I’ve read slight variations on this editorial a whole bunch of times, and the dominant theme is that the state government is abdicating responsibility to DO SOMETHING to FIX CALIFORNIA WATER. The State should HAVE A PLAN.
But it’s the Legislature and governor — both past and present — who have failed to meet the growing water needs of the state.
California’s population has doubled since the last major water project was built in the state.
But state lawmakers continue to dodge this issue, fearing that they’ll anger one of the many interest groups involved in the issue.
We believe that agricultural, urban and environmental water needs can be accommodated with a comprehensive water plan. There would have to be compromises by all parties to the water debate.
The State does have a Plan. California’s Dept. of Water Resources puts out a Water Plan every five years, as mandated by the legislature. The new one will be adopted in December, but it has been released in substantial draft already. If you want to know what the state intends to do to fix California’s water, there is no secret involved. That said, I don’t think the authors of that editorial are going to like the upcoming Water Plan.
If the authors of that editorial are long time water watchers, they are probably pining for the good old days of the Water Plan, when it was a straightforward description of how state engineers intended to plumb the state. It was a plan in the sense of a plan drawing. Nowadays, the Water Plan is a plan in the sense of “an approach”, and anyone looking to the state to FIX CALIFORNIA WATER is not going to like this approach.
The theme of the new Water Plan is “integrated regional water management”, and that’s where DWR is putting their time and money. The state thinks “regions” should solve their own problems now, with money handed out from statewide bonds. The state is kicking responsibility for FIXING CALIFORNIA WATER down a level. Further, the Water Plan will not advocate a set of solutions. The Water Plan instead will describe about thirty options that regions could choose to do and leave the selection of options to, well, someone else.
This isn’t wrong or anything. A distributed approach might be a good tactic now that the good big sources of water are already being used. I don’t think it will satisfy anyone who wants the State to FIX WATER. I don’t expect the editorials to change much, or to get what they want either.