If David Coffin is going to keep digging into technical materials, explaining them and pointing out the policy problems, I am going to keep linking to him. Here DroughtMath explains how “Show me the water” laws allow water districts to pretend that imaginary water in Urban Water Management Plans provide actual water for development. That post should be an op-ed in the LA Times.
And then! Brian Devine is bringing rigorous new thought to the California drought, which is great until he applies a little too much rigor to my own arguments. Here he engages my call for a new water rights system and proposes that we develop guiding principles first, instead of jumping to favored outcomes. I kinda agree with that, butcept that I’ve been in processes that do develop criteria or values first. Then, I’ve noticed, they jump to favored outcomes and then check them back against the values. I get it, about making values explicit first, but in actual practice, the step-by-step mechanics of going from values to the end product is real hand-wavy.
The value for a water rights system that Mr. Devine attributes to me is “individual allowances for each person”, which I do favor. My top value for a water rights system is “individually pleasant to live within”. When I hear suggestions for change, my first internal check is ‘would that be more pleasant or less pleasant in day-to-day life?’