Aug 22 2014
Mother Nature is unpredictable. We may see massive downpours to break the
drought, but the latest El Nino forecasts are looking grim. With only a 65%
probability of a weak El Nino, it appears there will be little water to fill
the reservoirs, and Lake Mead is predicted to fall below the 1075 ft. level,
the point at which mandatory cutbacks occur by law.
There is great backslapping hoopla going on about getting the $7.5 billion
dollar water bond past the legislature and signed into law by Governor
Brown. Mostly smoke and mirrors. We should not fall for the sleight of hand
that is going on that will appear to be the magic bullet to end the drought.
Nothing in the legislation will have any effect on the drought. Storage for
Northern California and environmental projects consume nearly ninety percent
of the bond legislation. Hidden in the bill is funding for the twin tunnels
in the Sacramento-Joaquin Delta that is a non-starter for helping California
with future droughts.
This blog urges voters to recognize the water bond for what it is, and vote
no in November.
So what should happen? First, emergency legislation to impose mandatory
limits on water use for both urban and agri-business combined with an
emergency declaration to divert funds from non-essential funded state
projects to provide grants to the major metropolitan cities to begin design
and implementation of potable recycling and desalination plants, depending
on which fits the local needs best. This is a page out of the Perth,
Australia book. Their leaders stopped playing games and got serious. Now
Perth is a leader in water security. Did it happen overnight? No, but they
got it done.
If you have clicked on the link highlighted by the words “El Nino” you will
note that history teaches us strong El Ninos are seven to ten years apart.
Stay with this and follow. Our last one was in 1998, but we have had weak
ones in the interim. A weak El Nino will do little to break the drought.
Theoretically we should have had a strong one in 2008, but that did not
happen. The data shows we had a weak one in 2007 and a moderate one in 2010.
This three year-old drought could last for ten years if history is a guide.
Climate scientists tell us we are now in a dry century that has followed a
wet century. That makes sense since we apparently missed a strong El Nino in
2008. That points to the next one coming in about 2018, or four years from
now which fits the pattern of strong El Ninos every seven to ten years.
Think about this. If your house is on fire, what do you do? Do you sit down
with a roofing contractor to change to fireproof shingles? Or do you call
911 to get the fire fighters there to put out the fire? Our collective house
is on fire. Now is not the time to satisfy environmentalists to protect the
fish, or re-route Delta water or build water storage. Now is the time to
face the emergency we have and do all we can as fast as we can to design and
implement potable recycling and desalination. And to clamp on mandatory
Then when we are entering our fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and perhaps
eighth year of this drought, we have developed new water, not dependent on
the capricious actions of Mother Nature. If that doesn’t happen, the most
frequent two-word question will be, “Got Water?”