| Sure, we all laughed when Atlanta prayed for rain to help end its drought, and many Californians probably shook their heads at a red state's reckless growth that helped produce the crisis.
But what's that they said about stones and glass houses? California's drought is becoming worse by the day. The State Department of Water Resources estimates NorCal will only be able to export 25% of usual water supplies to SoCal in 2008 - less than the 60% exports that were made in 2007. The Sierra snowpack barely exists, and the Colorado River drought has shown little sign of easing. Despite weekend rainfall here on the Central Coast and in SoCal, it's not enough to ease drought concerns.
Already local water agencies are beginning to plan for rationing, such as in Santa Cruz and Riverside. The Monterey Peninsula Water District is even considering cloud seeding for the Carmel River watershed (don't laugh, apparently it works).
Meanwhile, conservation activists are fighting to prevent the state from abrogating the 1960 promise that the State Water Project would give urban users priority in a drought. In 1995 the state tried to eliminate this guarantee, but the amendments were temporary, and this week the DWR is holding hearings about whether or not this should be made permanent or the original promises restored. Written comments can be submitted by January 14.
Certainly California has long-term concerns regarding overuse, sprawl, and global warming's impact on water supplies. But we also have short-term concerns; only the unusually wet spring of 2006 has staved off disaster. We treat wet years as "normal" years and dry years as abberations, but perhaps it's better we look at it the other way around, and begin to adjust our lifestyles and civilization to make do with less water.