If you drink wines from the Napa Valley, savor last year’s crop. You might be waiting a bit for the next one: “Two wildfires north of San Francisco forced thousands of people to flee their homes and prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency on Sunday, continuing a drought-fueled fire season that could be the worst the American West has ever endured.” This is happening in the Napa Valley, you see – which means that the grape harvest is likely to be affected. Or burnt to the ground. Continue reading Latest California wildfire threatens their wine crop.
It’s fascinating to see the duckspeaking on display here…
The drought, now in its fourth year, is by many measures the worst since the state began keeping records of temperature and precipitation in the 1800s. And with a population now close to 39 million and a thirsty, $50 billion agricultural industry, California has been affected more by this drought than by any previous one.
But scientists say that in the more ancient past, California and the Southwest occasionally had even worse droughts — so-called megadroughts — that lasted decades.
…the California Water Resources Board plans to lay out a more detailed water restriction policy. One will include a statewide system where people can report neighbors or business owners who waste water. That system is expected to be up and running in the next few weeks.
The system is ‘online,’ which to me at least says ‘anonymous.’ That means that it also kind of shouts the ‘Get even with your enemies!’ that any self-respecting internal security apparatus needs to function. Which would be bad enough, but the fact that we’re seeing this sort of thing being set up implies how the state government of California plans to handle the drought. Continue reading More on the California Water Waster Fink Squads.
I cannot possibly see how this could end badly. “This” being a “smart meter” that gets installed on suspected “water wasters” (now there’s a phrase that didn’t take long to spring up, huh?) in – for now – Long Beach, California. Once installed, it tracks for illegal water use – I cannot believe that I had to write that phrase in reference to an American state – and if it sees some it then finks out the treacherous kulak to the water department. All of this is done via the ‘cloud,’ because apparently this story is designed to be extra-painful to digital libertarians*. Continue reading Annnnd here we go with California on the prowl for ‘water wasters.’
And it’s going to be brutal:
As state officials announced that lowest-ever snowpack in the Sierra Nevada — the source of nearly a third of California’s fresh water — Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday said mandatory conservation measures would go into effect for the first time in history.
Among other actions, the governor’s executive order will require urban areas to reduce water use by 25 percent.
That’s an important point, by the way. From the executive order:
The State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) shall impose restrictions to achieve a statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water usage through February 28, 2016. These restrictions will require water suppliers to Californias cities and towns to reduce usage as compared to the amount used in 2013. These restrictions should consider the relative per capita water usage of each water suppliers’ Service area, and require that those areas with high per capita use achieve proportionally greater reductions than those with low use. The California Public Utilities Commission is requested to take similar action with respect to investor-owned utilities providing water services.
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.
…REMEMBER WHY YOU LEFT. Because if you don’t, you will probably be pointedly reminded by the native inhabitants of your new states*. And if you have the supreme idiocy to still own a Green Party membership card… SHRED** IT BEFORE YOU LEAVE CALIFORNIA. Better safe than sorry, boychik.
Look, the basic problem for California right now is that it hasn’t rained enough for the last few years. It’d still wouldn’t have rained enough if the state had been run on free-market libertarian principles for that time, either. But let’s not pretend that government can’t ever make things worse:
Property owners have long sought to divert more water from streams and build new wells, but efforts have been slow. Concern about promoting development or taking water from wildlife often got in the way, along with the sheer expense of new construction.
“People will throw a foot valve into a stream rather than fix a well,” said Steve Simms, a lifetime San Mateo County resident who runs a Pescadero plumbing business and consults on water. “It becomes this whole layer of bureaucracy and costs that they have to deal with.”
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.
(Via Deceiver) There’s the America where Los Angeles is in the middle of an ongoing drought, and is thus subject to strong water restrictions – which are being pushed by its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa (D). Then there’s the America where the mayor of Los Angeles was – illegally – watering his own lawn while everybody else’s was dying. And how does he explain this discrepancy? Heavy sleeping.
“The sprinklers are so loud in your back yard, you can hear them from the street. How could you or your household staff not have heard them?” [NBC4’s Joel] Grover said.
“I sleep very heavily and I couldn’t hear it,” said Villaraigosa, who noted that overall water use at his home has decreased.