An Intervention for California

Nobody sets out to be a hoarder or addict. It’s usually a series of incremental compromises that lead down a dark road until there is a cul-de-sac with nothing left to compromise except the body, except life itself, until the addict feels unable to seek redemption.droughtcartoonDaryleCagle

This is the situation California finds itself in now with its water crisis.

California is like a cigarette smoker diagnosed with lung cancer who decides to help himself by switching to menthols. So far the only solution politicians have dared to float are regulations on the people. “Take showers using buckets,” they say, “dig up your lawn and plant drought resistant plants despite what the neighborhood association says,” they says. The “they” being the people running the state, who also just so happen to be the individual biggest water wasters.

California is the largest supplier of produce in the U.S. and the largest produce producer of produce in the world. This includes almonds. Well, turns out it takes 1.2 gallons of water to grow an almond. Not per almond tree, per almond. And nobody is talking about asking the almond industry to relocate. The world needs to eat, but industry has historically pivoted and moved based on conditions for centuries. At the very least, you’d think there’d be some rationing. Just because industry is stoic and unwavering, doesn’t mean the proletariat can’t be or government acting for the greater good.

And do you think it has gotten better in 2015?
This is/was Folsom Lake. And do you think it has gotten better in 2015?

Sea World in San Diego, even despite the Black Fish movie controversy, is still sucking water in to replace whatever they lose to Shamu splashing tourists.

There are several water parks in California going strong. Sure, they do a lot of water reclamation activities but they can’t do anything about the water splashing out of pools or dragged out in bathing suits or the thousands of gallons rendered undrinkable by chlorine. Oh, and despite existing water parks sucking in otherwise usable water, the city of Dublin, California just recently approved the creation of a $35 million dollar brand new sparkling water-sucking water park. Yet, no plans for a water desalinization plant.

And don’t forget laundry services which do nothing to reclaim water or conserve in any way. Same goes for you, restaurant industry. But hey, I’m not big on restaurants just dry-wiping plates before putting them back into circulation either.

Sunshine beaming from above all the time, yet, California is powered by four thermal plants, one nuclear plant, and seven coal power plants (look who did research/clicked on the first search result). Thermal plants convert massive amounts of water into steam to turn turbines with the resulting water byproduct rendered unusable. This is ancient dinosaur urine that has been recycled through condensation and rain in a harmonious circle for centuries, and now it’s contaminated and has to be buried or shot into space, or whatever we clever-yet-lazy humans do with contaminated waste water.

Is this irony or just a statement of the obvious?
Is this irony or just a statement of the obvious? Also, I’m not totally sure this is in California.

There are copious amounts of lush, green lawns, kept alive by thousands of gallons of water every day. Rich white guys call these lawns “golf courses.” On a similar recreative note, when I was a kid, I loved our backyard pool despite being a 20 minute drive from the beach and pool-boys are still as plentiful as they are in porno’s (I hear) when backyard pools should be turned into makeshift skate parks.

By all means, Governor Jerry Brown, put the onus on the proletariat. Tell them to let the yellow mellow and only flush down the brown, because obviously the problem is the individuals who use a spit of water compared to the vomit of water industry is using daily. I understand, though, you can guilt an individual; you can’t guilt a corporation, not as a politician.

Side note: Why haven’t the Red Hot Chili Peppers made an entire album about this?

I know that no matter how I or anyone else lays out a case for conservation, nothing will be done. I know this because we were warned about Southern California and their drought and willingness to steal water 40 years ago in the movie Chinatown (spoiler: it’s about water). In other words, enjoy your industrial desert wasteland, California–that is if the ocean doesn’t swallow  and watch your back, Oregon, they’re coming for your water next. If there’s any positive, it would be this, thank you California, for being a handy visual metaphor for the globe.

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29 Comments

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  1. It’s kind of surprising that we havent found a way to manufacture clouds/rain yet. Is anyone working on that?!

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  2. abeerfortheshower May 18, 2015 — 7:25 am

    So what you’re telling me is when I ate that dozen almonds yesterday I actually drank 14.4 gallons of water? I should probably go throw up.

    Another water saving tip for the people: don’t brush your teeth so often. Let your animals drink Mountain Dew instead of water. Bathe in the ocean and try not to get washed away. Is that fixing this crisis?

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  3. So far the only solution politicians have dared to float are regulations on the people… Now, why doesn’t that surprise me one bit? Politicians – well, the species as a whole – are cowards who hide behind desks and regulations. They are dead scared when they know it’s the big companies that need to be reprimanded or beaten with a stick. Of course, it’s so much easier to manipulate your own citizens into thinking that they need to grow a conscience or else!

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  4. They should just use bottled water since that just comes from the bottled water factory and has no real world impact.

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  5. I’m finding it difficult to twist any kind of a sexual metaphor out of your post today, Pickleope. Try to give me more to work with next time, willya?

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  6. Texas is also working to conserve water, even though lately we have had more than we needed…enough to pull us out of the drought! My daughter and hubby have a 30000 gal water tank that has it’s own filtering and purification system so they can drink it. With just an inch of steady rain, the tank rises 6000 gallon. At our new home, we are putting in just a 500 gal water catchment system, so we can use this water for the lawn and flowers. We are also doing a great amount of xeroscape on the front yard.

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  7. David and I have been doing water saving since I married him in 2002. Even if there are water abusers out there, saving water has to start somewhere. We have a rainwater tank system and since we have gone to drought happy plants in the garden it’s been better for us bill wise. We are almost off the grid with our solar panels and water tanks. Just need to get there with the gas heating in the winter. Looking into alternatives for that right now.

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    • I agree that people should adopt water-saving techniques, but to put the entire onus on the people is frustratingly disingenuous, particularly when industry is doing literally zero to adjust water consumption.
      Thank you for doing your part. I just hope those efforts aren’t in vain like claws on a piece of desperately liquid diarrhea.

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  8. You will be happy to know that I haven’t showered or flushed the toilet in weeks, just to do my part for the drought effort. Also, I might be a little bit lazy and depressed.

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  9. I don’t even like almonds. It’s the cyanide thing. The Hurricane lives in California, but in the Bay area so they have water. She says LA is a hellhole. I told her not to talk that way because fishducky lives there, and she’s rich.

    Love,
    Janie

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    • The Bay area has just as real an issue with the diminishing amount of water as the rest of the state, don’t let The Hurricane fool you. Also, that “LA v. SF” is an infuriating bunch of nonsense. Don’t let The Hurricane fall into that nonsensical mindset. Parts of LA are great, parts of LA are a nightmare, same as San Francisco. San Fran hates LA for some weird reason I suspect is wholly connected to sports while LA doesn’t care about SF except as a nice vacation destination.
      This sort of demonization of either city drives me crazy (obviously) because it’s myopic and the worst example of pointless territorialism.

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      • You are out of your mind if you think I can tell The Hurricane what she can and can’t do or think. Anyway, she’s moving in a few months. I visited her in San Francisco once. I had a wonderful time. The photo at the top of my blog is moi in front of City Lights Bookstore in San Fran, where I left my heart. The Hurricane also has no interest in sports, unless she’s one of the sports. She always says that sports metaphors are lost on her.

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  10. Drought is terrible, sometimes we feel that it either is no rain at all or far to much rain, if only we could figure out how to make rain. Thankfully we have not had water restrictions for a long time now but I do remember the days when we did in fact have many restrictions although you can not water your gardens with sprinklers it has to be either a watering can or a hand held hose.

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    • Because of draught conditions, Australia built 4 very expensive desalinization plants. (Still cost equivalent to a brand new water park.) They take a lot of energy to power those plants, but still, it’s a better solution than begging people to try and maybe shave with a reclamation pale and use that to water a garden.
      Also, to power those plants, is solar still not a viable option for some reason?
      Is it obvious this issue frustrates me? If not, how can I make it more obvious?

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  11. Yet my neighbors in the Greater North State (Chico/Paradise/Redding, etc., CA) are still hell bent on separating from the rest of the state and creating Jefferson. Yep, that’ll teach ’em. Even stupider, “almond” is pronounced “a” as in “apple”, men. “a-men”. I’m ashamed, Pickleope Von Pickleope.

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  12. Yes well here in Great Britain where it has been raining again today, all this talk of drought and hot sun followed by hot sun and more sun followed by dry sunny days has not cheered me up much but if you have a very long hose pipe then you can have some of my water.

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  13. Well, you’ve got 30 million people living in what is often referred to as a desert. How is water not going to be an issue? Maybe a system of public and private outhouses would be in order. Or composting toilets.

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  14. Okay–so stupid question–but I get that all these industries operate out of California and they need water to grow their products. It brings a lot of money into the state, blah blah…but why can’t these industries bring water in from somewhere else and make the money to support themselves and the California economy without depleting the water supply?

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

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    • Can you imagine the cost of daily importing water by truck? And no state wants to sacrifice their water supply to save California’s industry. Also, I know that industry brings money to the state and jobs, but I don’t know if that money is commensurate with the social cost. Is it worth whatever “big almond” is bringing in to the state in revenue if there are no more fresh water lakes?

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  15. We had drought for a while in Australia. It got so bad that we decided to rename our Seaworld “Puddle Park”.

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