Everyone knows droughts are bad. They increase risk of wildfires and damage life in the affected region. They are not always predictable, when I lived in Pennsylvania in the early 1990s there was a drought with no known mechanism involved, but they are often cyclical, which makes them at least broadly predictable.

The Dry 2 Dry program at Ghent University believes droughts are not only predictable and cyclical, they can propagate in a kind of feedback loop; instead of being local, evaporated water is moved to other areas, so less of it is taking drought with them.

If so, that is even more reason California government needs to obey the laws it is bound to follow and create more water storage.  It is the goal of science and technology to not let fickle nature hold us hostage.

Credit: Ghent University

Droughts happen all of the time in California, the state is primarily a desert. Yet instead of building more water storage to offset the effects of fickle nature which resulted in prognosticators predicting a new drought weeks before mountain roads are choked with snow and flooding occurs, the bulletproof majority in the state legislature and the Governor's mansion repeatedly porkbarrel projects that do nothing for water. One example is California Proposition 3 in 2018, which would have created even higher costs for the poor because they would have mandated even more ridiculous rules that led to people ridiculing the state dumping so much water down the Stanlslaus river they have to warn people in canoes about safety - while claiming 'the law' forces them to dump all the water into the Pacific Ocean.

Activists and the politicians they prop up claim California agriculture is the big culprit in water issues because they ignore that half of California water is dumped into the ocean at rates that were not determined by biologists but by environmental activists. They claim wasteful dumping is essential when nothing of the kind is true. For as long as the state has existed there have been booms and busts in water and nature rebounds just fine. Measured release of water actually improves the situation for the environment and people.

This year, the median housing price per square foot has rocketed to over $400. Per square foot. The middle class has been obliterated by high taxes and regulatory burdens which make everything else expensive. Due to lack of supply the median home now costs nearly $900,000, while the median sale time is just 8 days. The reason is because houses can't be built unless there is a contract for increasingly scarce water.  

Politicians refuse to act and that makes their political donors in environmental trial lawyer groups happy. But it is bad for everyone else in the state.

Prior to 2018, we had Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, which was delayed on the ballot twice, in 2010 and 2012, and was designed to replace Proposition 43 from a few years earlier, which the legislature said was too expensive.

You can see a pattern for how California politics works. For anything important, the public has to bypass the legislature, because except for bans, taxes or giving the Governor emergency powers during a pandemic, politicians can't even agree with their own party members. As a last defense when voters take it into their own hands and demand a referendum, politicians manipulate the system to make sure a public referendum they don't like gets delayed repeatedly.

That last successful referendum wasn't great, it had the usual Leaky Budget payola for grifters claiming they will help disadvantaged communities and protect nature, only 20 percent of the money was going toward the thing voters thought they were getting - water storage - but at least it was something. And yet still nothing has been done, despite the money being raised in bonds to fund it. And our ever-rising taxes are paying the interest on the bonds.

The Governor and the legislature talk about what a great job they are doing while ignoring people concerned about the next drought.

So another effort has been made. The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 even had 8 Democrats signing onto it despite its advocation of science solutions like desalination and dams, and over the well-funded opposition of Sierra Club, who let everyone know that they'd have their Earthjustice group sue it into oblivion. It won't get on the ballot in November because as more and more people fled the state, those left are overwhelmingly willing to believe there is no water problem, it is just greedy construction companies. 

Droughts happen, maybe they are in a feedback loop or not, but when flooding occurs in a state made up primarily of desert the smart thing to do is save the water for a non-rainy day. The environmental, and therefore California politician, thing to do instead is to claim nature has spoken and not only should new water infrastructure be banned, existing dams should be removed.

Instead of California journalists talking about the problem politicians created by not obeying the law much less ethics, they mumble nonsense about "sacred fish" on Twitter and continue to endorse their political allies who created this mess. That's a failure of journalism because there is no fourth estate when everyone in the field is patting their political party on the back.

Water policy in California is even more broken than its energy and health care schemes. The big difference is that water policy costs are readily visible to everyone except the politicians creating it and the journalists who refuse to see it for the failure it is.