While rebalancing downward some of the water now given to “environmental interests” (100% of their allocation) and rebalacing upward some of the water now denied to farming interests (in some cases less than 50% of their allocation) will redress SOME of the shortages farmers are experiencing, and while some other measures whould constitute better water planning, California precipitation and water table history versus the current levels of demand for water - population, farming, industry and everythings else - all suggests that California cannot continue to expect to greatly improve the supply vs demand for water from all current water sources.
It can improve things in the good years, but in modern times that has also raised expectations, that become disappointments in continually recurring bad years. And, in the bad years, many resovoirs were not built up as much as hoped in the good years. Demand is exceeding supply.
If California does not start doing things like desalization plants, so as to develop totally new sources of water it should start lowering long-range water expectations.
In addition to lower precipitation in northern and southern California recently, the water from the western side of the Rocky Mountains into the Colorado river basin (which supplies a lot of water to southern California) has also been greatly diminished in recent years. The water level behind Hoover dam is the lowest its been since the dam was built.
“This is the worst 14-year drought period in the last hundred years,” said Larry Wolkoviak, director of the bureau’s Upper Colorado Region.”
NATURAL conditions may revert all of California to a drier norm its has frequently experienced in the past.
They should tap the ocean or expect less.
That's part of it. A lot of people live here because it's a great place to live, and they're water hogs. People in urban environments can be bullied to huge degrees to conserve water. So yes, California has a big demand for water there, but it also has a big demand for water in its agriculture. The Valley -- the San Joaquin Valley, once a big inland sea, is hugely fertile and plopped in an ideal climate. It has fed and clothed much of the U.S. It needs water to do that. Necessarily that means sacrificing some pretty things, but the payoff is that the things not sacrificed can thrive, including other natural areas.
How much water isn't agriculture getting because government says it is environmentally immoral to sacrifice lakes, or some obscure species of fresh water fish, or even beautiful canyons for reservoirs? Is there really a shortage of water, or is it an overabundance of environmental tyranny?
When Americans were free to fish the oceans on a minimum standard of regulation, seafood was plentiful and cheap, and sea lions, elephant seals, seals, etc., (piniped type critters) were plentiful. Those animals eat a lot of fish and steal fish off fishermen's lines -- a $50 bill to the guy fishing to feed America. Those animals are also smart, and will avoid things they know are dangerous. So when fishermen shot at and killed them, it kept the population within sustainability. But to "protect" these poor animals, regulations prevented fishermen from managing their resource. More pinipeds bred, ate fish freely. Their populations exploded and had a huge impact on the fish populations.
Then MORE government stepped in to "manage" fishermen into not overfishing the resource, blaming them for what the pinipeds were doing. Now "protected" seals and sea lions are so overpopulated that they are literally sinking sailboats in "protected" harbors.
There are lots of fish in the Pacific. Fish is expensive and hard to get because of environmental government tyranny. The fish is plentiful. It's an expensive luxury because commerce-killing environmental tyrannically regulation that makes outlaws of Americans who would fish and have fished America's coasts in smart, self-preserving way. We don't need no vapid bland tilapia! Salmon and tuna are plentiful. Government tyranny is the reason it is rare and expensive.
I have a hunch it's the same with starving one of the most fertile and productive food producing regions in the world. The water's there, even now, though plenty thin (my mom has lived in California for 85 years, and says she can't remember it ever being this dry this long). It's not a change in resources that we need, it's a change in priorities.