The Wall Street Journal

California’s Green Drought
The Wall Street Journal

The liberals who run California have long purported that their green policies are a free (organic) lunch, but the bills are coming due. Lo, Governor Jerry Brown has mandated a 25% statewide reduction in water use. Consider this rationing a surcharge for decades of environmental excess.

Weather is of course the chief source of California’s water woes. During normal years, the state should replenish reservoirs. However, environmental regulations require that about 4.4 million acre-feet of water—enough to sustain 4.4 million families and irrigate one million acres of farmland—be diverted to ecological purposes. Even in dry years, hundreds of thousands of acre feet of runoff are flushed into San Francisco Bay to protect fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

During the last two winters amid the drought, regulators let more than 2.6 million acre-feet out into the bay. The reason: California lacked storage capacity north of the delta, and environmental rules restrict water pumping to reservoirs south. After heavy rains doused northern California this February, the State Water Resources Control Board dissipated tens of thousands of more acre-feet. Every smelt matters.

Increased surface storage would give regulators more latitude to conserve water during heavy storm-flows and would have allowed the state to stockpile larger reserves during the 15 years that preceded the last drought. Yet no major water infrastructure project has been completed in California since the 1960s. Meantime, green groups won’t allow new storage regardless—and perhaps because—of the benefits. California’s Department of Water Resources calculates that the proposed Sites Reservoir, which has been in the planning stages since the 1980s, could provide enough additional water during droughts to sustain seven million Californians for a year.

On savait déjà que la sécheresse en Californie n’était ni exceptionnelle ni causée par le réchauffement climatique, puisqu’on avait prévu que le réchauffement climatique allait faire augmenter les précipitations en Californie. On sait maintenant aussi que les écologistes, avec leurs politiques dogmatiques, ont empiré le problème en empêchant la construction de réservoir pour faire face plus adéquatement aux périodes de sécheresse.