Somehow, we have gotten to the point where there are exactly five things the State allows itself to do. The first four can be proposed aloud. The last goes unspoken. Here they are:
1. Conduct a study/gather data, with no mention of what comes after.
2. Offer money/help/resources.
3. Offer contingent money/help/resources.
4. Dick around with other State agencies. Directing local agencies to do something would be “interfering with local government”, so for the past few years and probably the next decade, our business is to “get out of silos” and “align State government.”
5. Allow the system to fail, but for the love of God, not with State fingerprints on it.
Those are the only options, and here’s what they look like in public.
[Drought Task Force head] Croyle said the state’s drought task force is in an “all hands on deck” mode, working with state, local and federal agencies to get out the conservation message to the general public and prepare for potentially far worse conditions later in the year.
He said agencies need to shift into a “mutual aid” environment to work together to address the crisis.
“This has got to be team ball…all of us at all levels of government working together,” said Croyle.
Option 4. I can practically see him interlacing his fingers now, to illustrate our aligned State selves.
Croyle added that state officials are already dialoguing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about addressing emergency situations should they arise
Among the possiiblitieis being discussed are mobile desalination plants, temporary water pipelines to move water where it is needed and the trucking of water to some communities.
Option 2, state funded assistance.
That’s all that’s from ACWA’s good summary of yesterday’s panel at the Delta Stewardship Council meeting, so let’s go to the drought proclamation and try those out. (I did that, and it led to a tedious list. Of the twenty items, we had seven studies, five handouts, one handout with requirements and three instances of “State alignment”. My classification didn’t hold up for three (maybe four) of the items.) Basically, if a bigwig state bureaucrat is talking in public, s/he is going to offer something out of those lists. The skilled ones do not go off-list and there’s no use trying to prompt something else, even with direct questions. The taboos against any options that would impose anything on local agencies, or suggest that the situation may have losers, or engage the state in a failure they don’t wish to be involved with are too strong.