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.
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.
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.
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.