understand the problems that are plaguing the state, we need to get a little bit more into the water-management system.
Here are eight things about the water management system in California’s agriculture community that are wrong. They’re wrong in large measure because they were implemented decades ago without an understanding of what water really is. In other words, the water management isn’t working.
1. Drought is part of