Open Letter: Practice and Preach Water Conservation
SamTrans Launches New Bus Routes and Schedules


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This article could have been written in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s -- well, you get the idea. Same old confusion of terms. For example, "population growth" is not the same as urban water use; and the growth of agribusiness is an aspect of population growth, not a separate issue. The "more storage" advocates are a form of cornucopian. Increasing the amount of storage capacity does not create one additional drop of water. There is already a huge amount of groundwater storage capacity in the major agricultural valleys due to overpumping of groundwater and drawdown of the aquifers there.

Look at the pictures of Folsom "Lake" and other reservoirs making the news, all artificial endeavors depending on amounts of water from at least "normal" wet years, not the driest years to be expected (which are the only rational basis for long-term planning for sustainable water supplies). Does putting a bigger fuel tank on your (old-fashioned) car pump additional gasoline into it? (Well, at least a huge percentage of that gas would not evaporate, as it does from the reservoirs and canals of California.) Just buy water and other stuff from other states and countries? Like they don't have their own shortages? Are we really back to the insanity of suggesting re-jiggering river systems to bring water down from British Columbia?

All the "fixes" in the article would provide short-term benefit to big business and big government, the "corporatocracy," but do nothing for the long-term problem, for sustainability that is the core of water security. In fact, the fixes would move the state farther from water security and reduce the carrying capacity of the state for our collective artificial activities.

Which brings anyone to the most glaring omission in the piece beyond the ignorance of overpopulation: the quality of the environment that provides the water and all that is dependent on the water. The problems and "solutions" discussed have been the same in California for the past 65 years, and some have been around since the days of the Gold Rush. Every river of size and most of the smaller ones flowing into the Central Valley have been dammed, some in several places, damaging their watersheds, wiping out riparian habitat, destroying fisheries, and wasting their water through evaporation from reservoirs, canals, and flood or spray irrigation. Some good-sized rivers have had part of their flow tunneled from their own watersheds to watersheds with more money and political power--the Trinity into the Sacramento and the Eel into the Russian, for examples. This has resulted in negative consequences for both the giving and receiving river systems--water impoverishment for the giver and unsustainable overdevelopment based on the illusion of abundant water for the receiver.

So, all the massive modern water development methods have actually reduced the state's carrying capacity due to environmental degradation, and all the "experts" can come up with is more of the same? Praying for rain would be an equally effective approach. One thing is for certain, and here the article actually slants toward an accurate conclusion, each drop of water from artificial water development henceforth will cost more and more.

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