The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) last week released its next five-year plan for the State Water Project—Update 2023. After years of meetings, California’s premier water agency has decided to focus on “three intersecting themes: addressing climate urgency, strengthening watershed resilience, and achieving equity in water management.”

Water supplies for California’s 40 million people and the planet’s most productive agriculture have third- to fifth-level priority.

There is nothing new here, except to publicly admit to betraying the public trust. Really?

Over several decades, the public has been deceived into voting for water bonds that have little new water in them—phony promises to build new water storage and aqueducts. About 12 percent of bond funds are spent on new water storage. The rest of the bond funds have been squandered on scores of local and special-interest environmental projects, e.g., tearing down four Klamath-area dams—killing fish to save them—and opposing substantial new water projects, e.g., raising Shasta Dam and building Auburn Dam.

Further, by California law, water must be equitably distributed, pumped “equally”—half to human beings (if you count agriculture) and half to fish (the water-short Pacific Ocean, 187 quadrillion gallons). During the big rains of 2024, about 90 percent of the water was flushed to the Pacific through the gills of perhaps a half dozen delta smelt.

Farmers call it a manmade drought.

The politicos halted humans “taking” water, “diverting” it, from fish. Under the U.S. Constitution, the taking of private property requires just compensation—not mass confiscation. Water rights are a complex species of property.

“Our findings show that atmospheric river activity exceeds what has occurred since instrumental record keeping began,” said Clarke Knight, a U.S. Geological Survey research geographer.

Still, DWR scheduled 2024 meetings of the Drought Resilience Interagency & Partners (DRIP) Collaborative for April, July, and October.

The DRIP fantasy continues despite a deluge of 2024 water from two winters of giant “rivers in the sky” dumping excesses of water and creating massive floods and landslides.

Recent massive atmospheric rivers, Ark events, are small compared to ancient monster storms that occurred long before human beings had any impact whatsoever on climate, let alone weather.

Despite plentiful rainfall, DWR continued to limit pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Central Valley agriculture to 30–40 percent to protect native fish. Nonnative bass are likely the greatest dangers to native fish. DWR insisted that its ability to move water south has been “impacted by the presence of threatened and endangered fish species.”

Those water districts’ contractors, paying the full cost of State Water Project (SWP) water, thought otherwise.

Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the State Water Contractors, stated: “While we are glad to see this modest allocation, it is still far below the amount of water we need. There is a lot of water in the system, California reservoirs are full, and runoff from snowpack melt is still to come. Even in a good water year, moving water effectively and efficiently under the current regime is difficult.”

California’s drought fixation is entirely manmade. In the past, in wet years, the waters of the Sacramento River, greater than the mighty Colorado, turned the Central Valley into an inland sea.

For over a century, California visionaries followed the lead of the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Romans, and Nabataeans as well as the Aztecs before them. C.R. Rockwood, William Mulholland, Michael O’Shaughnessy, Gov. Pat Brown, and Gov. Ronald Reagan built dams and aqueducts to store and distribute water and to provide flood protection and hydroelectricity “too cheap to meter.”

As I have said before, California wastes tens of billions of dollars’ worth (at a conservative $100–$200 an acre-foot) of precious fresh water to save handfuls of delta smelt and “restore” salmon runs where salmon never ran before.

As I’ve also mentioned before, tyrannical water police order city folk, who use only 8 percent of California’s water, to drink recycled toilet water and to live on 55 gallons a day. The serfs may bathe every other Saturday whether they need it or not. California demands that its residents take a water conservation pledge: And to the utopia for which it stands. Neighbors turn neighbors in for “wasting” water, not to mention life, liberty, and property.


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