Dry Madness

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Yesterday afternoon, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, held a press conference to announce that, water-wise, our state is fucked.

For the first time in history, he ordered mandatory water restrictions, insisting upon—according to the New York Times—”a 25 percent reduction on the state’s 400 local water supply agencies, which serve 90 percent of California residents, over the coming year.” Put differently, we are in big, big, big trouble. The state is home to 38 million people, but not enough water to service 38 million people. And their crops. And their lawns. And their golf courses. And …

Again, we’re fucked.

But just when you think that maybe, just maybe, the people here are alarmed enough to take serious action, you visit the homepage of my town’s website—and see the above advertisement. Yes, this Saturday, from 10 am until 2 pm, Laguna Niguel, California will celebrate the most crippling drought in state history by holding a car wash.

Before we moved here seven months ago, I was warned. Yeah, Southern California is gorgeous and amazing and you’ll love it. But, eh, the people are also a bit sheltered. Which, truly, didn’t concern me all that much. Much of my childhood was spent inside a liberal household within the confines of a conservative town—no biggie. I worked for 2 1/2 years in Nashville, land of mega churches and Jesus urgings—no biggie. Truly, I’m an adaptable guy, and people are people, and some of my best friends hold 180-degree opposite beliefs and … and …

This one is bad.

I actually called the town; sent some e-mails. My basic question: How the heck can you hold a car wash fundraiser during this drought? Why not sell cookies? Or ice cream? Or back rubs. Anything but a car wash. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g but a car wash. The response: A pretty big meh. Everyone was polite and friendly, but the interactions were exasperating. To surmise: 1. Hey, it’s for the military; 2. We use a miniscule amount of water (I spoke with someone who attended last year’s event, and said water was streaming down the sidewalk); 3. Hey, um, it’s for the military. Really.

Oy.

As I write this, everything around me is green. Sprinklers still blast, hoses still run, flowers still bloom. Meanwhile, we’re heading for really scary times.

And nobody gives a shit.

2 thoughts on “Dry Madness”

  1. Did you at least find out how having beemers and benzes get car washes will actually support “our” Marines? C’mon , man, why do you hate America so much? Seriously, though, watch where the savings come from. I suspect the poor and the middle class will try to do what they can. The rich will sneer and say the rules don’t apply to them. And they’ll get away with it. It’s the American Way.

  2. JP, the Water Crisis in the Southwest (not just CA) is something that I Tweet about and worry about a lot. A report in March said that CA has about 10 months of water remaining, and only 1/3 of CA’s water comes from CA, the balance from the Colorado River Lower Basin. More than 33 million people across Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico depend on the Colorado River for their water supply. The distribution of CO River water was decided in the The Colorado River Compact of 1922, long before the population explosion in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, San Diego and South Orange County to note a few areas. NoCal gets it water from Mt. Shasta, the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite, and the Bureau of Reclamation. NoCal also sends a portion of the water they collect Southward via the Aqueduct that was featured in Chinatown (the Film).

    With Frackers sucking water out of the water table and farm/ranch wells doing the same, the water future is bleak. but you are seeing how “What me worry” your new neighbors are. Colorado conserved water the last 2 years while those South and Southwest of us filled their swimming pools and watered their lawns and had 6 people in their house showering daily. Governor brown finally issued mandatory restrictions, but almost nobody to monitor compliance. Battles are breaking out in Coachella and 1 other SoCal locaion, a sign of things to come. Considering the contempt that SoCal is held in by NoCal and Colorado, I wouldn’t be looking for help from either. Let the battles rage on. (Gary Beals@Fanatic Blue). Blocked.

    Useful links:

    http://www.coloradoriverbasin.org/about-the-colorado-river-basin/

    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/nwis

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