California used to feed the world. Now it feeds politicians and their cronies.
It’s going to have to get worse before it gets better and sometimes I think the place just needs to implode and be built from the ground up by adults.
Nobody has ever accused Californians of being very smart. They’ve been whining about “the drought” for at least two years and now they’re dumping water.
And where are they dumping it? Why, they’re dumping it in the ocean. Where else?
It seems that El Niño brought the gift of heavy rains to the drought stricken state. And the downpours have filled the states largest reservoir. Lake Shasta, which serves the agriculture industry in central California, is one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Rather than release water for agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation manages Lake Shasta, decided to release 20,000 ft.³ of water per second beginning 11 days ago. That water goes into the Sacramento River and from there it runs straight into the Pacific Ocean. To my knowledge, the Pacific Ocean hasn’t struggled because of the California drop.
Last year, a group of environmentalists sued state and federal regulators in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, accusing them of giving humans (humans require water???) billions of gallons of water that had been “earmarked for the little Delta smelt” fish and other species basically in the area between the rivers and ocean.
Those actions have brought several species “to the brink of extinction,” the lawsuit says.
California’s drought is largely a man-made crisis. It is caused by a series of policies — some from the past, many that are ongoing — which has prioritized environmental demands above the basic provision of water resources to the public. More than half of the state’s water resources simply flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.
State regulators, alarmed at declining numbers of fish acted in late May to curtail the flow of water from Lake Shasta, hoping to cool the giant reservoir’s waters and prevent another massive die-off of juvenile fish. The move meant less water for farmers and urban Californians downstream.
God forbid we run out of fish in the ocean.
Farmers say they want the fish population to thrive, too. But they argue that salmon and smelt aren’t suffering because too much water is going to agriculture. Rather, the main culprits are habitat problems and predators such as largemouth bass, said Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition.
Throwing more water at fish isn’t doing them any good, Wade said, but it is hurting farmers. He said farmers are particularly upset by the state water board’s decision to curb water releases from Shasta in order to protect the winter-run Chinook.
Such a move, undertaken during planting season, “is devastating to agriculture,” he said. “There’s water in Shasta that farmers throughout California have been depending on. Now the rug has been pulled out from under them.”
How are about the tiny smelt, you ask? Oh, they are fine. The local farmers on the other hand…not so good. The California farmers are still not receiving enough water from the government to manage their crops. But isn’t it nice to see Californians still care more about the tiny smelt than food for themselves,…that the farmers,by the way, won’t be able to grow?
Bottom line: Environmental uses of water, which comprise more than 50 percent of the state’s flows. Farmers, businesses and residents fight over what remains.
California Lakes and reservoirs are continuing to fill but I fully expect that between Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration they will find a way to renew the water. Activists see opportunity in the drought. Their goal is to stop new developments despite California’s growing population, so a lack of water is a useful tool in their arsenal.
After all, there’s an election coming up and Democrats need a crisis. Never let one go to waste..