Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers
Water, Water and Not a Drop?
Behind the national headlines are lots of other stories.
Here in California, the Department of Water Resources and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation announced that they may not (be able to?) honor the meager 5% of the contracted water allotments of westside California farmers south of the Delta.
2020-2021 is a moderately below average snow/rain year in California (there is always a chance of a late mid-April Sierra snow storm to come), but these decisions are increasingly political and reflect the diminishing political clout of California farming—as contracted water in the California Water Project is either redirected to cities or never really enters the project. Snow runoff is increasingly allowed to flow into the sea, without diversion to century- and half-century-old water projects. Food for LA and SF I guess just spontaneously generates?
The Biden Administration will only accelerate these trends. If nothing changes, a lot of farming from the Grapevine to the Delta, on the vast west side of the Central Valley will end. The vanishing aquifer out there cannot be pumped much longer to keep orchards and vineyards alive or to plant annual row crops. I don’t think anyone in control in Sacramento or Washington remembers the once arid, dry “West Side” before the miracle of irrigation water, but they may soon…