Frustrations flow over slow reactions to drought

Frustrations flow over slow reactions to drought

It’s a good thing the fallout from California’s epic drought isn’t an emergency and we have the luxury of time to solve our issues.

Okay, so I’ve not heard anyone say this out loud (I’m probably guilty of mumbling it under my breath though) but that’s the impression I got from a recent California Water Commission meeting in Bakersfield.

The meeting, which featured less than a quorum of the eight-member panel, was apparently more informational than anything and, according to at least one other person in the room was a bit disappointing in its light attendance.

The focus of the meeting was to inform citizens of the provisions in Chapter 8 of the California Water Bond. This section that talks about storage.

The public meeting teased attendees with what will likely be a convoluted and bureaucratic nightmare for those seeking approval to build water storage projects and access the cost-share portions delineated in the bond.

First up was the explanation that this money cannot be appropriated under the statute until Dec. 15, 2016. This is also conveniently when the California Water Commission must have its regulations in place so those applying for their public cost-share can know the rules by which they must play.

Here’s the rub.

California’s drought has been ongoing since before this bond measure was floated. It’s also been decades since we did anything to address the water needs of a growing state.

While California lawmakers continue to tell us how much they care, we have no new dams, no improved infrastructure and for some, no running water.

Meanwhile, bureaucrats seem more concerned with how potential impacts of projects could affect the Delta, which openly upset people at the Bakersfield meeting who audibly wondered if they too are part of the “ecosystem” state officials are concerned about.

California’s elected officials with the authority to affect positive change have failed their constituents by not keeping up with their water needs. Their appointed and hired bureaucrats are complicit by crafting rules that effectively prohibit the construction of water storage, dams and reservoirs that the voters want and the state needs.

If we can fast-track bureaucratic processes to build sports arenas and bullet trains, can we do the same for water infrastructure for humans?

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