Yasha Levine writing in Alternet and Exiled On Line claims there is no drought in California . Everything we are being told about the state water shortages is wrong, wrong, wrong as he puts it.  It’s just another plot by the evil water users  (some of which are farmers) (corporate or otherwise) to get more water by creating a crisis that gets the big 11 billion buck bond issue passed.  There’s plenty  of truth stretching on both sides of this fight so we are left once again to figure it out for ourselves.

Yasha’s whole argument is built over what percentage of rainfall we got last year (94%) so therefore we have no problem.  Right???WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!  THIS GRAPH of storage at Shasta Dam for the past 5 years shows for the past few years end of the year storage has been on a downward slope till the beginning of 2010 we were at 40% of capacity.  THIS PAGE OF GRAPHS shows every major CVP reservoir  below 50% of capacity with the Big Mama Shasta at 40%  .  The capacity when viewed as a whole a really pretty depressing picture.

Meantime, presently it’s raining cats and dogs outside and is predicted to continue most of the week. We were helped last year by a couple of late storms that boosted res levels to slightly better levels and this one looks like it has potential , we got two more feet in Shasta in just 12 hours and she’s still going strong.  Having operated the CVP for 20 years I know it’s a crap shoot each year to try a fill the ponds.  Everybody who can throws a wrench into the game with rules and regulations that you have to live with as an operator.  For example you cannot fill beyond a 50 foot from the top (1017 elev) until a date in march to have room for a last big storm.  You never know when that storm will come and each spring when we have a dry winter y0u want to save every drop, but you can’t.  Few realize just how much water can result from a really big storm,  I have seen 200,000 CFS coming into the lake and the lake elevation changing a foot per hour , you get a little nervous  knowing you’ll have to cut releases when the river below reaches it’s limits.  So there you sit , reservoir full  , river full, no place to put all this water . Somehow it mostly stops in time, the storm goes away and you get to breath one more day.

Few people know of the rules and regulations a damn operator has to live with and they shouldn’t for other than curiosity sake.  You have to believe that the operator will do his job and in lots of cases he’s a fisherman too so he has those interests at heart.  It use to tear my heart out in the days Shasta had a Largemouth bass population (that spawn shallow) so when we started releasing water early and uncovered their eggs I was not a happy camper.

The problem with these Monday Morning Quarterbacks of Water World they usually have an agenda that sometimes they are not even clear about.  It might be fishery thing, or a farmer thing , or a drinking water thing, or pollutants.  One thing for certain there are enough things to go around that the truth is hard to find.

The big battle raging today is about building a new canal (or some kind of conveyance) to take water around the Delta to make water quality better for (somebody).  Some believe that it will improve Delta water for fish, others believe it will improve water quality for drinking and farming .  Nobody will believe the studies done on the problem so the problem still remains.

I weigh in on the side of building a pipe line around the Delta to connect with the present canal system and fed by two additional reservoirs for added water storage.  I believe the studies that say no matter what you do the Delta will eventually return to it’s beginning state.  Will it be the Virgin Delta ? Oh Hell NO, two much has been done to it for that to happen.   Invasive species that have invaded the Delta from years of bilge pumping make that impossible.

My whole point is really quite simple, if your going to enter this fight , don’t bring a wet noodle to a knife fight .  NO DROUGHT BECAUSE OF PERCENTAGE OF RAIN.  THAT’S A NOODLE!!

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  1. Larry J Says:

    This guy must belong to the same group of people who don’t believe in Global Warming / climate change.
    He needs to check with the decreased ground water, low lake levels, etc.
    However, if the lake levels stay low, it would make it easier to dig out the lake shoreline and make the lake bigger, without having to build a bigger dam, eh?

  2. Junior Says:

    Tiger, perhaps your argument holds water, but history is not on your side. The last time they tried to get the canal through in the 1980s, it rained like hell the year before the election, and not even Pat Brown could convince the populace that we live in a desert. The water bond issues are toast. Soggy toast, but toast.

  3. Three Says:

    I enjoyed this post. Nothing gets the blood boiling better than a holy war.

  4. The Grey Tiger Says:

    Perhaps it takes a Village of Idiots to be swayed by a good rain storm. Us Americans are notorious for short term thinking. This is long term planning but of course “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” As junior says history has defeated my logic more than once. It only takes once for my concern to become reality and then it’s already too late. I suppose I could get really corny as end by saying “BUILD IT AND THEY WILL RUN” your spigots that is!

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