Governor Jerry Brown today declared a water emergency in California. The move allows the state to garner federal funds and other financial assistance from government sources.
In his announcement in San Francisco, the governor pointed to precipitation levels lower than normal for the state. He blamed the lack of snowfall in central and northern California, leaving reservoirs lower and fire danger higher. Clearly, purported catastrophes loom on the horizon as if California never before had them at all.
As far as the weather is concerned, dry conditions are nothing new despite the current three year drought. Mother Nature has a way of regressing to the mean in balancing to normal precipitation levels in the long term. But long term means nothing when funds from federal sources can cover the cost of additional water sources.
A water emergency allows suppliers to restrict customers’ usage, while charging more for less water and collecting penalties for using more than one’s fair share. The biggest water guzzlers in the state are the pot growers, who are promised “a knock on the door by local officials” if they don’t cut back, according to Mendocino supervisor, Carre Brown, reports the L.A. Times. These are the same officials who ignored pot growers' drainage infringements.
Remember also that water department officials around the state must be paid their unusually high government salaries. Senior management and water department executives pull in more than $217,000 annually. With federal funds flowing in faster than water, a drought in California might mean a windfall for its government people instead of funding large water resources projects such as NEWTAP.
Charging more for less is what California is about. Whatever the weather or levels of its waters, California is more about bringing in money than it is about bringing in natural resources. Serving the basic needs of it citizenry matters less in California than a hill of beans -- or a reservoir full of water.