Just how bad the current California drought will make things for the state’s 40-odd million residents is a matter of speculation. One thing’s for sure: every state resident will need to sacrifice. There is no other choice at this point. Years of inaction by our elected leaders bowing to the hyperbole of environmental activists has brought us to this point.
The young woman cutting my hair the other day was making conversation. Asking me what I do allowed me to segue into California’s water woes, which is a topic on the minds of many people these days. Since I write about it for Western Farm Press it’s part of what I do as an agricultural writer. She seemed somewhat interested, so I told her that it’s going to be a very rough ride for everyone in the state. Asking me how bad I think things will get, I was as candid as possible while telling her I was mostly speculating based on reports I’ve read.
As bad as the drought of the mid-to-late 1970s was, it can be likened somewhat to a comparison between then-President Jimmy Carter and current President Barack Obama. Just as Carter is no longer America’s worst president, the drought of the mid-70’s is no longer California’s worst dry spell in recorded history.
As bad as the current drought is, California has accomplished so much in its history that to fold our hands in defeat belies the successes we’ve seen since California became a state. I believe we can do it again. We’ve rebuilt after massive earthquakes, designed and built massive dams to hold back raging rivers and constructed great bridges to span larger bodies of water while the nation was fighting a world war. We have the ability to do what it takes. Do we have the will?
Whether it was a Californian named Steve who imagined and designed the personal computer from a small garage, and later encouraged an entire industry of thought and innovation, or one named William Mullholland, who dreamed up, designed and constructed a gravity-flow system of water conveyance that spans several hundred miles from the high Sierra to cities in southern California, I believe that same spirit exists today. We merely need to encourage it — as individuals, corporations, churches, and publicly through our elected representatives.
Or, we can continue to kick the rusty can down the dusty road and watch a state envied for its innovation and success die on the vine.