This Soapbox is going to be a bit controversial, a bit fantastical, a bit of conspiracy theory, and a bit repugnant to some. So, if you are completely bought into the idea that we can totally trust our government to manage our resources, stop reading this Soapbox right now please!
Here is the usual caveat-I am expressing my own opinions here, and they are not reflective of ECA opinions, nor are they used to guide the ECA in any manner whatsoever. They are simply the musings of John Bly-period.
In the movie Chinatown, circa 1971 or so, the rights to water were so hotly contested, big interests went to extraordinary measures to secure the flow of water to Southern California. Mainly at the expense of farmers. Once the water was “stolen” the farmlands became, essentially, worthless, and big development interests started buying the discounted and dusty (from no water) farms from to put houses there. The scheme was devious, but effective. Lots of subdivisions were created from Palm Springs to Los Angeles.
Fast forward to 2021. Although this may not seem to be directly in the local interest lane of the ECA, I find the story eerily similar.
I started thinking about how fast this “drought crisis” came upon us, when I kind of recalled that our reservoirs were being bragged about as “full to capacity” not too long ago, and now they are at historic lows. Can “climate change” really be THAT impactful? Remember, this is an “opinion piece”, so facts are not a big requirement to make us think-opinion is able to take front stage here!
Water, water everywhere, and then there is none. What the heck?
I have included a link to an op-ed piece from the “Health Impact News” publication, that is highly critical of the California State Water Resources Board and their management of our flows from reservoirs into the ocean. The link is here, and it is an interesting read–California State Water Board is Manufacturing a Drought by Draining Reservoirs into the Ocean (healthimpactnews.com)
I have copied an image from the article that shows California reservoir capacity from June 2019. It is startling to see us go from “full to over full” to nearly catastrophic low levels in our reservoirs in less than 24 months.
Don’t you think? Link
Where did all that stored water go?
I’m guessing an awful lot of it flowed into the ocean.
There has been a political battle over water in California FOREVER. It does not seem contrived to me to imagine that policies hatched in Sacramento can have nefarious and hidden goals.
Man-does this have the makings of a script for Chinatown II or what?
Do you remember when Trump ordered more water be diverted for farmers back in 2020? Becerra and California quickly filed suit against the Feds-here is the link for more info on that suit-California Files Suit Against Trump Administration Over Central Valley Water Diversions – California Globe. I have not had time to find out the outcome or status of the lawsuit, but I am guessing, actions taken by the State Water Control Board regarding flows from reservoirs to the oceans, were not decreased during the court case.
Is it possible that policies in managing flows from reservoirs are either intentionally, or unintentionally, adding to our water problems we are experiencing from a long drought? Is it possible that the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is intentionally, or unintentionally, damaging farmers and their land values? Is there not a “middle ground” that would have cut down the flows from June of 2019 when reservoirs were full to the brim, in order to keep some for a “non-rainy” day?
I know it is complicated, I know it is political. I know there are ramifications from farmers land being denied water rights. Drive down I5 and you see hundreds of acres being cleared of almond and other agricultural land that needs water. And can’t get it. Either from allocations, or from the ground.
I don’t know if any of you know Roman Polanski, and I don’t think Jack Nicholson is too old to star in it, but I hope someone calls Roman and suggests it is time for a sequel. If Polanski decided to make a sequel to Chinatown, maybe we could “STREAM IT”!
That’s all folks!