Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act?
In the coming months, a long-term drought will continue to shrink California’s available water supply, putting at risk the health of its residents and the integrity of its water system.
The crisis now unfolding in California is not the result of some last-minute surge of snow — it began last December with record-setting snowpack water. Nor is it some long-overdue rain. With the exception of the winter of 2017, between January and April of each year, the rain-free months of April and May are the rainy ones.
Rather, the current drought — in its fourth year — is the result of a series of natural events, including a severe prolonged drought, followed by a snowpack drought, followed by a winter with a record-hot and dry summer and an unseasonably dry fall. And those events have continued even as the state’s population has grown. California is now experiencing the most severe water supply crunch since the 1960s, when a series of natural disasters and regional policies left a population of more than 40 million without water.
There is “no good time” to be facing a worsening water crisis, in the words of Water Watch’s Tom Dye, a senior fellow at the Center for Progressive Reform, a nonprofit that studies water issues.
Yet Dye, who has been at the forefront of the effort to get California to adopt the federal Groundwater Management Act (GMA), believes California leaders are being “inconsistent” when responding to the water crisis. Dye’s analysis — and there is no shortage of bad news in California — tells a story of leadership failure.
In their zeal to meet political goals, leaders in some parts of the state have pursued initiatives that could have profound effects on the water supply.
The proposed Delta Tunnels and Delta Tunnels II projects will threaten water at more communities than any other single project proposed in California. The Delta tunnels will siphon water out of