This editorial from the Chico Enterprise Record is pretty much exactly what I would have written if I weren’t so lazy.
Last week, one north state water agency sued to block exports of water to the south, even as several other districts were conducting environmental studies needed to do exactly that.
The lawsuit comes across as greedy in a time of drought: We get all of ours before you get any. It doesn’t seem a good political move in the current environment.
The effort also will seem suspect in the wake of several neighboring studies that would allow them to export water. Districts like Glenn-Colusa on the Sacramento River and Richvale on the Feather are among those laying the groundwork for water sales, although it’s uncertain whether they’ll go forward.
People are going to put one-and-one together, and think Tehama-Colusa is trying to get 100 percent of its contracted water so the 16 water districts it serves can sell it to those farther south.
Perhaps that should be their right, but it just won’t sit well with people who are seeing shortages. And it will give legislators — most of whom come from the dry lands — an easy target at time when they clearly don’t have the vision to actually fix the problem.
I’m not sure what would count as “vision to fix the problem”, unless that is code for “build new dams”. The legislative package shows that they do have a vision of solutions, but they’re boring solutions, like doing a bunch of distributed things like conservation and habitat restoration and setting up a system to evaluate a peripheral canal (but not commit to one!). Maybe boring solutions don’t count as “vision”. I complain about a lack of vision too, but I keep wishing for something a little different. I wish we had a vision of what we want to look like in a few decades (how urban people should live, what we want food production to be like, and what the state of the natural environmentment should be). Then we could start to do things that would move us towards that state. Instead the default always seems to be “um, whatever we’re doing now, I guess. But, like, in the future.”
So long as I am nit-picking, I want to object to a phrase I heard a couple times at the Water Forum on Monday. I heard a couple advocates say (in response to different things): “They are taking away our water!”
No one is taking away your water. The annual run-off of the state is leaving by itself (from climate change). What we’re squabbling over now is who will get less water and get compensated, and who will get less water without compensation. Just saying.