Here are excerpts from Kotkin’s article that Prager is reading from in the above audio (video):
The Big Idea: California Is So Over: California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.
….But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.
Yet at the same time greens and their allies in academia and the mainstream pressare those most likely to see the current drought as part of a climate change-induced reduction in snowpack. That many scientists disagree with this assessment is almost beside the point. Whether climate change will make things better or worse is certainly an important concern, but California was going to have problems meeting its water needs under any circumstances.
It’s not like we haven’t been around this particular block before. In the 1860s, a severe drought all but destroyed LA’s once-flourishing cattle industry. This drought was followed by torrential rains that caused their own havoc. The state has suffered three major droughts since I have lived here—in the mid ’70s, the mid ’80s and again today—but long ago (even before I got there) some real whoppers occurred, including dry periods that lasted upwards of 200 years.
But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother Jones’ KevinDrum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.
This fundamentally hypocritical regime remains in place because it works—for the powerful and well-placed. Less understandable is why many Hispanic politicians, such as Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, also prioritize “climate change” as his leading issue, without thinking much about how these policies might worsen the massive poverty in his de-industrializing L.A. district—until you realize that de Leon is bankrolled by Tom Steyer and others from the green uberclass.
So, in the end, we are producing a California that is the polar opposite of Pat Brown’s creation. True, it has some virtues: greener, cleaner, and more “progressive” on social issues. But it’s also becoming increasingly feudal, defined by a super-affluent coastal class and an increasingly impoverished interior. As water prices rise, and farms and lawns are abandoned, there’s little thought about how to create a better future for the bulk of Californians. Like medieval peasants, millions of Californians have been force to submit to the theology of our elected high priest and his acolytes, leaving behind any aspirations that the Golden State can work for them too.
(CBS) …The Sorek plant produces more than 165 million gallons of fresh water and accounts for more than 20 percent of Israel’s water consumption, according to Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.
Factoring in several other desalination plants, an astonishing 50 percent of the country’s drinking water now comes directly from the ocean – an amount capable of supplying the entire city of Los Angeles.
Plant officials also say it offers some of the world’s cheapest desalinated water because of new technology and a series of engineering improvements that have cut down the massive energy normally required to transform seawater into fresh water.
Fountains that were once forced to dry up now are flowing again….
Another MUST READ excerpt by a really well written article is this one by Victor Davis Hanson:
Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.
All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.
Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.