Half Full or Half Empty? Political Semantics Cloud CA Water Wars
There is enough water! There is NOT enough water! Economics vs. environment. The rhetoric is relentless and, according to some California water war watchers, it’s muddying the waters of reasoned debate. According to Michael Hiltzik in an article in this week's L.A. Times, the commodity that’s really in short supply is facts.
Hiltzik’s article points out that the current water shortage in the heavily agricultural Central Valley is causing major hang-wringing among some valley farmers and their representative politicians. At issue is what is causing the shortage and, of course, what to do about it.
Environmental groups, such as the Pacific Institute , recognize water as a finite resource that cannot be used with past profligacy. The impact of that profligacy has been far-reaching. The seemingly obvious solution is a commitment to responsible use and appropriate conservation.
To some politicians, however, ‘conservation’ equals massive unemployment and the collapse of the local agricultural economy. They are painting the current water shortage as akin to the desertification of the Central Valley – all for the sake of a tiny fish.
Hiltzik’s point - California’s water issues deserve a truly apolitical analysis. Now, if only the appropriate players will listen.