Californians Won’t Take the Drought Seriously Until Government Takes the Drought Seriously With These 5 Measures

by on April 7, 2015 · 11 comments

in California, Culture, Economy, Environment, Politics

Californians want immediate action from their government

The citizens of California will not take the drought seriously until they see that their government is taking the drought seriously. Until government at all levels – from the state to the smallest township – shows Californians that it is enacting measures to immediately deal with the drought – now in its 4th year – people in this state won’t face up to the drought themselves.

And until government enacts these 5 measures – at a minimum – , government is not taking the  drought seriously:

1. Ban All Fracking

California must ban all fracking immediately – the process by which oil companies use to extract oil. As Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of of Food and Water Watch, states: “Fracking is a triple threat to California’s water. Not only does it exacerbate the climate crisis, it requires mixing vast amounts of water with harmful chemicals, and it puts our vital aquifers at risk of contamination for generations.” Big Oil uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day in California for fracking, acidizing, and steam injections. Estimates for 2014 include only 70 million gallons of water was used fracking in California to more than 700 million gallons.  Scow has also called for a moratorium on fracking.

2. Moratorium on Housing Construction

How can Californians reasonably think that our region can sustain the thousands of residents that current housing construction projects are preparing for? Just in Mission Valley in the heart of San Diego, developers are planning enough condos, apartments and townhouses for 15,000 to 20,000 new residents – to double or triple Mission Valley’s current population. How can San Diego handle these new thousands when there’s not enough water for its current residents?  We must have a  moratorium on all housing construction.

3. Restrict Water-Intensive Crops

Agriculture accounts for 80% of California’s water usage. Large amounts of water by agribusiness are being used by water-intensive crops, such as almonds and rice. California’s almond orchards use about 3.5 million acre feet of water, nearly 9 percent of the state’s agricultural water supply, enough to supply the domestic needs of the Los Angeles Basin and metropolitan San Diego combined – about 75% of the state’s population, according to Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network. Almond growers are expanding because they have a lucrative overseas market. If government in the Mid-West can pay farmers not to plant certain crops, then government in California can figure out methods to restrict those crops that use too much water in the desert where we live.

 4. No More Green Fields.

California can no longer sustain the green fields of golf courses, cemeteries, playing fields, and landscaping. Governor Brown warning individual home-owners that they can no longer have their little green yards, but we can no longer have these huge fields of green grass kept fresh by our drinking water. Some places do use reclaimed water. But most do not.  Until we no longer see sprinklers watering the green fields with clean water, we won’t take the drought seriously.

5. Capture Rain Water.

Every level of government and every household which can need to do much more to capture rain water – when it does rain. Currently, nothing is done to collect the water that drains from the heavens – except the little that is collected over the reservoirs. There are some individuals who do collect it, but much, much more can be done. And until we as a society and as individuals do more to recapture this precious resource, we won’t be taking the drought seriously.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Vagadu Varda April 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Another major threat of fracking, is it will continue to alter the underground stress factors near the fault lines which will put us all at a much higher risk of a major earthquake whether the so called experts are willing to admit it or not. It is a funny thing what money does to people even when they initially start out their careers and college studies with such good intentions.


Cholly April 8, 2015 at 8:43 am

The people themselves need leadership, and the OB Rag is currently the only leadership available to the residents of the Peninsula, aside from the establishment blather. I believe that our trees are important and deserving of water. There are so many varying factors involved with the equation that it’s hard to really figure it out. However it seems as if the automobile and gasoline predominate. This week’s City Beat led article has a logical argument for solar power which can be set up in neighborhoods minimalize at least a little bit of the bad stuff. Happy Day and thanks for some real stuff.


Pete R April 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

You can’t control population growth by controlling the construction of housing. All you do is create a housing shortage, which raises housing costs for everyone who is already here.

CA’s population growth is no longer driven by in-migration from other states/nations, which historically had been the case. Rather, CA’s growth is now a function of the natural birth rates of Californians who are already here ( So even if we could somehow stop outsiders from moving here (which of course isn’t exactly legal) it still wouldn’t make a significant difference.

Instead, we need to accept the reality that growth is coming, and plan for ways to accommodate it more sustainably.


Frank Gormlie April 8, 2015 at 11:04 am

It’s the water available that will control population growth. You didn’t address the key issue here. We need to accept the reality that water is limited here in this coastal desert and the building industry needs to accept this blaring fact.

We need to immediately halt housing construction and SANDAG needs to immediately adjust their projected figures in population growth. The housing that is being built is not affordable and not accessible to the majority of San Diegans. What’s wrong with this picture?


Pete R April 8, 2015 at 11:29 am

“It’s the water available that will control population growth.”

How can water control birth rates?


Frank Gormlie April 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

I said “population growth” – not birth rate. With less water available, there could be a net minus migration to San Diego and Southern California; people may feel stressed and not wish to have babies during a heavy drought. Why is it assumed that despite all other indicators, San Diego will just continue to grow, grow, grow?


Kirk Mather April 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Stopping new housing construction will cause housing costs to skyrocket. Simple supply and demand.

People WANT to live in San Diego. Now denser development rather than sprawl? That could work. Oh, wait the Rag is opposed to One Paseo. Hmm?!?


Debbie April 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Sometimes….you cannot have everything you WANT and then you look for something you CAN can do.

We do not have to accommodate the WANTERS.


Louisa April 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

I’d like to see a stop to draining aquifers and siphoning off mountain spring water for resale. Nestle is the big actor here, but other companies do it as well. These operations may be lowering the water table in the mountains (particularly San Jacinto Mountains) and stressing already vulnerable trees. AND increasing the fire risk. I don’t know for a fact that these possible consequences are true, but I suspect something like this may be happening. And I’m worried about it.

Besides, who needs all those plastic bottles in landfills anyway?


RB April 11, 2015 at 5:52 pm

IMO, if you don’t collect rain with rain barrels……..stop complaining and pointing fingers at everyone else.


tj April 16, 2015 at 7:53 am

Excellent points – thank you Frank!

Some Real Leadership here would certainly be refreshing.

Communities should also be required to allow & encourage grey water capture & reuse (for landscape purposes).

Desalination is coming to N County, & maybe should be implemented statewide.

Low Water Costs for heavy users, subsidized by conservation users – is a travesty & should be rectified immediately, if not sooner.


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