I’m sure you have heard the tongue-in-cheek prediction that the next big earthquake will cause California to fall into the Pacific Ocean. While that is highly unlikely, what if California ceased to exist as a source of food? The drought conditions coupled with the absurd legislative conditions in California are combining to make water unavailable to farmers.
Water is not a zero sum game. Water is used for growing, cleaning, and packaging produce, and it is all returned to the ecosystem. While California has wonderful soils and a Mediterranean climate, the gods have not always been kind with rain and snow fall in the region.
When water is harnessed and managed, should not the first use be a clean and plentiful supply for human consumption? Apparently the legislators in California think that fish and wildlife are more important than humans. The last 30 years of lawmaking have yielded a system where agriculture is being allocated less water. Governor Brown is attempting to institute some actions to conserve water with orders to reduce the non-essential uses like watering a homeowner’s lawn. It is a start, but it is also very late in the midst of a 4 year drought.
It is time that we realize humans should be first in line for water and that we need to properly manage the water for that primary purpose. The development of Milwaukee as a hub of freshwater science and industry is testament to the need for such understanding and management of this critical resource.