“We” must all sacrifice for the environment

Foreword by Paul Dreissen

Being “hoisted by his own petard” means the bomb maker gets blown up and lifted sky high by his own explosive device. Former Colorado Department of Natural Resources director Greg Walcher notes that the term applies with delicious irony to the in-your-face, holier-than-thou environmentalists who inhabit and run San Francisco.

Determined to save locally endangered salmon populations, they and the State of California have long demanded and imposed water use reductions by Central Valley farmers. But now the California Water Resources Board wants further water use reductions – and this time those reductions will also hit city residences, schools and businesses, and hit them hard: a hefty portion of 98 billion to 220 billion gallons less water per year! Imagine how many baths, showers, laundry and dishwasher loads, and other “essentials” that would mean.

But those rules and reductions were supposed to apply only to OTHER people, the once ultra-green urbanites are wailing.

We must all sacrifice for the environment

But I meant you – not me! We’re supposed to be exempt from rules we inflict on others.

Guest opinion by Greg Walcher

Have we become a society of people who want to regulate others, but not ourselves? We laugh at those who suddenly object to a policy that seemed perfectly OK when (they thought) it only applied to others.

We make fun of Al Gore demanding that “we” end “our” fossil fuel use, while he travels the world in private jets and SUVs. We chortle about politicians and Hollywood stars advocating gun control while surrounded by heavily armed bodyguards.

In truth, such hypocrisy is common, because the desire to control other people’s behavior is human nature, at least for many. Yet our attempts at control frequently come back to haunt us.

In Hamlet’s most famous speech, he predicted that a would-be assassin might end up being “hoist with his own petard.” A “petard” is a bomb, so Hamlet meant the bomb maker might be blown up (“hoisted” off the ground) by his own explosives.

Today that Shakespearean phrase is a common proverb describing poetic justice, another way of saying “caught in his own trap,” or “what goes around comes around.”

San Francisco officials are once again learning this, as they struggle yet again with water shortages. Several times, endangered species issues have come back to haunt some of the nation’s most unyielding environmental campaigners and their elected officials. (San Francisco is the birthplace and headquarters of the Sierra Club.)

Yet the City has never moderated its in-your-face, holier-than-thou environmentalism. When President Trump announced the U.S. exit from the Paris climate deal, San Francisco announced that it would comply with the intent anyway, by limiting local fossil fuel use.

The City has also banned plastic straws, grocery bags and Styrofoam containers. It even requires solar panels on private buildings. If something is on the environmental industry wish list, San Francisco is leading the way.

But when the same activists insist on leaving more water in the rivers, to protect salmon, they mean water from Central Valley farmers – not their own water. Up to now, state regulators have obliged, and water restrictions have been imposed on farms to the south for 25 years.

Hundreds of billions of gallons of water previously used for irrigation have been flushed to the ocean, rather than sent through the California Aqueduct to the Central Valley, supposedly to protect salmon migration and spawning. Nevertheless, area salmon remain endangered.

So now the California Water Resources Control Board proposes further restrictions, this time including water that is part of San Francisco’s municipal supply.

Public hearings are generating numerous angry responses. That’s hardly surprising, since the plan would double the flow of water in the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced Rivers, leaving more water for salmon, but less for the City – a lot less.

In fact, it could mean an annual reduction of 300,000 to 675,000 acre-feet of water for the Bay Area. In everyday household terms, that’s 98 billion to 220 billion gallons per year! Imagine how many baths, showers, laundry and dishwasher loads, lawn waterings and restaurant glasses of water that would mean.

Imagine how many almonds, walnuts, tomatoes, grapes, olives, apricots and peaches, how much cotton and rice, how much milk and cheese would not be produced in the Central Valley, if that much additional water is taken from farmers.

While San Francisco’s water supply has been mired in controversy for a century, today the city has some of the purest water in the nation. That’s because its water comes from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Image from National Park Service by Clarisa Flores

The losing battle against building that dam and reservoir was a defining battle cry of Sierra Club founder John Muir, who vigorously opposed it. The dam was built anyway, and since the 1920s it has delivered Tuolumne River water to San Francisco, and to farms near Modesto.

But San Francisco’s water rights are junior to the agricultural rights, so the City could actually face the largest reductions.

Golden Gate City leaders, their environmentalist allies and normally ultra-green citizens are outraged. They never intended that water reductions they so strongly support would have any effect on themselves.

Meanwhile, a local group called “Restore Hetch Hetchy” advocates tearing down the dam. In 2012 it got an initiative on the local ballot for that very purpose. But San Francisco voters voted it down. They support tearing down other people’s reservoirs, not their own.

The opponents then went to court, and have been there ever since. Ironically, they’re fighting the City itself, which argues that the legality of Hetch Hetchy is “settled,” and that the reservoir’s water supply is now indispensable.

Adding still more to the petard-like irony, the reservoir doesn’t just supply water to 2.7 million residents and businesses in more a dozen Bay Area communities. It also generates significant hydroelectric power, which is vital for a city and state that have vowed to end all electricity generation from nuclear, coal and natural gas facilities.

Suddenly, the once vital salmon somehow seem less important to City leaders.

Their alternative is (predictably) to have the State spend vastly more on “river restoration,” including killing competing fish. But even if that helps the salmon, it won’t satisfy the environmental industry, which still wants more water restrictions.

Perhaps water leaders across the West can be forgiven for thinking, “Welcome to our world,” if San Francisco is being hoist with its own petard. It is a world the Golden Gate City helped create.

Greg Walcher is president of the Natural Resources Group, author of Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take it Back, and a former head of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

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D. Anderson
September 27, 2018 11:44 am

I’ve always thought the Great Lakes States should use their vast water resources to market themselves.

Are you thirsty? We aren’t. And we never will be.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  D. Anderson
September 27, 2018 1:05 pm

Hey it’s not just “their” water.

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
September 27, 2018 1:15 pm

The government should tax those who have more water than the government has decided you need, so that it can be given to those who don’t have enough.

If it’s good enough for money, it’s good enough for water.

Andrew Ward
Reply to  MarkW
September 27, 2018 2:42 pm

How else would you described tiered water rates?

Reply to  Andrew Ward
September 27, 2018 5:51 pm

I live on the watershed divide between the Ohio river and Lake Erie. You cannot use one drop of Lake Erie water on a garden on the Ohio river side even if your property encompasses both districts. The treaty with Canada forbids the use of Great Lakes water outside the Great Lakes watershed. The Chicago sewageway was grandfathered in and is an exception.

Enforcement is in effect.

George Daddis
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
September 27, 2018 7:46 pm

Yes, Robert, you’re absolutely right!
Therefore we promise to only tap the water from OUR half of the lake.

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
September 27, 2018 10:36 pm

Adorno and Horkheimer had the idea to politicize «NATURE» and USE that to dominate kapitalism and the People. What they really want is a radical change of society. They want to tear down the Western World and have no idea to what.

Reply to  Santa
September 28, 2018 8:36 am

Speaking of political, CA inviting & protecting millions of illegals into the state just might have an impact on water usage.

Jason Calley
Reply to  Wally
September 28, 2018 7:50 pm

Yes, it is madness. “Everyone is welcome! Free everything! Come to us!” And simultaneously, “Man is a blemish on nature! Save nature untouched!”

Smart Rock
Reply to  D. Anderson
September 27, 2018 6:01 pm

Any export of Great Lakes waters (beyond the States and Provinces that border them) requires approval of both Canada and the United States, under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty. It isn’t as simple as just selling it. Sorry, guy. There’s an International Joint Commission that rules water issues.

IIRC the Boundary Waters Treaty came about because the city of Chicago was using water from Lake Michigan to flush its shit sewage down into the Mississipi River system, and they used so much that the lake levels went down and it impeded shipping downstream.

Also IIRC there’s a US-Mexico treaty on the Rio Grande. There’s a long history of collaboration between nations in Europe over the shared use of the big rivers that run through multi countries.

David Chappell
Reply to  Smart Rock
September 27, 2018 6:22 pm

“… it impeded shipping downstream.”
The sewage or the water?

September 27, 2018 11:45 am

Couldn’t happen to a better place.

bit chilly
Reply to  Mike-SYR
September 27, 2018 5:24 pm


Reply to  Mike-SYR
September 28, 2018 5:48 am

Oh No! How are the power washer crews ever going to clear the excrement from the sidewalks without water!? Oh the humanity!

I really couldn’t figure out how to post that in the snark font. Someone really needs to invent that so I can use it when posting.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  OweninGA
September 28, 2018 8:23 am

San Francisco has done all of this to themselves. Don’t you just love it?

Joel Snider
September 27, 2018 11:49 am

Once again, a Progressive assumes his values must be mine.
Funny how it’s always something I’VE got to do.

I pretty much ask nothing of them except to be left alone, and live how I choose. Clearly that’s not in the cards.

Reply to  Joel Snider
September 27, 2018 12:07 pm

Not so much that his values are the same as anyone else, but that his values are the correct ones and that all others are in need of correction… by force if necessary.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Rocketscientist
September 27, 2018 12:22 pm

That’s actually what I meant – perhaps I wasn’t clear – ‘must be mine’ meant it wasn’t up to me.

Mr. David Laing
Reply to  Joel Snider
October 4, 2018 12:52 pm

He should read my recent research, which shows that CO2 doesn’t, and in fact can’t, function as a greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere. So should you: https://www.asianacademicresearch.org/2018_paper/september_md_2018/3.pdf

September 27, 2018 11:52 am

I guess this is the “next best thing” to completely tearing down Hetch Hetchy dam and restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley to the grandeur observed by none other than John Muir … which is what the eco-zealots have been attempting for decades …

Reply to  Kenji
September 28, 2018 8:21 am

And then they’d complain about every public restroom suddenly using composting toilets, completely failing to connect the dots as to why.

kent beuchert
September 27, 2018 12:01 pm

It’s not as though they are actually protecting the salmon species, just a biologically insignificant local
sub species. Anyone ever argue why these local salmon should be so important to people?
I’d say it’s about time for the pro reservoir folks to estimate how many human deaths will occur if that water is diverted elsewhere.

Reply to  kent beuchert
September 27, 2018 1:54 pm

That estimate would require them to place a higher value on human life than animal life; they do not share that value.

September 27, 2018 12:03 pm

Who is “we” kemo sabe.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  bluecat57
September 27, 2018 12:29 pm

It is, “Who is “we” pale-face?”

As in Tonto’s response to The Lone Ranger’s declaration that “We must fight to the death” after they are surrounded by a hundred murderous Apache warriors.

R Taylor
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 27, 2018 4:29 pm

Yes, but prior to The Lone Ranger’s declaration, Tonto observed “Kemo Sabe, we are surrounded by a hundred murderous Apache warriors.”

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 27, 2018 6:23 pm

The real reply in that joke goes “What do you mean we, paleface?”

Non Nomen
September 27, 2018 12:15 pm

Well, you Frisco-folks, take some kilotonnes of sunshine and wind, convert it and get ocean water desalinated. Costs? Hmmmm…you can’t eat the salmon and have it.

Reply to  Non Nomen
September 28, 2018 3:15 am

You can cure the salmon with what’s left from the desalination! 😉

September 27, 2018 12:17 pm

My favorite example of blatant hypocrisy results from British Colombia preventing Alberta from having a better pipeline to get her oil to tide water. Alberta responded by threatening to turn off the oil she exports to British Colombia. Naturally, British Colombia squealed like a stuck pig. link

BTW, I was referring to a pig advisedly. I apologize to any sus scrofa or sus domestica who may take offense.

Reply to  commieBob
September 27, 2018 12:53 pm

Ah yes, our intrepid leader threatened a lawsuit to shut down the pipeline – and then threatened a lawsuit when Alberta said they WOULD shut down the pipeline.
The hypocrisy is strong in this one.
Those of us British Columbians who actually have a clue were all for shutting down the pipeline. We figured it would take about a week for the pain to hit, and about 2 more weeks to drive the point home.

Reply to  commieBob
September 27, 2018 4:05 pm

The last poll that I am aware of shows the majority of British Columbians in favour of the Trans Mountain. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trans-mountain-pipeline-supporters-in-bc-poll-1.4624611
Even most of the indigenous communities affected by the pipeline support it. And yet it is stalled. I believe that Canada now is a nation of 635 nations who must apparently agree unanimously before any developments can proceed. With the irresponsible delaying of the Trans Mountain, we can only hope that it is slowly dawning on our PM that a country made of hundreds of nations, each with the power of veto, is not a functional country.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  BCBill
September 28, 2018 9:01 pm

The Sierra Club is against the pipeline and until they approve, they will continue to fund opposition to it. So make that 636 interested parties. Money gets a vote too, eh?

John the Econ
September 27, 2018 12:18 pm

If there is one constant I’ve observed about Progressives, it’s their predisposition towards making demands of others while eschewing any change on their part. They are the coalition of the unwilling & unable that makes demands of the otherwise willing and able.

If they had any integrity at all, they’d be the ones dismantling Hetch Hetchy themselves.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  John the Econ
September 27, 2018 6:26 pm

That’s because they really do believe they are the royal elites and, therefore, are exempt from their own declarations.

Joel O'Bryan
September 27, 2018 12:25 pm

I see that kind of mindset here in Arizona with groups of environmental do-gooders who advocate for the removal of the Glen Canyon Dam that holds back Lake Powell on the Colorado River.

Somehow, they don’t see the positive effects of the water reservoir on balancing the flows above and below the dam. Somehow they don’t see the average 4 billion KWhr’s of clean hydro-electricity it produces every year, the only form of renewable energy that actually works.

Somehow they don’t the recreation jobs and recreation businesses that Lake Powell creates in a historically poor desert region.

It is always someone else’s sacrifice the Left demands for their feel-good environmental virtues.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 27, 2018 5:20 pm

Reminds me of the left-wingers who define charity as raising taxes on other people, in order to give more money to people like themselves.

Alan Tomalty
September 27, 2018 12:25 pm

Farming in California uses 4 times the water that citizens use. It seems to me that California should make the choice between salmon and almonds.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
September 27, 2018 12:36 pm

Almond growers have been leaving California for the last 20 years after their water allocations started getting cut and the price of the water they did get went up. They have been setting up shop in Southern Arizona. They use Colorado River CAP irrigation water for the orchards west of Tucson and pumped ground water for their tree orchards in far south-east Arizona along Interstate-10.

Bryan A
September 27, 2018 12:25 pm

Sounds to me like it is time for San Francisco to Hitch up it’s Hetch Hetchy nickers and start installing solar panel arrays and Wind Turbines along the Marina Waterfront to start Desalinating Bay Water. Shoot, That type of energy production is so free that the cost of Desalinization would be Zero point Zero https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V3CfD8TPac

michael hart
Reply to  Bryan A
September 28, 2018 4:40 am

Desalinated water, like aluminium production, is one of those things that exposes the true value of electricity.

Bruce Cobb
September 27, 2018 12:36 pm

Do it for “the children”.

September 27, 2018 12:49 pm

This article was a fun read. Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Environmental Activists 101.

CD in Wisconsin
September 27, 2018 12:51 pm

Once again, it appears as though Churchill’s statement about appeasing the crocodile applies here. As long as the enviro-crocodile is eating someone else, it’s fine. But once it comes after yours truly, then suddenly there is a problem.

The environmental movement and its supporters still need to learn to do things in the right order and not bass ackwards. Any alternative to the Hetch Hetchy Dam would likely need to involve nuclear power (if they are so vehemently opposed to fossil fuels) which would supply them with both household and business electricity as well as the electricity for a desalination plant to supply fresh water from ocean water. I’m thinking fourth generation nuclear which is in the R&D stage right now.

Unfortunately, the money for a combination nuclear power/desalination plant project is likely already being spent elsewhere on things that are nowhere near as important in California.

If nuclear is also a no-no, then they are screwed. And they deserve to be. The stupidity does indeed burn, and it burns with a bright flame in San Francisco.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 27, 2018 6:53 pm



Search results: Energy Demand-side Management


Nuclear is supply-side management. It’s about controlling the energy supply. Control energy supply with demand-side management and people are controlled?

September 27, 2018 1:07 pm

I’ve read many a time that the changes needed to prevent bad weather are “profound”.

Switching to Tesla’s and LEDs aren’t “profound” changes. Not even close.

By the way, the batteries in Tesla’s are DC. Tesla pushed for AC power distribution while Edison pushed for DC power distribution. Shouldn’t Tesla really been named Edison?

James Beaver
Reply to  kramer
September 27, 2018 1:20 pm

It would be more accurate to call a Tesla a “Coal Power Wagon”, since so much of it’s power nationally comes from coal powered electric plants.

Reply to  James Beaver
October 2, 2018 1:45 pm

They’re “remote-emission vehicles”

September 27, 2018 1:14 pm

Perhaps they could adapt to showering only once or twice a month, like the many urban outdoors men who seem to have taken over the city.

william Johnston
Reply to  MarkW
September 27, 2018 2:27 pm

Didn’t there used to be a campaign to “Shower with a friend”? In order to save water?

Smart Rock
Reply to  william Johnston
September 27, 2018 6:13 pm

Tried that, and a couple of 3-minute showers turned into a 20 minute marathon.

Would have lasted longer, but the hot water tank ran out (he said)

Alan the Brit
Reply to  william Johnston
September 28, 2018 2:55 am

We had that one here in the UK back in 1976 through the drought. Only flush the toilet once a day was the other advice from certain high-level directors at what was one Thames Water Authority! As my boss said at the time, it’s all right for them, their sh1t doesn’t stink!!!!

John Endicott
Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 28, 2018 5:40 am

Wasn’t it the 1970s when the phrase ” if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” was originated?

Mr Mick
September 27, 2018 1:15 pm

You know what we need ‘saving’ from?
Answer : All the groups who pontificate about what they’re trying to ‘save’ us from.

Bruce of Newcastle
September 27, 2018 1:15 pm

This will be fun. Last decade San Francisco mandated low-flow toilets to save water. It had an interesting result: there wasn’t enough water entering the sewer system to flush it properly.

Low Flow Toilets Equals No-Flow Sewers In San Francisco (2011)

It got so bad that the city had to pump 12,000 tonnes of bleach into the sewers and flush the whole lot into the bay using towns water poured directly into the sewers. The net effect was that the water “saved” by all those low-flow toilets was just bypassed straight down into the sewer system to keep the chucky bits in motion.

So now they want to cut water use in San Fran even more. Can an entire city get constipated? I think we may be about to find out.

Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
September 27, 2018 2:08 pm

I have been amused by signs posted on several “low-flow toilets”:


Paul Penrose
Reply to  rocketscientist
September 27, 2018 6:08 pm

You don’t need a sign to tell you that; it’s pretty much required if you drop a deuce that’s bigger than a rabbit pellet.

Reply to  rocketscientist
September 28, 2018 10:10 am

My home toilets only half-flush when you push and release the handle. To drain the tank you need to hold it down. In of itself, that’s not a problem. You only need a half-flush for a Number One. I just have to remember to inform guests about how that works.

Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
September 28, 2018 8:48 am

One of the cities in Germany, Hamburg I think, did a major retrofit to change all of the toilets, showerheads, and other faucets to low-flow versions in order to reduce water usage as part of one of the green initiatives.

With the large reduction of water entering the sewer system, little of the ‘effluvia’ was making its way to the treatment plant. The sewage decomposing in the sewers created a stench that permeated the entire city. They city had to have water tankers and fire engines pump thousands of gallons of water into the distal ends of the sewer lines to move the sewage to the treatment plant. In the end they ended up consuming more water than of they’d left things the way they were, but now the new aroma of decaying sewage wafted through the air between the sewer line flushes.

The Law of Unintended Consequences raised its ugly head again.

Steven Currie
September 27, 2018 1:19 pm

This whole mess was described in the book Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner. I went to a talk by Mr. Reisner about 25-30 years ago. He describes that due to historical federal water rights farmers were paying about 10-12% of the price of industrial, business and personal users. And that due to population growth, and the fact that most of California is a desert this was a ticking time bomb. Well, it has exploded. But California’s government would rather spend $100 billion on a go nowhere train project that build new water storage facilities. Much of this water problem is due to the stupidity of the California governors and legislature.

Reply to  Steven Currie
September 27, 2018 2:10 pm

It’s not just water problems they cause.

Mumbles McGuirck
September 27, 2018 1:28 pm

Hmmm … isn’t it time for someone to write of modernized version of “East of Eden”? The re-write could contrast the economic collapse of Salinas with the upscale boom of Marin County.
Any Steinbeck-wanna be’s out there?

Flight Level
September 27, 2018 1:29 pm

Who needs water ? We had an green operative secretary. Never showered to save Gaia or whatever.
Claimed that wet towels and lemon juice is all it takes for proper hygiene.
Once terminated after a week or so, her former office chair had to be discarded.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Flight Level
September 27, 2018 4:23 pm

I bet she had cats. Lots of them.

September 27, 2018 1:52 pm

I like the irony of the water supply for San Francisco coming from the O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Had that dam and reservoir not been constructed in the 1930’s, and the battle of it being built in the national park, San Francisco and area would have never been able to develop so easily to the large city that it has become. There sure is a lot of hypocrites that make use of that renewable electricity and gravity fed water supply that originate from Yosemite National Park. Reminds me of all the hypocrisy by the CAGW alarmists who use fossil fuels to make their protests against fossil fuels.

September 27, 2018 2:14 pm

This adds further support to my suspicion that many people in California have common-sense deficit disorder (CSDD).

September 27, 2018 2:43 pm

A few years ago during the last hysteria about drought in Southern California I was talking to a friend who also lives on the West Coast of BC. She was anxious about the lack of water.
To ease her concerns I noted that BC has any number of large rivers flowing lovely clear water into the ocean.
The suggestion was that a facility could be built and tankers could load the fresh water and sell it at California ports.
The anger was immediate “You can’t have tankers!”
I said “Full of fresh water.”
Lefties are quick to anger and slow in thinking.
Dare not mention the subject since.

John the Econ
Reply to  Bob Hoye
September 27, 2018 2:52 pm

It’s been my observation that what offends these people even more than the notion of harvesting natural resources (even renewable ones) for human consumption is the idea that someone might make money doing it.

My small city just went over $100-million in debt (roughly $1,500 per citizen) to buy the water system because the Progressives were offended by the notion that a private company was making money running it.

Non Nomen
Reply to  John the Econ
September 27, 2018 3:04 pm

Did the water become better or cheaper?

John the Econ
Reply to  Non Nomen
September 27, 2018 3:10 pm

Same water, and other than incurring the debt, nothing has happened yet. Sooner or later, the rates will have to go up to cover the debt service, which is short term, and interest rates are rising. Then we’ll have to listen to Progressive whining about how the poor can no longer afford to pay their water bills.

John the Econ
Reply to  Non Nomen
September 27, 2018 3:13 pm

But property taxes are going up because the water company used to pay property taxes, but no longer does as part of the city and the city needs to make up the difference.

Non Nomen
Reply to  John the Econ
September 27, 2018 10:29 pm

Make these idiots of city councillors pay. Elect people with some basic knowlede in economy – but wait: if – then – else thinking would do.

Reply to  John the Econ
September 28, 2018 2:18 am

Assuming the water company was making exorbitant profits, those dividends now pay for the loans to buy it. If not, why buy the place?
Part of those exorbitant profits are reservations for replacement of the plant and all the piping. Those funds are NOT available for urban renewal or other pet projects!
If the water plant is now free from property taxes, that will increase profits, which will flow back to the city.

But most likely, the (former) owner of the plant is now sitting of a beach sipping cocktails and the bankers are getting rich.

Reply to  John the Econ
September 28, 2018 4:45 am

In this locale, Jefferson Co., AL is now under bankruptcy protection after the federal government decreed they must build a new sewer system after the old one failed twice in the space of 3 years, allowing a few thousand gallons of sewage to spill into some waterway. So the county went billions into debt to build the new system and, after it was built, would not ALLOW the ones who used it be the ones who paid for it. They tried all kinds of imaginative stuff to get around it, including a county income tax! Imagine that if you will, in addition to the federal and state income tax returns, the residents of Jefferson County, Alabama had the joy of preparing and filing a COUNTY ITR!!! So now, thanks to federal interference, we have a bankrupt county and a sewer system that is now aging and probably just as likely to fail as the old one was, since the county has no money to maintain it.

John the Econ
Reply to  John the Econ
September 28, 2018 9:32 am

I’d love it if we would elect some people with even basic economic literacy. But ironically, we’re a university town populated and run by Progressive hippies. People in my town mock California and Californians, but then without any sense of irony vote just like them.

The real reason the water company was purchased was because because the Progressive hippies were outraged that the water company was formerly owned by the Carlisle Group of Bush Family infamy. The notion that the Bush family was profiting from their water bills was just too much for them to take.

They argued that most water systems were owned by municipalities and that as a vital resource, ours should be too. This made it easy to sell all kinds of silly paranoia, like the Carlisle Group was going to sell all our water to California during their drought. By the bottle, I guess. (California has plenty of water within its own borders but can’t complete the water infrastructure within their own state, but somehow they were going to pipe water all the way from here?)

And yes, I’m familiar with the plight of Jefferson Co. and that was mentioned by critics of the purchase. But the Progressive hippies didn’t care. After all, these are people who honestly convinced that given the chance, they can finally make socialism work this time too.

Reply to  John the Econ
September 28, 2018 11:05 am

The city of Augusta, Georgia (USA) had a canal dug in the early-mid 1800s. Part of that was to make a water supply plant for the city. They built a fine system in the late 1800s and priced the water in such a way as to pay for the maintenance and expansion. It worked fairly well for almost 100 years. Then a mayor who will remain nameless decided that there was a large pot of money over there that wasn’t being touched and raided the maintenance fund to pay salaries for other city employees. Twenty years later, with no maintenance whatsoever being done, pipes started bursting, sink holes opened up in the middle of busy roads, four houses in one neighborhood were washed off their foundations, and the city couldn’t pay the bills.

Beware the city management of the water system. Such people can not be trusted with any pots of money that aren’t being spent right now.

John the Econ
Reply to  John the Econ
September 28, 2018 1:16 pm

I don’t have high expectations for the management of the water company. When originally pitched, the whole boondoggle was supposed to cost less than $60-million. The price tag is currently around $115, and climbing. (Legal fees and “consultants” were unexpectedly high, cough, cough)

One of the first things they had to do was re-hire the water company employees at a lower rate than comparable city employees. That didn’t go well, and they aren’t very happy.

I used to argue that if the water company was as bad as we were being told and that our water supply was in jeopardy, then I wouldn’t have to pay my water bill anymore and they’d quickly go bankrupt. Now, I don’t have that option; When they mismanage the system, we’ll end up paying for it anyway.

Gunga Din
September 27, 2018 2:55 pm

Most people that vote for those that promote such stupid stuff assume it will never effect them. It sounds good to do “something” for the smelt or the salmon; “the environment”.
It’s when that “something” starts to impact their own lives is when some begin to wake up and take a second look.

Reply to  Gunga Din
September 27, 2018 7:58 pm

I thought the water was being diverted to save the Delta Smelt, not salmon.

Gunga Din
Reply to  brians356
September 28, 2018 5:13 am

The water restrictions for the smelt are on a different river that also flows into the bay. This particular post is about restrictions for salmon on a river that also enters the bay.

September 27, 2018 3:46 pm

Planned People for social progress, GDP growth, and green, but not too green, lawns.

September 27, 2018 4:02 pm

Ms. Breed and the Sierra Club, tear down your dam! Lead your talk by your walk and set the example! Restore Hetch Hetchy to the time before John Muir and lead by the example of your prophet.

Mr. Gore, turn in the keys to your SUV, private jet, energy pig house. Walk your talk before you tell us how to live, to the contrary to the example you have set for decades as you live the life of privilege.

Until then, we will follow the examples you have set and not become your pawns, the useful idiots enslaving the world for the life you lead.

Tom Anderson
September 27, 2018 4:42 pm

“Hundreds of billions of gallons of water previously used for irrigation have been flushed to the ocean, rather than sent through the California Aqueduct to the Central Valley, supposedly to protect salmon migration and spawning. Nevertheless, area salmon remain endangered.”

In all this thrashing around, has anyone paused to determine what is endangering the salmon if it is not the water? It would be the cherry on top if all that wasted irrigation has nothing to do with salmon propagation

P.S., Greg Walcher has it right: “Hoist” not “hoisted” by one’s own petard. Hamlet, III, iv.

Reply to  Tom Anderson
September 28, 2018 1:02 pm

IIRC petard was the French term for the crude explosives used by sappers to undermine castle walls. Their job was to run up to the base of the wall, set and light their payloads, and get out. Those who mishandled their bombs or didn’t run away fast enough, were likely to be thrown into the air (hoist) by the detonation.

Patrick MJD
September 27, 2018 5:07 pm

Off topic as hints and tips doesn’t seem to work for me.

Wasn’t the Tesla battery supposed to be free if done within a specific time frame?


Reply to  Patrick MJD
September 28, 2018 5:07 am

i think they did make the timeframe;-(
however i was hit by pay to read on the adelaide reports on costs
thanks heaps for that link
no wonder my SA mates have a 3mth power bill of over 700$
with no oven, dryer, dishwasher, no heating and offpeak hws

September 27, 2018 5:16 pm

No discussion of water in California would be complete without mentioning L.A.
Say what you will of LA, but it would not exist without water from elsewhere and dams and canals.
This book is an amazing story about an amazing person, the one Mulholland Drive is named after, the one who built something incredible. Like it or not, it was incredible.

September 27, 2018 5:17 pm


“Green” Senator charged with over 100 counts of bribery etc. dies in car crash. Sources say he was under house arrest and was about to utilize the plea bargain process:

Former State Sen. Brian Joyce Is Charged With Accepting Bribes
December 08, 2017 Updated Dec 08, 2017 7:01 PM
Benjamin Swasey
Former state Sen. Brian Joyce was arrested Friday morning and charged in a federal indictment for allegedly using his legislative seat for private gain.

Joyce, 55, faces more than 100 charges, including racketeering, wire fraud, extortion and money laundering, according to the 102-page indictment.


MA Senator & Green Advocate faces 20 years for 113 counts including Racketeering, Honest Services Wire Fraud and Honest Services Mail Fraud, Money Laundering, Misapplication Involving Federal Funds,

102 Page Indictment-

Clinton Foundation doners

Len Werner
September 27, 2018 7:05 pm

In case any might not have realized just how insane ‘environmentalism’ surrounding water can get–try this article. If you’d like additional details they can be found in the list of court judgements for BC.


In essence–the Greater Vancouver Water District was fined for allowing clean drinking water from a damaged or deteriorated water main to leak into….the lower Fraser River downstream of all the farm run-off and industrialization of the Fraser Valley. There are many community-system sewage outflows delivered to the Fraser upstream of where this leak occurred–but darned if allowing clean treated water to leak into and dilute the muddy sewage-contaminated Fraser River isn’t somehow a crime!

September 27, 2018 7:32 pm

I assume Ca is also one of those numpty places where you cant have a rainwater tank either? not that it helps those in high density apartments.

Seems a govt happy to rule by decree in so many areas should have no trouple with this one. Mandatory rainwater tanks for new homes where possible, plumbed to toilet and laundry, grey water capture, low flow shower heads, dual flush toilets, flow limit at point of entry, water police rapeling from black helicopters, miscreants sent to re-education camps, and no salmon for anyone! Simple

September 27, 2018 7:58 pm

I thought the water was being diverted to save the Delta Smelt, not salmon.

September 27, 2018 11:42 pm

Put in a pipe/canal from the Collumbia river up north. Can’t be that hard, the French put a canal between the Med and the Atlantic in 1650!

Reply to  MattS
September 28, 2018 12:40 am

What canal is that?

Non Nomen
Reply to  hunter
September 28, 2018 1:00 am

De rien: Canal du Midi et le Canal du Garonne. Castets-en-Dorthe via Toulouse à Sète.

Reply to  hunter
September 28, 2018 8:18 am

Wouldn’t that be the one that flows by the Rock of Gilbraltor?

Ken Irwin
September 28, 2018 1:05 am

“water police rapeling from black helicopters”

During our most recent water crisis in Cape Town, my home was raided by 12 armed law enforcement officials, 5 vehicles with two news crews in tow.

My crime ? the heinous offence of washing my car with a hose !

They of course has their facts wrong – I was legally using my own borehole water complete with local council signage indicating this – guess these morons couldn’t read either.

The democratic world is becoming remarkably Fascist !

Vanessa Smith
September 28, 2018 2:13 am

And yet real democracy is when people work together for the greater good – that means everybody. Look at Switzerland and all their referendums, the people have voted to increase tax when they know they will ALL benefit. It seems those in this area are the most selfish on the planet !!!

September 28, 2018 3:53 am

I seem to have mislaid my ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’ but I believe the quote refers to an engineer being hoist by his own petard, not an assassin. I understand this relates to the use of underground explosives in sieges.

Steve O
September 28, 2018 5:12 am

98 billion to 220 billion gallons sounds like a lot. How much of a reduction is that as a proportion? 10%? 1%? 28%?

Mark Silbert
September 28, 2018 6:16 am

What goes around comes around……….hopefully.

Read: https://www.amazon.com/Decline-Fall-California-Destruction-Collection-ebook/dp/B018Q83YNM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538140260&sr=1-1&keywords=victor+davis+hanson+california

Victor Davis Hanson’s essays on Northern California water explain it all.

September 28, 2018 6:34 am

Seems extremely probable that the waste heat from a NPP could be used to evaporate saltwater and make fresh water. This would be ready to feed a city water filtration system. With a coordinated effort to this end low CO2 emitting electricity power and fresh water could be produced for about the same cost as is being wasted on unreliable Green energy.

September 28, 2018 6:54 am

Not to be pedantic, but I think the expression is “hoist by his own petard” (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4).

September 28, 2018 6:57 am

On the unfortunate occasions where I must interact with a reformist or someone who tries to guilt me into making a personal sacrifice, my stock reply has always been supportive to the cause, followed by something like, “When your (income, carbon footprint, water consumption, electrical usage, etc) falls to the level of mine, then I will match your additional reduction (unit) by (unit).”

I likely consume more than the average on some things (maybe electricity. Need air conditioning in southern US), but invariably it is less than the person making the demands.

Still waiting on any of them to take up my offer.

September 28, 2018 8:45 am

” WE ” ???? You first. I haven’t seen any of these AGWers sacrifice anything. The most outspoken are the ones that want everybody else to do the sacrificing. ” The company had a bad year so we have to cut wages, but the CEO got a 25% raise and a bonus of stock options. ” Something like that???
Often stated is that there is no ” I ” in teamwork, nor is there a ” WE ” in Incorporation either. But there is that big ” I “.
If AGW is so profoundly worried, they should give up all there money, move into a 600 Sq ft apartment with no electric or heat. You don’t need to take a bath, the dirt will keep you hot. What do you need with all those castles in England for anyway? Who cares about art, when the earth is supposedly burning up?
Heard on the street, literally, was that the monthly electric bills in Australia are $1200/month. with rolling blackouts, brown. Coming soon to a state near you. Afraid to turn on your electric heater?, I can see why.

September 28, 2018 11:03 am

Meh, nothing a higher minimum wage and open borders can’t fix.,

September 28, 2018 1:58 pm

And a mandate for anyone to whom the city owes money to forgive that debt. Any who refuse will be thrown in Creditor’s Prison on a re-opened Alcatraz. 🙂

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  drednicolson
September 29, 2018 4:16 am

The US is curious in that it has a longstanding law that permits municipalities to borrow money from private lenders and the interest paid is tax-free. Is that still true? Really rich people do not buy bonds generating taxable income, they lend to municipalities.

It is done through 10 levels (or more) of shell corporations. Thus income and an increase in wealth is not, per se, taxable, they do rather better than the average Joe. After all, someone has to soak up the sun. A just economic order will close such loopholes.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2018 5:25 pm

Ask a financial advisor in the US how to minimize your taxes when you have a lot of money, and that’s probably the first thing (s)he’ll say: fund municipal bonds.

Grant A. Brown
September 28, 2018 4:50 pm

A petard is a small bomb, true; but in Shakespeare’s day it was also slang for “fart.” Hearing the expression “hoist with his own petard,” Shakespeare’s audience would have envisioned someone being lifted out of his chair by an explosive, gaseous fart. That’s the kind of imagery that makes Shakespeare Shakespeare.

Reply to  Grant A. Brown
September 29, 2018 5:20 pm

And “nothing” was slang for a woman’s vagina. Makes that one awkward conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia at the play-within-a-play even more awkward.

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