California’s infamous ballot initiative campaigns are always interesting to watch. Invariably, complicated issues are boiled down into one of two elements trying to capture votes for or against.
Although it is not an initiative campaign yet, the statewide movement to get more water for California is a campaign of sound bites and headline grabbing comments that are as close to hyperbole as fact. However, that is what it takes to convince voters one way or the other.
The California water crisis is real, but I almost laugh when I listen to the talking heads and their guests. Most of the commentators do not understand the California water crisis nor do their guests.
It is far too complex to grasp and explain. It would not improve ratings. It would probably confuse more than clarify.
Most of the backers of this well organized campaign to get more badly needed water for California know the issue cannot be conveyed with a litany of water law facts. I am not even sure the most knowledgeable water experts fully grasp the complexity of the California water law and delivery system.
Therefore, what the public hears is that government loves fish more than people and radical environmentalists called “eco-terrorists.” And they see pictures of killer whales swimming in the California Aqueduct to point out the absurdity of some of the “biological opinions” protecting fish.
I have been guilty of using exaggeration at times here to make a point (the minnow; the smelt).
It is regrettable that the debates over issues critical to California have evolved into name calling for the purpose of getting votes from people and politicians.
It is sad that people cannot or are not told the whole story in comprehensible terms to make a learned decision.
For example, what makes water so critical to California is not the water itself, but where it is used. California’s climate is unquestionably one of the best places on this earth to grow food. They call it a Mediterranean climate. I call its God’s gift to California and its people. California agriculture learned how to use captured water to produce an amazing cornucopia of food.
Take the millions of acre feet of water captured each year in California and ship it to North Dakota and you cannot grow crops in harsh North Dakota that you can in California. Nothing against North Dakota, but that is fact.
It is not an exaggeration to say California feeds the world. Yes, it takes a lot of water do to that. More importantly, however, it is the climate that is the real reason for the abundance.
Failure to capture and steward the rain and snow that falls in California in order to produce to the state’s full potential of food is more than criminal.
I do not want to second-guess all the strategists who are orchestrating this effort to develop more water, but I think the public deserves to know how California has been blessed and how it will continue to bless the world with water and its climate.