Calif. Drought Not Solved by Nanny State

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 08:21 AM

By Michael Reagan

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An issue has come to my attention that’s perfect for an intrusive and publicity–hungry political class that doesn’t have time to get bogged down in the details of whether or not a program is actually effective.

Even better, the problem is located in my home state of California, which boasts one of the most publicity–hungry and least effective state governments in the nation.

This means it’s a perfect congruence of stimulus and response.

Those who have been reading my column over the last few weeks know that lack of rainfall is a serious issue in California. Droughts, like hurricanes, are rated according to severity — although to my knowledge droughts aren’t given names. California now has almost 60 percent of the state suffering from the most severe condition: Exceptional drought.

Forty years of advance warning wasn’t long enough for state government to build additional dams and reservoirs, so farmers are forced to rely on increased groundwater pumping to supply desperately needed water on the surface.

According to a report at TakePart.com, “As much as 20 cubic kilometers of Central Valley groundwater may have been pumped out in just the last three years, according to one estimate. That’s about 12 percent of the last 150 years’ total depletion.”

The problem caused by this groundwater depletion is somewhat confusing to a non–expert like me. In one part of the report the land is sinking as much as a foot per year, “damaging roads and other infrastructure and exposing communities to increased flood risk.”

But a few paragraphs later the problem is not enough weight: “Groundwater pumping unburdens the lithosphere,” said William Hammond, a geologist at the University of Nevada, Reno. When you pump that much groundwater, the load gets taken away and the landscape essentially bounces up. The Sierra Nevada is rising more quickly as a result of groundwater pumping in the Great Valley.”

Bouncing. Sinking. Make up your mind.

But the result of all this hyperactive geology is supposedly an increased potential for earthquakes. This is where the politicians come into the picture. Other states run by leftists have banned the oil extraction technique known as fracking because it supposedly causes earthquakes, too. The real reason for the ban is it works and proves “peak oil” environmentalists wrong.

Now it’s time for California Democrats to ban droughts for the same reason: Increased earthquakes.

I can see it all now, a statewide media tour that hits the driest part of the state.

Politicians desperately in need of a humidifier will express their concern for farms, lawns and vacant car washes. There’s even a chance for coalition–building and additional news coverage as a Blue Ribbon Drought Study Group reaches out to Native Americans to see if anyone recalls how to do a rain dance.

Of course it won’t do any good, but that’s never stopped the great minds in Sacramento before. Besides banning droughts will provide the rest of us with needed comic relief until our Maker decides it’s time for the rain to come again.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.


© Mike Reagan

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