COMMENTARY | The Washington Post is reporting that the drought that is now afflicting California is hurting farmers the most, forcing many into bankruptcy. However neither Sacramento nor Washington seems to have a clue about how to alleviate matters.
An effort to provide some relief passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives, only to face a veto threat from President Obama as Democrats claimed that it would cut back on environmental protections. The Hill notes that the Republican bill would restore water deliveries to California’s central valley. Also:
“Aside from ensuring the delivery of water, it also takes several other steps meant to ensure the stability of water supplies. For example, it focuses on using water resources only on the restoration of native fish species under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, not some of the nonnative species that have been included in recent years.
“Additionally, it would reduce the amount of water dedicated to fish, wildlife and habitat restoration to the original maximum levels required under current law. McCarthy said, under a federal law passed in 1992, a maximum of 800,000 acre-feet of water was dedicated for these purposes, but that an average of 1.2 million acre-feet of water has been made available.”
Thus far Sacramento and Washington seem content to urge Californians to cut back on water use and to talk about monetary relief for drought ravaged farmers.
Besides reallocating water, many of the long term solutions, such as desalination plants and instituting drip irrigation as practiced in Israel, would be expensive. Thus far the California state government, which is quite generous where projects like high speed rail are concerned, is disinclined to consider such options.
Ironically nearby Arizona, which is also experiencing a drought, is riding it out far more comfortably than is California, according to Breitbart’s Big Government. This is because Arizona, unlike California, invested in reservoirs that stored water runoff and is now available for farmers and homeowners.
California’s situation is a classic case of how politics makes a bad situation worse. Unfortunately, since the drought is affecting agriculture, the effects will spread beyond the state in the form of high food prices.