Lessons learned from the end of California’s “permanent drought”

By Larry Kummer. Posted at the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: The “permanent drought” in California, like the now ended “permanent drought” in Texas, is ending. But like the panic about Texas, it is rich in lessons about our difficulty clearly seeing the world — and the futility of activists exaggerating and lying about the science. Of course, they should have learned this after 29 years of trying (starting from James Hansen’s 1988 Senate testimony).


Warnings of a permanent drought in California

Remember all those predictions of a “permanent drought” in California? Those were examples of why three decades of climate alarmism has not convinced the American people to take severe measures to fight anthropogenic climate change: alarmists exaggerate the science, and are proven wrong — repeatedly. When will the Left learn that doomster lies do not work?

Wired, May 2016: “Thanks El Niño, But California’s Drought Is Probably Forever“. “California is still in a state of drought. For now, maybe forever.” The article gives no support — none — for this clickbait claim. In January Wired attempted to weasel away from their claims by defining drought to mean needing more water than nature provides (“A Wet Year Won’t Beat California’s Never-Ending Drought“). Orwell nodded, unsurprised.

The NYT did no better in “California Braces for Unending Drought“, May 2016. The closest the article comes to supporting their headline is an odd statement by Governor Brown:  “But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence…”  Drought has always been a regular occurrence in California. The governor also said that “California droughts are expected to be more frequent and persistent, as warmer winter temperatures driven by climate change reduce water held in the Sierra Nevada snowpack and result in drier soil conditions.” That is probable. But it is quite mad for the NYT to call more frequent droughts “an unending drought.”

Status of the California drought

“During the past week, a series of storms bringing widespread rain and snow showers impacted the states along the Pacific Coast and northern Rockies. In California, the cumulative effect of several months of abundant precipitation has significantly improved drought conditions across the state.”

US Drought monitor – California, February 9.

Precipitation over California in the water year so far (October 1 to January 31) is 178% of average for this date. The snowpack is 179% of average, as of Feb 8. Our reservoirs are at 125% of average capacity. See the bottom line summary as of February 7, from the US Drought monitor for California.

The improvement has been tremendous. The area with exceptional drought conditions have gone year over year from 38% of California to 0%, extreme drought from 23% to 1%, severe drought from 20% to 10% — while dry and moderate drought went from 18% to 48%, and no drought from <1% to 41%. See the map below. And the rain continues to fall.




For data about the western states see the dashboards at NOAA’s Western Water Assessment.  For a longer-term perspective on the western drought see NOAA’s “Western drought: It ain’t over ’til…well, it ain’t over” by Deke Arndt, 2 February 2017. It will take years of good rain and snow to recharge California’s groundwater.


“We don’t even plan for the past.”

— Steven Mosher (member of Berkeley Earth; bio here), a comment posted at Climate Etc.

Journalists could have told us that historical data shows that past droughts in the US southwest lasted for centuries, a grim warning encouraging us to prepare. Droughts, often long and fierce, are the natural climate of this region. But telling the truth was boring — bad clickbait — and would have been politically useless for the Left. But their exaggerations and misrepresentations of science — and failed predictions — have only eroded away the public’s support for sensible measures to control and allocate water use.

This has been their way since they discovered that weather porn was good clickbait and might support their campaign for aggressive public policy measures to fight anthropogenic climate change. The result: contributing to the public’s loss of trust in the news media and an almost complete failure to get their policy changes.

In this as in other things, only a reality-based community can reform America. Too bad neither Left nor Right has any interest in giving up their tribal beliefs to focus on the often-inconvenient truth. Look here for ideas about ways you can help.

For More Information

See all posts about droughts, and especially these …

· Droughts are coming. Are we ready for the past to repeat?

· Everything you want to know about California’s drought (except when it will end), Nov 2014.

· Key facts about the drought that’s reshaping California, March 2015.

· Our response to California’s drought shows America at work to enrich the 1%.

192 thoughts on “Lessons learned from the end of California’s “permanent drought”

  1. Perhaps California could actually build some reservoirs, and settle the issue with the delta smelt once and for all that currently prevents using what is in place.

    • Governor Moonbeam Brown ver.1 was very big on cancelling his daddy’s planned infrastructure projects. Growth is bad. Small is beautiful. Pat Brown was one of the last pro-growth Democrats. Moonbeam has had twice the terms as governor as his daddy but daddy is still twice the governor that Moonbeam will ever be.

      • Jerry Brown: “Growth is bad. Small is beautiful.”
        Of course the libs have been flooding the state with huge numbers of fertile illegals which is the only thing responsible for the sharp increase in CA’s population. CA’s population has gone through the roof, but the infrastructure remains the same (as freeways [now more jammed {with illegals} than ever], reservoirs). If growth is so bad why is Brown and the libs growing the state’s population by flooding it with illegals? They say “the illegals do jobs no else will do, so they are essential to grow the economy.” Lol as I thought growth was bad. It has nothing to do with jobs “no one else would do” because people would do those jobs. It’s about radically changing the demographics of the state, and then the country.

      • Seems strange what “science” tries to pass off. It is difficult to reconcile a climate of perpetual drought and a climate of perpetual El Niño considering we are currently in an El Niño year and Santa Rosa has received more than 28″ of Drought since January 1st.
        The apparent problem with these delusional PHDs and their grad student assistants lies in their apparent perception that a ten year trend or twenty year trend or even a thirty year trend is evidentiary proof that the trend will continue
        Cooling from 1940 to 1975 equals “We are entering the next Ice Age”
        Drought conditions that last 5 years signals the statement “Permanent Drought”
        And the plethora of papers that these statements foster. Papers which quite often disprove prior and subsequent papers.

      • “the illegals do jobs no else will do”….if the illegals were not here…someone else would do it
        Then they claim they are not racist (I know, Mexican is not a race)….but claim they are the only people that will do it

      • having been a contractor for decades, i can tell you first hand that this:
        ” It has nothing to do with jobs “no one else would do” because people would do those jobs.”
        is uninformed nonsense.
        unless you want to deliver excuses instead of results (and earn a reputation for being a liar and fraud and screw up any long term career in the business) you hire whoever does the work.
        now you just try to find a snowflake to operate a shovel and see if your theory holds up.
        when you need a day laborer you go to the home depot or pick one up where they stand in lines on bellingham – you do not take that white person standing nearby with the cardboard sign that says ‘will work for food’ because he’s lying. he won’t work at all.

      • Eric, it is about ‘jobs no else will do’ for well below minimum wage. These bleeding hearts have inadvertently created a new slave class.

        • The old, totally unPC saying I heard in the 60s…
          “Blacks won’t do the ni**er work anymore. That’s why we got wetbacks.”

      • gnomish: “[…] unless you want to deliver excuses instead of results (and earn a reputation for being a liar and fraud and screw up any long term career in the business) you hire whoever does the work, now you just try to find a snowflake to operate a shovel and see if your theory holds up”.
        You may find no one. And then what will you do? As you still need someone to operate the shovel, you will offer BETTER CONDITIONS, as in more money, for the job. And then you will find.

      • ” you will offer BETTER CONDITIONS, as in more money, for the job. And then you will find.”
        no, i won’t because then the job becomes uneconomical
        if those who are willing are prevented from working, there won’t be better conditions.
        when hiring a worker becomes unaffordable either the work disappears because it’s uneconomical
        it gets mechanized and the former work is accomplished by fewer so that it can be economical and affordable
        see all the self service checkout machines in walmart, home depot and other places
        and how about this:
        and this:

      • Actually, ‘Small is Beautiful’ does not have to mean ‘doing nothing’. It could mean massively parallel projects of small water diversion, you know, like the Chinese and Egyptians did those millennia ago.
        Damming with big lakes is one way of storing water for California. You could also recharge groundwater by diverting water into dykes, channels etc etc rather than running overflow straight down to the Pacific Ocean. Each one of those overflow channels would be small, but thousands of them would create a beautiful big network to recharge California’s long-term underground water storage. Oh, and it might stop subsidence and hard-pan clay collapse as well.
        The whole question concerns two or three issues:
        1. How important is groundwater for water storage in California?
        2. What are the limits to above-ground water storage in years of exceptional precipitation?
        3. Will a combination of groundwater storage and reservoir storage prove to be the long-term sustainable solution to California’s water management issues??

        • But what about the poor bait fish?
          It is more important to save the delta smelt than irrigate crops doncha know.

      • Gnomish, I don’t see any “pick your own lettuce” kiosks in the near future. Nor do I see food production becoming obsolete because it is too expensive. Many of the big AG producers are getting huge subsidies then hiring illegals at slave wages. They’re gaming the system because they can. Arguing that the situation is inevitable and unfixable is just as much BS as arguing the inevitability of permanent drought in California. These arguments only get credence because of how much money is behind them. Stop preaching some dishonest company line. Have you opened up ConAgras books and verified your claims for yourself? Wouldn’t the millions they spend lobbying for subsidies go a long way towards improving wages? What about all the money spent growing fuel crops to support absurd and unnecessary ethanol mandates? What about the subsidy money that eventually turns into dividends for shareholders? Would those shareholders forgo food for their own stomachs to keep the dividends coming? It’s an idiotic suggestion. The demand for food will never go unmet. Yes the system is broken, but it can be fixed. Breaking it further behind the justification that you broke it in the first place is an insult to our intelligence. The economic effects of bringing in endless migrant workers reach far beyond the challenges facing one industry. If big AG can’t compete and operate profitably with legal workers, while so many other industries do, then we should immediately divert their subsidies to support and develop new ventures that can. America does not exist to indemnify ‘failures’ that still manage to pay themselves handsome bonuses and cozy up to power. I’m not buying any of it.

      • Griff has been trying to convince everyone that 6 months of lower than the last few years arctic ice is proof that the arctic has entered a death spiral.

      • There IS an EASY way to solve the potential MickieD situation, If presented with a Touch Screen to place your order simply refuse to give them your business.

      • Dutch
        the first thing you have to understand if you wish to do business is that labor is a cost not a benefit.
        the second thing you have to understand is that raising costs does not result in lower costs or higher productivity or efficiency.
        the third thing you have to understand is that:
        agricultural subsidies have absolutely nothing to do with migrant labor.
        throughout the midwest- on that broad expanse of flat land that’s deep topsoil deposited when glaciers scraped canada to bedrock- they grow beans and corn and corn and beans and one man with his million dollar laser guided john deere does all the tilling and planting and spraying and harvesting.
        cut their subsidies- please. how can it affect labor costs? explain that.
        “I don’t see any “pick your own lettuce” kiosks in the near future. Nor do I see food production becoming obsolete because it is too expensive.”
        that’s probably one of the losingest examples you could have chosen
        count the employees here:

        next time you go to the grocery store- if you do your own shopping- you might notice those live lettuce heads for sale in the very trays they were grown in – almost untouched by human hands.
        similar mechanization is now harvesting tomatoes and other ‘stoop labor’ crops once done only by hand:

        count the employees here.
        nevertheless, having addressed your points, let me comment that they were all but irrelevant and seriously lacking perspicacity.
        btw- i can buy 12 grade A large eggs for a dollar
        so i stopped feeding my chickens because there’s no way i can compete. it costs me more to go find and wash an egg than it does to buy the factory produced ones.
        do you imagine that raising the minimum wage would matter at all?
        so for all your piety and virtue signaling, you have no reason.
        you’re welcome to play expert on the internet but you can’t pull off the act here.

      • oops- i failed to remark on one of your central misconceptions:
        “hiring illegals at slave wages”
        it may be beyond your grasp, but the distinguishing characteristic of slavery is the absence of wages.
        write that on the blackboard 1000 times and see if it sinks in.
        the concept of trading depends on self ownership (that’s what slavery is not)
        the concept of wage depends on respecting the individuals right to sell or not sell his own time/labor/service
        so your metaphysics is corrupted and you may find it impossible to resolve things that are self evident to a sane person.

      • Gnomish, thanks for the ‘Economics brought to you by con agra” speech. And for item by item misinterpreting my points, in order to substitute in your own points and commentary. I at no point argue against automation. If you got anything from my post it was that we NEED A NEW MODEL. That the economic effects of illegal labor exceed the problems of one industry. At least I hope you got this because I said it directly. So where was the part where I was stumping for higher wages? Oh yeah you made that up for purposes of pontifocating. Saying that big AG is exploiting migrants at low wages is not the same as saying they should have higher wages. Do you have the mental capacity to process the difference?
        What I’m saying is let’s innovate. Let’s have the automation. Let’s have the hydroponics. Let’s have one capable person Manning a 50000 SF greenhouse. But have him be American and get paid a fair salary. But let’s not use this as a token example while still bringing migrants to manually pick the remaining 90%. I’ve been to Salinas (have you?). More lettuce grows there than in 10000 of your hydro greenhouses. The town is 50+% illegal and they have a network of bus routes that take them to the fields to pick from dusk till dawn. So your greenhouse is a nice example but I’ve seen the reality and you’re a fraud if you suggest this isn’t it. We’re all ready for your super growhouses but alas the thousand square miles of vegetable crops in the CV tells a different tale. The real one. As for your super harvesters in the Midwest, I am as enamored with them as you are. Because they offer the kind of efficiency we are capable of systemwide. But again where is it systemwide. I lived in California long enough to see that cheap migrant hand labor is the clear choice over these alternatives, regardless of your statement. Don’t they already make lettuce harvesters? Why did I watch 3 Mexicans chasing a 1970s tractor out my office window every morning? Were those straw-mexicans?
        And whatever subsidies do or don’t do they do do the following:. Give big AG firms free money and support bad business like ethanol crops. Not virtue signaling to say it’s bad business. It’s amounts to something costing far more than it is worth. I’d think an economic savant like yourself would recognize that.
        And your chicken example is idiotic. I have 11 chickens. They give 10 bigger-than-jumbo eggs every day,. That’s 300 or 25 dozen a month. From $15 in feed and all they can forage in my yard. That’s 60 cents a dozen. Free range brown eggs are $4 a dozen at my grocery store or nearly 7x the price. You know this but instead compare farm fresh free range eggs to the price of the tiny bleach white mass production eggs in your example please. Why? To make an invalid point valid and beat another strawman with it. Very petty. Seems you are the one playing internet expert. We are probably mostly in favor of the same things. But your economics are misrepresentations. And having actually been to the places you talk about I can tell you your descriptions of reality are bogus too. America’s salad bowl is filled with migrant workers. Fact. There are better alternatives, you agree. Ethanol is a joke and subsidizing it is a ripoff. Every expert in energy policy agrees. Ditching fuel crops would eliminate those losses, free up capacity for other crops, and lower their overall cost to consumers. Econimic fact. Those savings could be applied to automation and they could sell the migrant laborer bus fleet for more capital. Where are the flaws in this? What economic principle is violated here? My only point was that big AG is bringing in migrants at a cost far greater than the problems facing one industry (remember that) . It is happening despite even you admitting that there are better options. So WTF are you even talking about? Methinks you doth protest too much. Virtue signaling yourself perhaps?

      • Dutch, you started off on the wrong foot by making unjustifiable accusations.
        “Stop preaching some dishonest company line.”
        This is calculated to provoke a reaction, not reasonable discussion. If you are not sufficiently self aware to know this- have a free clue.
        By starting with that, you identify yourself as a bigot and nothing else you say gets heard unless and until you correct that.
        If you had a rational point to make, you should have done so.
        Instead you speak of ‘ slave wages’, which is oxy… oxy… uh… oxy – you know who..
        Your rant about subsidies is nothing i will dispute but it was nothing to do with migrant labor. It’s your personal hobby horse you gish galloped thru on.
        You say: “Gnomish, thanks for the ‘Economics brought to you by con agra” speech.”
        I don’t know con agra but your comment is merely meant to disparage and convey that you disapprove of something. Here’s a bit of news, though- I don’t give a flying dutchman what you approve of or don’t – and while i might well be interested in what you think, i’ll need some evidence that it’s the activity you are engaged in – you don’t get credit for it because of your rhetorical maneuvers. They militate against such an interpretation. If you are presenting an argument, I can’t be bothered to excavate it.
        Representing something you call ‘con agra’ as some authority on economic theory just has no intrinsic meaning to me. I can only interpret that as some idiosyncratic notion peculiar to you. You are chasing your own tail. I hope you catch it.
        If your only acquaintance with economics is from magazines of a food company in chicago, you might want to step up your game with a peek at von mises, von hayek or adam smith. otherwise you will likely not be interesting to me.
        Maybe try again with somebody else. You seem very needy and a lot of work. It’s definitely not a job I’m willing to do at no wage.
        anyway – happy valentine’s day. share it with somebody who cares about you if possible.

      • Dutch said:
        ” your chicken example is idiotic. I have 11 chickens. They give 10 bigger-than-jumbo eggs every day,. That’s 300 or 25 dozen a month. From $15 in feed and all they can forage in my yard. That’s 60 cents a dozen.”
        Here’s what really doesn’t happen ever to anyone:
        your sack of feed magically teleports from the feed store to your yard and scatters itself daily, fresh water just appears with no human intervention, nesting boxes fall from the sky, eggs walk themselves to your kitchen sink and wash themselves, climb into boxes and hop into the fridge
        it may be 60 cents a dozen if you have zero labor cost but even slaves have to be fed.
        your awful accounting can not be attributed to innocent or accidental error.
        it was deliberate falsehood.

    • Plenty of fresh water flowing out to sea in the NW of the US and SW Canada. Lay a 20 metre diameter, high tensile, fabric pipeline floating off the bottom of the ocean along the western seaboard. States that have water feed the pipe (and make money), states that do not get water from the pipe (and pay money).
      Good solution for northern China, the Mediterranean Sea etc.
      Cheaper than desalination plants and no pumping required if designed correctly for coastal diversions. It is unaffected by earthquakes and can also be moved, extended and is easily repaired or cleaned.
      No dams required.

    • Ca. wanted to build reservoirs in the 80’s. The Greenies and NGO’s fought that battle and won. Only in Ca.

    • Tom,
      Most people have no idea how heavily California is engineered to make use of its water. A map of California’s hydrological engineering makes it look like a pinball game. More reservoirs would help a bit, but make little difference in a multi-year drought.
      Massive diversions of water would help California’s farmers, at severe ecological cost. But farming is only ~2% of our GDP, and farmers are unwilling to pay for such projects. Only their disproportionate political power makes it viable for the rest of us to pay.

      • Larry, I noted both the misuse of the current system due to “sue-and-settle” green disruption and the lack of new storage. Processing of urban effluent and transport for agriculture/storage is something not yet done, as much of the storage is recharge of ground water.

      • Tom,
        The measure you describe are expensive, and benefit mostly farmers. When farmers are willing to pay for them, they they will be done. That’s free-market economics.
        Why should the rest of California be taxed to pay for grand projects that affect a small fraction of California’s people and produce an even smaller fraction of its GDP? Water policy has become an example of social engineers gone wild. Odd to see so many people here applauding them. Perhaps these new-found command economy fans could chip in to pay for these projects.

        • I may have been unclear. Most of the water storage is in underground aquifers, and the only practical place to do recharge is in rural areas.
          The other problem is that there has been no free market in water in California for a very long time. Water rights attach to the ownership of farmland, mostly, with minor exceptions like Hetch Hetchy and San Francisco. None of the farmers are paying a market rate for water, and water is mostly not readily salable to a higher bidder.

      • Gov Brown is incompetent and should resign as a failure. Look at Oroville Dam. It will be history within the next two weeks.

    • The Delta Smelt are NOT endangered due to too little fresh water. They are a brackish water species and like it a bit salty. They are endangered due to the Imported By The State Japanese Smelt that does like fresh water, eats delta smelt eggs, and hybridizes with them diluting their genes.
      Flushing fresh water out the delta does NOT “save the smelt”, it increases the habitat favorable to the invasive Japanese Smelt (that is doing just fine, thanks…).
      At the time they were imported, the experts were all in agreement it was the same species…

      • It has been nearly ten years since I lived in California, and the only details I picked up on here was that the suit had not been settled, and the state was requiring releases of water into the Delta to “save the delta smelt”.

      • Seriously, your source for information was someone so stupid that he proposes three possible causes for the decline of the delta smelt. a bass species introduced in the bay in 1880 and fished commercially by 1890, a fresh water bass species that doesn’t share any habitat with the delta smelt, and a competing fresh water smelt, citing a paper that points out that it isn’t clear can survive in the habitat that the delta smelt lives in.

    • The Delta Smelt is not an issue. The stupid corrupt judge that was bought of by the Greenies is the problem. That judge was later approached by the defendants to approve a sophisticated screen system that would allow the water to flow to the pumps, but screen the fish out unharmed. The judge said NO, this is not a time to be “experimenting’ wtih some new technolgy. Hah NEW technogy? Same stuff is used to keep fish out of the electric generating turbines at all the dams on the Columbia. Its relatively cheap, works, low maintainance, and is already in use across much of the state.
      No, the problem is the like of the modern SIerra Club, and other activist envirotyrant groups.

    • Such as the lie of drought when last year was absolutely average rainfall and this year is between 180% (snowpack) and up to 200%+ rainfall in some areas?
      The problem is the Palmer Drought Index that uses computer models to decide when the ground is full, and adjusts the precipitation based on (bogus? warmed?) temperatures.
      We’ve had two years of “flooding drought” in California and they are STILL calling it a drought… When you are over double normal precipitation, it is NOT a drought. It is a LIE.

  2. I don’t know if sounds crazy but would you not buy insurance ( Like more reservoirs) just so that if it DOES rain you can collect it and save some water for a dry period? ( sure would have helped this winter and it ain’t over yet!)
    How btw, if anyone is up to date, is the Oroville dam doing tonight? Last I heard they were using the emergency spillway and the lake was a foot higher than that spillway already. I also read that the broken spillway was slowed down. It sounds like it is a real danger.

    • Novel idea, there! Building dams in a drought prone desert area, eh?
      Nah! Kaliafronia needs every budgetary nickel for its high speed twains!

    • The environmental and historical site impact of new reservoirs makes your suggestion extremely unlikely. It is more likely that California will build reservoirs in adjacent states, thus exporting their problems.

      • The only “adjacent state” where reservoirs would do any good is Oregon. In order to be practical, you need to get the water TO the reservoir. Good luck with that with Nevada and/or Arizona. Nevada is the driest state in the country, in large part due to that range of mountains in California that likes to hijack Nevada’s precipitation. Since the rain/snow mostly falls on the WEST side, you’d somehow have to collect it, then get it over/through the Sierra Nevada mountains into Nevada (which, btw, is in addition to being the driest state, is also the most mountainous state in the country) and then get it across more mountains back into California. While I don’t doubt that as a boondoggle endless public works project it may have some attractions, as an actual hyrdo-engineering solution, it’s a FAIL of epic magnitude.
        Oregon, on the other hand, offers more opportunities. Of course, there would be the problem of convincing Oregonians, who, in the areas that have the water, are pretty much as bat dung crazy on environmental issues as Californians, to allow “greedy Californians” to steal their water.

      • but reservoirs, per se, are not the problem, the problem is that the enviroweenies are manipulating the discourse, inventing problems where there are none. California, up until perjaps the early 1950’s, WAS building and planning reservoirs. Other politics derailee, delayed, etc, them and they didn’t get built. Finding was an issue. Now the enviroweenies “just say no”

    • I’ve said this several times on this site: Kalifornia passed a proposal authorizing $7 billion for new reservoirs.
      Only problem was that when you actually read the proposal, a couple billion was actually for dam demolition, some money for “studies”, and the remainder to go to “disadvantaged communities”, i.e., support for illegals. Sierra Club made it plain that the Melones Reservoir (finished in the 70’s) was the last that could be built in Kalifornia without fear of civil disobedience and sabotage.
      We’re paying for more dams, but we’re too stoopid to read the proposals. We deserve to get ripped off by Gerry. He is the right kind of leader for a state of frickin (not fracking) dolts.

      • Kook,
        I can see the Moonbeam.. Not sure it is good for California . . .
        Auto in Surrey [where we do need attention to the potholes!!}

    • The Greeniei econuts have torn down over 500 dams and impoundments in the last ten years. More than all the dams torn down in the history of the country since the Revolution combined. These econuts said they were useless and would never be filled, Typical Sierra Club pseudo science nuttery.

    • I don’t think “using the emergency spillway” is an accurate way to describe it. Once the level of water in the reservoir reaches the top of the spillway, it’s gonna get used whether they want it to be or not.

  3. California needs to implement mandatory toilet flushing multiple times a day just to relieve the pressure of new water arriving in the constrained reservoir system. At present most reservoirs are dumping water to allow for the spring runoff to replenish their supplies. A simpler approach might be to simply flush more often..

    • Who pays for the water? And won’t there be a fee tacked on for processing what is effectively unused water? Not sure there’d be much participation. Might make more sense to test/ clean out the fire hydrants.

    • Toilets are not connected to reservoirs.
      For water to reach toilets, with few exceptions, it must be treated. Increasing the amount of drinking water treated for the sake of people flushing toilets more often and generating more wastewater which gets treated and goes back into their watershed system…that’s a highly ineffectual plan.
      Lake Oroville’s constraint is its spillways. The river downstream of the lake is not flooding. You could take every drop out of that river and it doesn’t solve the problem. And I don’t think there are any water treatment plants on Lake Oroville to draw water on that side of the dam, but even if there were…the outflow at the dam at noon today was 54,900 cfs. That’s a rate of over 35 billion gallons per day. A typical CA toilet flush is 1.6 gallons. The entire county population is about 220,000. Even if you assumed that every single person in Butte County had their own house, was directly connected to a water treatment plant on the lake, and that the water treatment plant somehow had the capacity to treat enough water for this absurd exercise…you are talking over 100,000 flushes per person in a day, or just over 1 per second per person.

  4. Funny, in 2010 to 2012 the leftist Chicken Littles were all squawking about the “never ending drought in Texas,” … “caused by climate change.” The Texas drought ended. But then it was on to the next never ending drought, in California … “caused by climate change.” What a bunch of absolute tripe.
    And btw here’s some data on CA precipitation going back to before 1900. It shows that there’s been nothing unusual about recent drought years in CA:

    • Eric Simson — the precipitation appears to follow — 120 year cycle [with sub-multiples]. The below and above the average 60 year periods follow: M & W pattern, that at the centre a dip or rise for a short period. Below 60 years between 1917 to 1977 ????
      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • Dr. Reddy – if you can detect a 120-year cycle in a record that lasts 121 years, I take my hat off to you, sir!
        I think you spoke too soon.

    • How long before the NOAA homogenizes the above data so that the left side tips up and the right side tips down? And to think I’m only being half fictitious …….

    • As California is a large state with at least 5 different climate zones, I don’t think it can be represented with a single data line.

  5. In Australian the catastrophists said it would never rain again, so the major cities built expensive desalination plants.
    It didn’t just rain, it poured and the Sydney deal plant was put into mothballs and sold to a Canadian pension fund.

    • And the AUD $2B Melbourne plant – never used until very recently when our wonderful other people’s money State Labor government thought that even at this late stage they could save face (they were the morons who built the de-sal plant) by putting in an order for water (AUD $300m, I think) that we don’t need here – the dams are pretty much full!

    • [climbs up on soapbox]
      Personally, I’m fed up with the usage of the term “climate change” as if it were a driver of temps, rainfall, and what have you: “Warmer winters caused by climate change.” “Increased drought caused by climate change.” Climate is the sum of the parts of rainfall amounts, temperatures, etc. over a region that show a long-term pattern — climate doesn’t cause them. These statements are as wrong as calling CO2 “carbon.”
      Saying “climate change causes increased drought” is like saying “Flooding causes increased rainfall,” or “Drought causes decreased rainfall.” Since climate is the sum of various meteorological factors over a 30-year period, that sum cannot therefore be the driver of its constituent parts.
      It’s sloppy usage and its unscientific — perhaps even “anti-science”. It might be a useful construction for alarmists in daily use, but it’s wrong and they should be called on it. The entire conceptual structure becomes “Increased carbon causes climate change,” when the only scientifically valid statement is “Increased atmospheric CO2 causes slight warming.” Everything else is conjecture and in many cases, outright fabrication.
      [gets down from soapbox]

      • James,
        You are obviously not prone to liberal bedwetting syndrome. You been mentally equipped with sufficient education in critical thinking skills to make you resistant to etiology of LBS.
        Which is why it is so dangerous now that Liberals control much of higher education where their push for indoctrination against critical thinking is so damaging and has created the Snowflake generation.

      • over a 30-year period
        This is a bit of stinky carp — just someone’s notion, much as the 2 C° tipping point, or where on another post someone said all French women are beautiful.
        The 30 year thing is meant as local averages (defined [1935] as ‘Normals’) that get recalculated every 10 years. These, especially the temperature “normal”, were never intended to define climate.
        See: the vegetation climate classification of Köppen

      • Fantastic comment!!! How in the hell can a statistical calculation averaged and trended from (cough…hack…gag) raw data be the driver of anything except to drive watermelon heads insane when weather does not cooperate with the contrived climate average.
        Wait a minute!!!!! Finally a useful purpose for climate change. Yes. Let’s continue to use climate change as a talking point as if it really IS the driver. I rather like the idea of warmers screaming in the streets pulling their hair out.

      • John F. Hultquist
        February 12, 2017 at 11:00 am
        “over a 30-year period”
        This is a bit of stinky carp — just someone’s notion, much as the 2 C° tipping point, or where on another post someone said all French women are beautiful.
        The 30 year thing is meant as local averages (defined [1935] as ‘Normals’) that get recalculated every 10 years. These, especially the temperature “normal”, were never intended to define climate.
        See: the vegetation climate classification of Köppen

        Let’s not quibble over terms. Whether climate is a running 30-year average or not, “climate change” does not drive temperature or precipitation. A long-term (however long you prefer) change in temperature or precipitation is the definition of “climate change.”
        Floods still don’t cause rainfall.

  6. It’s looking like this is turning into the wettest drought ever, it will be followed by the driest floods ever.
    James Bull

  7. From Sept 2014 at CNBC…https://disqus.com/home/discussion/cnbc/california_rice_farmer_039probably_sell039_due_to_drought/newest/#comment-1583227008
    Anyone can see by looking at a chart from NCDC that droughts are a regular feature of California. It is all about natural cyclical climate changes. This is where the leaders of this state fail the people. California throws tax money everywhere, such as the high speed rail fiasco. The state does not need high speed rail at this time. Water on the other hand is now desperately needed, yet there is nothing in the works to alleviate the looming problem.
    A possible bright note is that I see a good possibility for strong spring rains next year. The year after that should bring a normal rain, and the year after that will be a likely candidate for a flood event in Northern California.
    In my opinion it is possible to glean enough information from current science and historical records to make some assessments of future conditions. I should have stated the second paragraph more clearly. That paragraph was referring to the winters of 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. I did manage to correctly state the return to average rainfall for Northern California. There are earlier similar comments, if I could readily go find them, as I arrived at this conclusion in early 2014.
    Here is a more clearly expressed comment from Sept 2015,
    “The good news is that this should be the last year of the drought. This fall/winter rainfall should be normal to slightly above normal. The winter of 2016/17 has a strong chance of bringing in a west coast flood event. That will erase the drought. It is currently raining in Northern California. This is the first September rain in years. ………………………………..”
    From here, …https://disqus.com/home/discussion/cnbc/sierra_nevada_snowpack_lowest_in_500_years/#comment-2253607967

  8. This is the quote of the century: “In January Wired attempted to weasel away from their claims by defining drought to mean needing more water than nature provides”. It means Wired solidly believes people, and possibly unicorns in great numbers, not just climate, can cause droughts. This leads me to believe Wired is a sanctuary site on the Internet for morons.

    • … defining drought to mean needing more water than nature provides …

      Beauty. That means that normal precipitation could be defined as drought. All around the world people are extracting ground water faster than it can be replenished by rain. Mexico City is an example.
      The quote reminds me of:

      Why is there so much month left at the end of the money? John Barrymore

      • Ground water has dropped along the Mexico-US border about 100 feet since the 1960s, making tunneling under it possible.

      • We had a well on our Arizona ranch outside of Tucson when I was a child. The water table was still high enough some of the now-dry rivers ran year round and we had this flat boat we kids used to go up and down the Tanque Verde river which was called the green river because trees grew there. No more.

  9. I wouldn’t be so quick about the drought ending. Droughts are ALWAYS multi-season events. I was very impressed by the references below, which made the point that the 20th Century average of @ 200 million acre feet of precipitation in California (rain and snow combined) is way more than the average of @ 140 million acre feet over the last 2000 years.
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/drying-west/kunzig-text, Drying of the West, (February 2008), National Geographic, Kunzig, Robert.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D4EWHPU/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o02_?ie=UTF8&psc=1, The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow, Ingram, B. Lynn, and Malamud-Roam, Frances, 2013, University of California Press
    Quoting myself from a _Modesto Bee_ op-ed almost two years ago (moderator note – I can certainly quote myself):
    “Global warming has nothing to do with this – history is bad enough. A long-standing pre-industrial regional climate fluctuation seems underway, returning us from the wettest century in the past 1000 years to at least the historic average of much less (@70%) rain and snow. Many paleoclimatologists believe we are entering a still worse mega-drought .
    An extreme drought by historic standards means a drop to 35-40% of the 20th Century average for 10-20 years. California has experienced two centuries-long such extreme mega-droughts in the past 2000 years.
    Our average 20th Century precipitation (rain and snow combined) produced about 200 million acre feet of water annually over the whole state. 118 million acre feet went to nature in 2000, and 82 million was allocated by humans – the first 39 million for federal mandates, 9 million was used by people and industry, and the last 34 million for irrigation. A drop to the historic average of @140 million acre feet over the past 2000 years means extinction for California agriculture – it would bear almost all the burden of the decrease even if the federal water is released. An extreme drought means a drop to about 75 million acre feet, and we might be starting 1-2 centuries of that.
    This is happening to the entire Southwest . @20 million acre feet of the Southwest’s precipitation annually entered the Colorado River in the 20th Century, of which @12 million is currently withdrawn by Americans. Colorado River flow too has averaged much less over the past 2000 years (12-14 million acre fee annually), and it drops to 7-8 million in droughts which sometimes last centuries.
    A drop to only the historic average precipitation over the past 2000 years means catastrophe for the Southwest. 2/3 of the very wet 20th Century average is normal for the entire area. We can expect ALL of California’s allotment of Colorado River to be diverted to urban areas in Arizona and Nevada in the decades of drought the region seems to be entering.”

    • The point is that your rational and historically informed analysis is rejected by the climate obsessed because it does not conform to their CO2 dogma.

    • One of the dangers in calculating averages, is that high and low points are ignored.
      When discussing or planning around a major life support requirement, one must plan for the highs and lows.
      California has been all about the average water supply for several decades; which allowed California to ignore reality.
      California’s hosting of a significant portion of America’s ‘Doomster dependent’ horde, has not helped California. Using a “insufficient water for the population” as a drought basis, California would have to drown for years; by Californian calculations, ignoring historical droughts and just focusing on insufficient water per capita.
      California needs to consider historical low water for developing and providing sufficient water supplies.
      California must consider historical high water years in planning flood control and hillside collapse response teams. The mountains out west have a necessary amount of erosion that occurs during and after rainstorms, tsunami or earthquakes.
      An excellent comment from Mosher. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Tom,
      You are conflating different meanings of the word “drought.” This post uses it in the usual sense, referring to precipitation over a multi-year period. The dought has ended leaving reservoirs full (some are already dumping water to prevent floods later) and the snowpack dangerously high (i.e., flooding risk).
      The NOAA article I cite — “Western drought: It ain’t over ’til…well, it ain’t over” by Deke Arndt, 2 February 2017 s — discussed the The hydrological cycle drought, which ends when groundwater is recharged. That would take years; it might never happen with farmers’ high rates of pumping. He also mentions that there are longer cycles in the historical record, visible using proxies — drought periods. Understanding all of these is essential to make workable public policy for the US Southwest.
      My point in this post is a simple one (suitable for a note of 700 words): activists exaggerations create public impressions that are often disproven by events, leaving the public with less confidence in scientists — and making rational public policy more difficult to build.

  10. There has been a fair amount of stuff written about how “deniers” must suffer from some form of Psychosis and yet on a regular basis we see supposed authorities proclaim such radical predictions and the press without question, research, or investigation, broadcasting the claims to the public as science based fact even in peer reviewed journals and a significant portion of the public readily believe it. This despite the fact that time and again these same supposed authorities have made pronouncements in the past which were proven fallacious.
    And then in the larger media and on this blog and others we see time and again those that defend such BS until it becomes apparent even to them that it is indefensible and then all of a sudden the “evidence” for “climate change” moves on to some other place or forms and the record of failed predictions is forgotten by the press and those that propagated and defended the fallacious predictions.
    So who are the psychotics?

  11. Australia was also told that drought would become the permanent climate…. Despite the fact that Australia is the utter epitome of a country with Drought and Flooding rains…. We even have poems about it , ‘I love a Sunburnt country’ by Dorothea Mackellar http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm
    The Brisbane Floods of 2011 were because Government had been told by activist scientists that rain would never fill the Dams and rivers again…. Billions of taxpayers money was spent building Desalinators instead of catchment dams.
    Flood mitigation dams like the Wivenhoe dam above Brisbane city on the Brisbane river, became water catchment dams. Brisbane city is actually built upon a floodplain in a monsoon area. Ecofascism reigned supreme.
    Then in 2011, the rains came and utterly flooded Brisbane, washed away entire towns…. Because those ecofascist activists refused to listen to reason or science.

  12. Great article until the gratuitous smear of the conservatives. Skeptics- who are mostly conservative- have been proven justified and time again. There is no AGW crisis. The science, if science means reality, proves it. It is the lefties who would destroy California to save it from AGW, and have done much dama in real terms. Conservatives were out of the process. The same holds true on the national and global scales: Conservative voices have been deliberately, and typically with cruel dismissiveness, excluded. Climate obsessed people, like former President Obama, could not even hear questions of what is now shown to be false resulting in failed policies and outrageous wastes of public money. Even now the climate obsessed are planning to “save climate” by misusing the courts to halt the current President from any attempts at reform. And to impose censorship on us all by under the cynical excuse of “protecting” us from “fake news”. Even as left controlled news publishes the most transparent fabricated and untrue “news” seen in an allegedly free press. So please stop pretending is a typical symmetrical issue. It is much worse. So called “climate change” (an irrational deceptive name of itself) has somehow made our fellow citizens on the left vulnerable to some of the worst ideas and policy demands and anti-democratic ideas available. Right wingers in general are no where close. Skeptics in particular gave been reasonable, correct, and rational. Focus on the real problem: how did such a goofy idea like the climate obsession become the left’s social mania, as bad and potentially dangerous as eugenics?

  13. “We don’t even plan for the past.”— Steven Mosher

    Correct. But it does like you alter it.

  14. Somewhere in the south-east of the UK (sorry, can’t remember exactly where) there is a system whereby in times of surplus water, it is pumped underground in order to replenish the aquifer. This helps to keep streams flowing in chalk areas that would otherwise dry up in dry spells, killing the fish etc.

  15. But telling the truth [ … ] would have been politically useless for the Left.
    What was the Left’s objective? What political use to the Left was predicting a drought?

  16. We had similar dire predictions here in Queensland Australia about 10 years ago. Permanent drought was the catch cry of left wing politicians, media and academics. Then we got massive floods. Hilarious, if the floods weren’t so tragic.

  17. The southern half of Western Australia is the place in the world most similar climatewise to California. In a normal summer it hardly rains at all here. Over the last month (SH mid-summer) we have had huge rainfall with many places getting over 10″ of rain (we don’t have much in the way of mountains). Likely just a local phenomena, but don’t assume California’s summers will always be dry, which was the assumption here.

    • CA’s western coastal Mediterranean climate cousins:
      “On every continent except Antarctica, the west coasts share a similar climate, called the Mediterranean climate. It is characterized by warm to hot summers with basically no rainfall, and winters that are short, mild, and wet. A world map of Mediterranean climate regions shows that in addition to the Mediterranean Basin and the coast of California, the west coast of South America from Peru to Chile, the northwest part of Africa, parts of western and southern Australia, and parts of South Africa all share the Mediterranean climate. The sweet spot is at about 35 degrees latitude, both north and south.”
      No mention of CO2.

      • Russell and RAH,
        “The permanent drought is over…. Permanently!”
        Yes, and no. There is no such thing as a “permanent drought”. But the US SW has had multi-century long cycles of drought. We need to be aware of those when planning.
        ” the Palmer Drought Index is not an accurate representation of reality.”
        People ask too much of such indexes. Metrics, whether the Palmer Drought Index or Unemployment rate” are abstractions, giving one slice of perception of the world. They’re not representations of the Cosmic All. Experts use they accordingly. They have six forms of the unemployment rate and many indexes measuring droughts.

  18. Larry ‘Let me help you both’ Kummer
    “In this as in other things, only a reality-based community can reform America. Too bad neither Left nor Right has any interest in giving up their tribal beliefs to focus on the often-inconvenient truth. Look here for ideas about ways you can help.”
    – to reform America.

  19. For all their fatuous talk about “sustainability” (which they define in a manner that agrees with their
    tactics) liberals bringing in illegals willing to work for the low wages that apparently Californians believe is their God-given right is perhaps the dopiest “solution” to problems of their own making.
    If no one is willing to pay enough for those “unwanted jobs” to attract workers (due to a certain extent by competitive welfare wages) then perhaps those jobs should not exist at all. I also would think that the state prison system could supply virtually unlimited workers, and they would likely
    find the low wages very acceptable. Those illegals won’t be satisfied for long by those low wage jobs and in a few short years, their children won’t need to take them either. Therefore it looks like the illegal alien solution is never-ending and not a sustainable solution either.

    • Illegal immigration is the peculiar institution of the left. It keeps the census counts in democrat party controlled urban areas high. This allows for over representation in Congress. It also keeps federal funding, mostly given on per cap basis, high as well. It also allows for reduced wages which increases dependency. It’s more lucrative than the earlier democrat party’s peculiar institution, slavery.

  20. In the late 50’s we Ohioans had a multi-year drought. My little home town had two small reservoirs that came within an inch of drying up. In a blinding flash of the obvious, town leaders bought up land to build a third reservoir with more than twice the capacity of the first two. We haven’t had a drought since, but the bonds are all paid off and people sleep at night.
    But what do I know…I’m not from California.

  21. “In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since.
    “Sixty-six inches of rain fell in Los Angeles that year, more than four times the normal annual amount, causing rivers to surge over their banks, spreading muddy water for miles across the arid landscape. Large brown lakes formed on the normally dry plains between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, even covering vast areas of the Mojave Desert. In and around Anaheim, , flooding of the Santa Ana River created an inland sea four feet deep, stretching up to four miles from the river and lasting four weeks.”

  22. In Arizona, we pump water into the ground to recharge our aquifers. In fact, most of our water is now stored underground and not in reservoirs. Hello CA… anyone listening or watching?

    • That was mainly due to the fact that the CAP water was so expensive and that was even after US taxpayers paid most of the tab.

      • Water availability, not the price is the supposed lament of the econutty Left.
        As to the uselessness of at the present time, unneeded de-salinazation plants, they are no different, in principle, than a reservoir half full, at the present moment in time.

  23. Caveat: I probably don’t know what I am talking about.
    I thought drought/drought conditions were based on past averages of precipitation and the deficits going forward. Meaning, technically there could still be a drought despite being in monsoon conditions if the past totals of deficits weren’t made up.
    That’s easily how AGW supporters can claim “permanent drought.” Has CA erased the past deficits?

    • Just add that the ‘ground filling up’ is a computer model with dodgy assumptions, it doesn’t count snow and frozen ground well (or at all), and the precipitation amounts are adjusted by the bogus temperature data from NOAA and you are getting there… The Palmer Drought Index is seriously broken. Heck, even the wiki about it says so. (Cue the Wiki Langoliers…)

  24. Here is something I have learned: Whenever you see the word “could” in a headline about some possible undesirable effect, it really means “will not even come close to”. “Could” is a weasel word meant to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). It is always used instead of “would” because the authors know their predictions will not come true but want to scare nonetheless. When, not if, it does not come true, the authors will just say ‘we didn’t say it would happen, just that it could happen.’ By using the magical word “could”, an alarmist of any type can put out the most insane scare story in an attempt to motivate you to action.
    Here are some examples:
    “Why the US trade gap could obstruct Trump’s economic vision” — INCORRECT
    “Why the US trade gap will not even come close to obstructing Trump’s economic vision” — CORRECT
    “Future summers could be hotter than any on record” — INCORRECT
    “Future summer will not even come close to being hotter than any on record” — CORRECT
    “Brexit could further harm woeful rural payments system” — INCORRECT
    “Brexit will not even come close to harming woeful rural payments system” — CORRECT

  25. It’s been said before but needs repeating.
    “It never rains in California
    But girl don’t they warn ya
    It pours, man it pours”
    (Albert Hammond)

  26. * * * * * * *
    Climatologists are desperately trying to explain the mystery of where southern Australia’s winter rainfall is going. They’ve known the rain is being pulled south by an unexplained force. Now they’ve devised a revolutionary new theory to explain why. It appears that the circulation of the entire Southern Hemisphere is changing to suck our rain away. The reason is the Antarctic Vortex – a natural tornado of 30km high, super-cold, super-fast winds spiralling around Antarctica. The vortex is not new; it’s one of the engines that drive climate in the Southern Hemisphere. But now it appears the vortex is shifting gear, and is spinning faster and faster, and getting tighter. As it does it’s pulling the climate bands further south dragging rain away from the continent out into the southern ocean. Most disturbing of all we might be responsible for shifting the speed of the vortex. Scientists at the US Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research believe the speeding up of the vortex is caused by the combined effect of global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer over Antarctica. If their theory is true it will have devastating consequences for our southern cities – the drought may not go away.
    ACB Catalyst, Drought Vortex, 2003
    * * * * * * *
    “DROUGHT will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future, according to the nation’s urban water industries chief…. “The urban water industry has decided the inflows of the past will never return,” Water Services Association of Australia executive director Ross Young said. “We are trying to avoid the term ‘drought’ and saying this is the new reality.”
    -The Age, 2007
    * * * * * * *
    “Drought is too comfortable a word,” said John Williams, the New South Wales state Commissioner for Natural Resources. “Drought connotes a return to normal. We need to be adjusting.”
    -Cosmos, 2007
    * * * * * * *
    “The pattern that we’re seeing now in the weather in Australia is very much the pattern was predicted by computer models as much as a decade ago.We will have to get by with less water. The CSIRO’s telling us that. We’re seeing it now, in the evidence before our eyes in our rivers and creeks, and of course the computer models in the global models have been predicting just this now for some years. I think all evidence says that this is our new climate and we have to get by with less water than we’ve ever had before.”
    -Tim Flannery, 2007
    * * * * * * *
    Climate change boosted Australia’s 2010 floods (Climate News Network, 2011)
    * * * * * * *
    Scientists see climate change link to Australian floods (Reuters, 2011)
    * * * * * * *
    Warmer ocean temperatures worsened Queensland’s deadly 2011 floods (ABC, 2015)
    * * * * * * *
    Climate change and La Niña may bring severe floods to Australia — “It is highly likely that January 2017 could see floods similar to those in 2011.” [didn’t happen] (NewScientist, 2015)
    * * * * * * *
    Lesson learned: Heads they win, tails we lose.
    Models back that up.

  27. California is a desert, and rainfall won’t follow a “Normal” distribution. In a majority of years, California will have below average rainfall, in a few years, way above average rainfall..

    • Posting on Austrailia drought pronouncements pretty much covers it. Politicians have to give voters a reason to support them. Environmentalism works on a certain part of the population. Once in office you control funding and appointments.
      Also true that weather is closely followed by many in the population creating a sensitive spot for propaganda. Your once friendly television weatherperson morfs into a theory spouting loon without notice.
      Is there a price for failure?

      • “Your once friendly television weatherperson morfs into a theory spouting loon without notice.”
        The Weather Channel is a good example of that. They are becoming unwatchable.

      • ‘Is there a price for failure?’
        Were our major cities of Melbourne and Sydney actually go into a long term drought and the dams actually not fill, we would run out of power to desalinate water.
        Why, because the additional power required would be too unreliable and subject to blackouts when we reach the SA renewable goals.

  28. The California snow pack has clearly recovered. The last really big year was 2010-2011 where snowfall was about twice average (>800″ @ 8200′) and if not for that, the drought that followed would have been far worse. The accumulated snowfall so far is about 1 month ahead of where it was in 2010-2011 and in most places already exceeds the total amount received in any year since. There’s more snow still on the ground at the 6000′ level than I’ve seen in decades, despite the recent rain which for the most part just increased the water content of the snow on the ground.

  29. Two lessons from the California drought: don’t build houses in the desert and build more water storage.

    • Emanuelle,
      As I mentioned upthread, it is not possible to build sufficient water storage in California to make much different in a multi-year drought. Also, the good sites are almost all taken (a map of California’s hydro infrastructure makes the state look like a pinball machine).
      Plus, the beneficiaries are farmers — who are unwilling to pay for these expensive construction projects. They’re roughly 2% of California’s GDP, so state funds are better used on its many other critical needs.

      • The start of the Los Angeles River is some 40+ miles from its outlet into the ocean. In addition to rainfall and runoff, it receives flow from at least 1 major wastewater treatment plant. Large portions of it are concrete channels, which means zero recharge in those sections. Lots of wasted water.
        Sure, open reservoir sites may be relatively “taken,” but there is aquifer storage and recovery as an option. 40-60% of water usage in CA is groundwater.
        This map doesn’t look unique compared to other states https://i0.wp.com/mavensnotebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/California-water-infrastrucure.jpg

      • Michael,
        Anything can be done. The question is determining who will pay for it. The farmers will gain the most from adding to California’s water — as they are the largest user, pay the least, and are the first to have their supply cut.
        Will they pay to implement your ideas? California history suggests not. That is the ultimate free market answer.
        The usual solution is — as we see in these comments, ignoring the question of who pays — or to use political power to get others to pay for it.

  30. The most important lesson is that the climate committed will learn no lesson. The politicians who are committed to pushing the climate hype agenda will not change a thing. The climate activistdbeill deny there is any reason to reconsider.

  31. The spin will be that climate change is causing extremes – drought and rainfall – and that we’d be so much better off if things were more consistent like they used to be.

  32. Aren’t we all in a permanent drought? Using Wired’s definition. If we disregard the entire water supply industry and infrastructure, all city dwellers are a permanent drought.

  33. “Roman-style aqueducts were used as early as the 7th century BC, when the Assyrians built an 80 km long limestone … is still debated, but some evidence supports circa A.D. 540–552, in response to drought periods in the region”
    Have we gone backwards?

      • Going backwards might help. Several fountains in Pompeii still work, approximately 1938 years after the city was buried by debris from a massive volcano eruption.
        I think the Romans are winning. (Especially since said fountains have not been maintained since 79 AD.)

  34. Here in California our drought will never be over. It is not a matter of climate but rather a matter of Mankind’s out of control population. Droughts and floods are part of our current climate so if we could stop climate change, droughts and floods will be locked in. Actually a climate has yet to be identified where droughts and floods are not a possibility. Maybe it would be best if the entire state were convered with an ice sheet.

    • Willhass,
      “t is not a matter of climate but rather a matter of Mankind’s out of control population”
      Fortunately that is not correct. There is enough water in California for many more people. Urban water use is 8% to 13% of the State’s water. Ag consumes 30% to 50% of the State’s water (depending on the year) , and produces roughly 2% of California’s GDP.
      See Water Use in California by the Public Policy Institute of California.

      • No that is correct. The human populaton requires ag products so ag usage is part of the human demand. Here is Southern California the rain we get does not matter that much because we import so much water from other locations. That import of water requires energy. Much of the state is desert or semi arid and drought conditions are the standard. Just 200 years ago the county where I live was mostly ranch land and wilderness but today it is mostly urban and sumurban. They have been trying to pave over the entire county.

      • Has California offered to buy the farmer’s land or, at least, pay for annual lost income from lost land use to compensate farmers for not growing crops? Or, are the farmers expected to lose the use of their land, be unable to sell it, pay taxes on it anyway and receive no compensation?

      • Sailor,
        “Has California offered to buy the farmer’s land ”
        When did this become a socialist state? Little rain, so urban populations have to buy the farmers’ land? Well, you can start a collection from people willing to do so. Using the State’s police power to do so seems a bit much.

      • Willhas,
        ” The human populaton requires {California’s} ag products so ag usage is part of the human demand. ”
        That’s not even remotely true of American farming. Cheap California ag products — grown with subsidized water — have helped drive farmers our of business in much of America. For example, much of the farmland in the well-watered Northeast has gone fallow in the past few decades. And continues to go so, as the farmers die and the land is abandoned.
        I’ve seen that happen during my lifetime in Central New York. The US has ample unused farmland to replace expensively irrigated desert in California — some irrigated using rapidly depleting groundwater, some with water lifted over mountains.

    • Will,
      As I have repeatedly showed you, human population growth is so far from out of control that its rate has been cut in two.
      The only reason that CA’s population is growing is because of net immigration, with US citizens fleeing it in droves and illegal aliens more than taking their place.

  35. So a drought is “… needing more water than nature provides …” They can not control nature so they must then control the “needing” part of the equation. So California must either stop the unregulated flow of people or tell everybody to return to the good old days of only bathing on Saturday “whether you need it or not”. Or should that be “weather you need it or not”. And say “goodbye” to green lawns and parks and pools.

    • Chuck,
      “So California must either stop the unregulated flow of people or tell everybody to return to the good old days of only bathing on Saturday “whether you need it or not”.”
      Fortunately, that is widely believed but a myth. As I noted several times upthread, urban water use is a small fraction of Calfiornia’s water use. Farming uses most, producing a tiny fraction of California’s GDP.
      California will eventually get rational public policies to manage water, as free market economics slowly exert their power. As the ancient adage says, “The mills of economics grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mills_of_God)

  36. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
    ― H.L. Mencken

  37. Meanwhile another storm with high winds is heading for the constituents of Edward Markey. They deserve it most, along with freezing rain.

  38. Hello to you all from Perth, Western Australia which Australia’s own Tim Flannery predicted would be the first ghost city of the 21st century due to permanent drought. Tim Flannery also predicted that the dams in the eastern part of Australia would NEVER be full again. He is wrong on that count and I am here to vouch that my home town is doing very nicely, thank you, and that we had over 100mm (4 inches) of rain last Friday.
    In the meantime our taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation still reports Tim Flannery’s utterances as if they are Holy Writ.

  39. From the article: “In this as in other things, only a reality-based community can reform America. Too bad neither Left nor Right has any interest in giving up their tribal beliefs to focus on the often-inconvenient truth.”
    Equating the Left and Right in this manner is incorrect.
    The Left is much more prone to living in a false reality than is the Right. The Right doesn’t have nearly as many crazies associated with it as does the Left. Not even close.
    You don’t see thousands of Repubicans roaming America’s street tearing things up, do you? No, you see the Left doing all the destruction and all the hating. Not the Right.
    Don’t equate the Left with the Right. They are two completely different animals. Only those who want to blur the differences, or those who don’t understand the differences, do such things. Don’t do it.

  40. Global warming should make thing wetter. Why is this consistently reported incorrectly?
    Warm air contains more moisture than cold air. Warm air evaporates more water from the oceans, and transports that water to the land. Looking back historically, times of intense glaciation have also been times of intense desertification, and visa versa.
    Warm is wetter.

  41. Fabius M. “Too bad neither Left nor Right has any interest….” Your even-handedness is commendable, but the right is definitely coming off a bit better on this, you have to admit. You have divided the population “debating” climate change into right and left. There are (at least) four divisions: right contrarians (for things left, good or bad), right scientifically literate contributors who practice empirical and objective science the old fashion way, left scientific illiterates who, none the less value solidarity with their elites and accept what they are told, and left scientists who even admit to dishonesty but justify it because the direction it takes us politically is the correct one (there are of course honest ones but they have little influence on the “debate”). Each side likes to identify the other monolithically as the non scientific members of the tribe, I’ll give you that.
    But a larger problem is you, yourself. You actually believe (not being a scientist) that honest debate between the two would resolve the differences. That there are honest differences and legitimacy on both sides. You don’t buy into the idea that the new left isn’t really interested in the science. It is the leverage that this CAGW scare gives them to achieve political ends. Indeed, you see they are wrong on droughts and a host of other scary scenarios, but why would you think that the CAGW scientists refuse to debate the science. They can’t believe the science is settled – take the California endless drought for example, or the constant fiddling with the temperature record that always makes the past cooler and the present warmer. Nature itself is winning the debate anyway and that should cause you to think a little more deeply into motivations…and the right being on the side of an angel or two.

  42. this article is 50% bull manure . ground water is a major issue and one or two wet winters will not solve it, I know and am living with it.

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