I’m quite sure there are many brilliant people in California who have been screaming from the rafters for at least 4-5 years that this current calamity could have been avoided, had there been the political will long ago in Sacramento to harvest rainwater during deluge seasons, and to build large state-of-the-art seawater DE-salinization plants along the coast, piping the newly purified fresh water inland to starving fields and cities. I’m quite sure there are buried news stories of what happened to these brilliant farseeing people who had the insight 5-10 years ago to beg local and state government to begin setting aside funds for the building of these facilities, whose construction is not rocket science, after all.
With a near infinite Pacific ocean flanking her western shore, California need not be starved for DE-salinated fresh water. What California is apparently starving for instead is fundamental fiscal common sense, scientific will power, and the political gumption to have solved it’s water problems BEFORE such a dire state of emergency was reached. But under such circumstances you do not get a DO-OVER.
What California can do NOW, immediately, with blistering urgency, is to pass measures which will raise funds to begin building massive rainwater harvesting facilities, new pipelines from same into water starved cities, elect a water CZAR whose term of service is at least 8 years and begin building saltwater desalinization plants with all prerequisite haste required to NOT be soon forced to drink recycled sewage water. For God’s sake, get busy NOW. If it means taxing the uber-rich in southern California, then do it. Else you will soon have an exodus of biblical proportions on your hands which will erode the state’s tax base to the point where the inevitable downward cycle of diminishing returns cripples California in a more permanent fashion. Once they leave they are not coming back [ your people, including the uber-rich and their fortunes ]. Levy a water tax on the upper income people to build the plants needed to save the state. There is no reason this cannot be done now – this year – in the next 6 months. Garner the gumption and political will and roll up your sleeves.