California drought’s biggest lesson? Build more water storage
Build more water storage.
The winter’s welcome wet spell has brought at least an unofficial end to California’s drought.
But has the rain washed away the most obvious lesson of the Golden State’s dry weather?
California was once a world leader on this front, building 10 massive reservoirs from 1927 to 1979.
Since then the Golden State has added 15 million residents while building no new reservoirs — and its leaders don’t even appear interested in trying.
Senate President Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is crafting a bond measure that could go before voters in 2018 that in its latest iteration calls for spending $1.5 billion on water projects — but nothing on dams.
State lawmakers are eager to joust with the governor over big new state bonds — but for transportation projects, not water projects.
“If the most straightforward definition of drought is the simple mismatch between the amounts of water nature provides and the amounts of water that humans and the environment demand, California is in a permanent drought,” Gleick wrote recently in Wired magazine.
This big picture should matter more to California’s leaders than it appears to — especially to a governor in legacy-hunting mode.