In a must-read piece, LA Times political columnist George Skelton writes about the California drought. He tackles the convenient but inaccurate sound bites we’ve become accustomed to hearing. He challenges us by posing some critical questions. And he points out some obvious things. One thing is certain: if we understood more about the state’s geography, we might have different public policies.

George Skelton (@LATimesSkelton) writes in the Los Angeles Times:


“…agriculture per se is not the issue — not the culprit guzzler. Rather, it’s the location of the agriculture, which gulps 80% of California’s developed water. Almonds, for example, make a lot of sense in some areas; a lot less in others.

Too often we try to wrap it all into convenient, simple packages — Central Valley and nut orchards — when more specificity is required to grasp the nub of the problem.

What part of the vast Central Valley? How dry is it and what’s being grown there?

Skelton also discusses his policy ideas:


In past columns, I have suggested that the state consider regulating crops based on their water demands and location. Gov. Jerry Brown flatly rejects that notion.

“You’re not the only person saying that,” [Jeffrey] Mount told me. “But it’s not said in polite company.”

The regulating will happen indirectly anyway within the next generation, he says, when new groundwater controls are implemented.

That can’t happen soon enough.


There is some excellent analysis in this provocative piece.


Related Links:

Photographic essay documents the impact of drought in California’s Central Valley

Q & A: UC’s Doug Parker on California’s drought

Drought watch: a rogue’s gallery of water guzzlers