Schwarzenegger’s $11 Billion Magic Bullet for Water

j0441753Several days ago, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that Governor Schwarzenegger has an $11 billion plan to not only rebuild California’s deteriorating water infrastructure, but also build more dams to support a growing population’s increase in water use.  The article also points out that he’s signing this at a time when other states in the West are dismantling dams to save species of fish, including salmon, from dying off.

While the AP presents both point of view in the piece, what’s missing is the common sense aspect.  Yes, farmers have a right to water and to grow crops from which the rest of us benefit, but, does that have to come at the expense of the environment?  We need the land to grow crops.  What we don’t need is another dam and more land under water.

Yes, California’s population is going to continue growing, but that doesn’t mean water use has to grow at the same pace.  Unlimited water use is a luxury, not a right.  Much of California is a desert.  Why do people, including the Governor,  forget that?

How about tossing in a few water-conserving incentives, such as

  • When new housing goes in, why not include gray water reservoirs?  All the water used in showers and laundry could easily be used to water lawns and plants.
  • Why not incentivize contractors to use native, drought-resistant plants in new housing developments?
  • Why not incentivize our citizens to replace their water-guzzling lawns with water-friendly alternatives?

Lest we also forget, California hasn’t resolved its current budget crisis and here we go again, why not sink another $11 billion in debt?  Let’s get real.  We are each accountable for our actions.  Let’s all conserve water and keep a few more of our hard-earned dollars in our pockets.

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