Without Fixing Broken System Californians Could Suffer Permanent Drought
On the heels of yet another storm that brought us within .75 inches of breaking the all-time record wet year, the US Bureau of Reclamation announced 100 percent deliveries for water users south of the delta. Coming so late in the year, this usually joyful news is a bittersweet reminder of how broken California’s water system has become. Reservoirs have been essentially full since January, but with more than 15 federal, state and local agencies having jurisdictions over California water policy, the announcement was delayed until now, long after planting decisions have been made for the season.
We Are Ready to Act
For many long years, new water projects have been debated and delayed that could provide California with the water it needs. All the scientific studies have been done and the projects are ready to go. But the broken system prevents forward movement.
In 2014, voters authorized a water bond to end the delays and get started on water supply and storage projects that can meet our future needs. Two of those projects- Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir will not only help us meet the water supply needs of California, but will help improve ecosystem health as well. Sites Reservoir alone would yield enough water to serve almost 3 million people for a year. Temperance Flat Reservoir would add water for 1 million people or enough to grow 3 billion salads. Both projects would help refill depleted ground water supplies.
The Time to Invest is Now
All Californians want to celebrate the end of the drought and a return to normalcy, but unless we fix our broken water system California’s new normal is promising to be perpetual scarcity, shortage, fear, and doubt. If left unchanged the only thing our broken system will yield is permanent drought for all Californians. The time to invest in our future is now.