Drought Is Not Over
By JOHN M. DERBY
May 4, 2017
we hear “The drought is over,” we know down
deep it is not over. We have just received a reprieve.
Clearly, California does not have enough water for the people
and the products it grows. Something has to give.
We can’t continue to increase the number of people,
and keep our agriculture at the level it is now, unless
we increase water conservation and water storage.
Cutting the number of people is out of the question, and
if California cuts its agricultural production it will have
Every year the state budget gets tighter — more money
for roads, more money for schools and education, more money
for utilities. Where will it end?
Actually the electorate has voted to spend more money on
water projects, but this money fails to solve the problem
because state politicians earmark that money for many other
things besides water conservations and storage.
Water conservation and storage, however, are the solution,
if taken seriously. We still act as if this is an oasis,
with an unending supply of water. We insist on planting
more lawns when we live in a semi-dessert. We should be
planting cactus along with xeriscape yards.
Storage has become a joke. It would cost the state next
to nothing to raise the level of the storage dams just 10
feet, but no one has the guts to do it.
There seems to be some excuse for not spending the money
which the voters have approved, on water storage capacity.
As a result the politicians look at agriculture to take
the hit. We have seen zero water allocations in the past,
and they will be back again if nothing is done. Add to the
zero allocations the increase in demand from the State Water
Board on the amount of water coming from California’s
If California’s ground water was a solution; that
would make a difference, however, the underground reserves
have been drained and in some case can't be replaced, even
in record years like this when there has been an abundant
amount of rain.
So, be careful when you say “the drought is over.”
It gives people the feeling that we will not see drought
for several years. The drought could come back next year
and most certainly the next few years.
Drought is the new norm in California.
The rainfall we had this year is unique, and we can't depend
on it. The drought is far from being over.