California water crisis was preventable

The effects of the drought in California could have been curtailed or even prevented completely with the proper steps

Ahtesham Azhar, Reporter

California, one of the richest states in the United States, is facing a severe drought owing to three years of decreased rainfall. The rainless three years caused shortages in the main water reservoirs, dried up canals and rivers, and thinned the snow pack.

The Golden State’s government, in collaboration with the federal government, has adopted various measures to save the state from the impending water crisis. However, every measure undertaken yet has proven fruitless.

In a recent development, Gov. Jerry Brown announced a mandatory water restriction plan, which would allow the state to reduce water usage up to 25 percent. The plan includes restriction of water usage on residents, businesses and farms, ordering cities and towns. Brown also imposed a ban on restaurants from offering water to customers unless they expressly ask for it. Brown termed the ban necessary under the circumstances.

However, California is the state which is best known for tourism across the world. Such a ban can be harmful to the tourism industry – which in turn affects the state’s economy.

The state’s government seemed optimistic about the decision. State officials briefed media that the 25 percent cut in usage amounts to roughly 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months. It is important to mention here that an acre foot of water equals about 325,000 gallons.

Critics say that drought is mainly caused by the poor policies of government towards environmental and ecofriendly sector, which immediately raises concerns.

Bonner Cohen, senior fellow of the National Center for Public Policy Research, said in a recent interview with Fox News that “Southern California is an arid part of the world where droughts – even severe droughts – are commonplace, and knowing this, you’d think the government of California would have included this mathematical certainty in its disaster preparedness planning, but the government has done nothing, not even store rain, as the population has continued to grow.”

It’s also come into focus that California’s government has provided undue favor to environmentalists. Those environmentalists forced the state to get licensed for having a big water- reservoir in order to avoid disruption of wildlife and ecosystems.

Shikha Dalmia opined recently that environmentalists in California also divert 4.4 million acre-feet of water every year to restore water runs such as the San Joaquin River, allowing passage of salmon and other fish. However, the same amount of water could be supplied to families throughout the state.

Yes, the drought situation in the Golden State is serious because three strange years. But the government needs to adopt measures which could be helpful to provide relief to citizens and avoid further drought instead of making decisions that will come to nothing in the end. The drought would be under control if California had taken the proper measures at the beginning of this process.