Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety.
They also said they were cutting releases from large reservoirs in the northern part of the state to preserve supplies in the face of what could be the worst drought in modern California history.
Very important point (same link):
The State Water Resources Control Board announced that it is temporarily dropping requirements for reservoir releases to maintain environmental standards in California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Why this is a big deal:
You have almost certainly never heard of the Delta smelt and, in all honesty, nor should you have. As fish go, it is undistinguished. Inedible, short-lived, and growing to a maximum length of just under three inches, smelt are of interest to nobody much — except, that is, to the implacable foot soldiers of the modern environmental movement, some of whom have recently elevated the smelt’s well-being above all else that has traditionally been considered to be of value. Human beings, the production of food, and the distribution of life-enabling water can all be damned, it seems. All hail the smelt, the most important animal in America.
As a direct result of the overwrought concern that a few well-connected interest groups and their political allies have displayed for a fish — and of a federal Endangered Species Act that is in need of serious revision — hundreds of billions of gallons of water that would in other areas have been sent to parched farmland have been diverted away from the Central Valley and deliberately pushed out under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean, wasted forever, to the raucous applause of Luddites, misanthropes, and their powerful enablers.
The water situation is so bad, in other words, that Moonbeam Brown has decided to cut loose the delta smelt* and let it die. …Because surely that is what is going to happen if there’s no water diverted to save this inedible, useless fish, right? I mean, if it turns out that shutting down the diversion of freshwater to keep the smelt habitat hydrated has no effect on the damned things, then why keep doing it?
…Oh, right, religious fanaticism. Somebody should explain to the Greenies the concept of separation of Church and State.
PS: BY THE WAY (Charles Cooke, again):
I ask about the politics. Does this divide neatly along party lines? “This shouldn’t be a political issue,” Gutierrez tells me, diplomatically. “This is an everyone issue.” Still, there is certainly an opportunity here for California’s moribund Republicans. Polling conducted by El Agua Es de Todos shows that Hispanics are willing to consider anyone who will take the water issue seriously. Currently, Hispanics in the Central Valley swing Democratic by 70 to 30 percent. If the generic Republican made an issue out of the water problem? It would swing to 60–40 Republican.
PPS: Yes, I know that it’s not the fish’s fault.
*To be fair: Charlie Cooke seems to think that Governor Brown kind of hates the delta smelt, too. I am willing to accept that such a thing is at least theoretically possible.