It *may* be the last year of California as we know it. *May*.

The LA Times is more or less running on the razor’s edge of panic right now: “As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.” The op-ed calls for severe water rationing in California across the board… which means the parts of California that have, up to this moment, not suffered overmuch from the drought.  Victor Davis Hanson, from earlier this year:

Even as a fourth year of drought threatens the state, canal water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park keeps Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area a verdant oasis. This parched coastal mountain range would have depopulated long ago without the infrastructure that an earlier, wiser generation built and that latter-day regulators and environmentalists so casually deprecated. (See “California’s Promethean Past,” Summer 2013.) Gardens and lawns remain green in Palo Alto, San Mateo, Cupertino, and San Francisco, where residents continue to benefit from past investments in huge water transfers from inland mountains to the coast. They will be the last to go dry.

Well, absent sustained rain it looks like they’re going to go dry this year. As VDH notes in that essay, development of water resources have not kept pace with California’s population growth.  It’s important to remember that large portions of California are semi-arid if not outright deserts: its agricultural prowess is the work of some truly heroic civil engineering. Civil engineering that has since been halted, and even reversed in some places; which was not such a problem when there was regular rainfall, but there hasn’t been regular rainfall lately.

The big political question is, of course, Who to blame?  The LA Times kind of wants to blame farmers, but doesn’t really want to come out and say so.  VDH is pretty forthright about blaming Big Green, not least because the hardliners running California’s environmental policy seem almost personally invested in destroying Californian agriculture*. Expect that this issue to come to a head in Californian politics over the next year, particularly if the agricultural sector simply shrivels up and dies this year because the crops have done the same**.

As to the future… I wouldn’t begin to presume when the out-migration from California to start in earnest, although there really is a limit to how long a state can sustain its population when there simply isn’t enough water.  If it does not start raining, it will eventually happen.  And when it does, it behooves the rest of us to gently remind the newcomers among us: remember why you left.  Believe it or not, it actually seems to work…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*You can guess from that where I come down on the issue.

**Accompanied by apocalyptic screaming about global warming climate change chaos, no doubt.

10 thoughts on “It *may* be the last year of California as we know it. *May*.”

  1. I left California in 1977 to be stationed in Texas and never looked back. It was clearly headed toward doom then. I don’t want any of the people out there that ruined, bankrupted and desicated the “Golden State” to save the Delta Smelt, to move here and start the same idiocy all over again. Liberals think they are always on the verge of getting it right “this time,” no matter how many failures they have created in the past. They are too arrogant to ever learn.

  2. I have heard a lot of people claim that Feds are buying up land out west to control water, it sounds scary, but there is a conspiracy theory for everything these days. I don’t want to see CA residents ruin the rest of the country. Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein are bad enough.

  3. Well, there is an easy solution to my eyes. All we have to do is redirect the vast energies the “Real Conservatives(TM)” are using to foment for yet another sterile “Third Party”. If we could get them to extend the Residency requirements for voting in their states to about twenty years, that would prevent another Colorado, yes?

  4. Just noting that California has about 1/3 of the people on welfare in the country, and either a majority or a plurality of the illegal invaders. When California runs out of water, they are going to scatter throughout the country bringing the rest of us down.

    1. The said the same about those displaced by Katrina. The breaking of the machine, and the change of environment, I think we will find most of those people are, in point of fact, people.

      1. May be anecdotal, but I have friends working in the Harris County Sheriffs Dept. [Houston]. Those displaced by Katrina to Texas caused a huge crime wave, and it still is happening. YMMV

        1. I have heard similar complaints from Toledo natives around the time Michigan implemented one welfare reform or another ..
          The majority of people are, in fact, people .. and the normal distribution of crooks, thieves, hustlers, and thugs applies. Always has, always will.
          I will note one positive side effect – many of the gulf coast mardi gras celebrations are now more vibrant for the injection of some proper Nawlins ..

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