Governor: Drought is over.
What a great headline on the front page of our daily newspaper today. Accompanied by a photo of two goofs standing out in the snow with some 15' long stick suspended from a ski pole measuring how heavy snow is. I don't know - I guess it was meant to convince us the Gov. knows scientific stuff.
But the message was clear, our state reservoirs have reached such high levels after two years of rainy winters and plenty of snow up high that the drought declared in 2008 no longer exists. WhooHoo! The biggest reservoir in the system, Oroville Dam, is at 104% of its historical average, Shasta is at 111% of historical, our current snowpack is at 165% of normal. Even the Colorado River basins, Lake Mead, Diamond Valley and others are filling up fast.
But wait - they remind us that conservation remains necessary because of the precarious condition of the Sacramento River Delta. Even though they've got all that water, a lot of it up north, doesn't mean they will be releasing any more for us down south because it would still kill the little Delta Smelt - that 3 inch long good-for-nothing fish that gets sucked into pumps because it's too stupid to swim away. Yeah, we still got that.
But even Southern California reserves are up - plenty of water for now. That means the 50%+ increases in price they've jacked onto us the past two years will stabilize? Maybe even drop a little since water is now plentiful? After all, the increases were to encourage conservation during the tough times and reduce our dependence on imported water.
And we've done that right?
Usage in San Diego County is down 20%, other areas are averaging between 15% and 43% reductions over the past 2 years. I mean, they beat us over the head with this. Gotta conserve. Low flow toilets, desert landscape, 5 minute showers, if it's yellow it's mellow, if it's brown flush it down, you name it, we've done it. Heck I'm even drinking my whiskey neat because I don't want to waste the water for mix or for ice.
We get that: Conservation = good. No conservation = expensive.
So now we get a break, right?
Yeah, I got your break right here, Pal. This is the part where you just have to appreciate the humor of the situation or you're likely to go on a rampage with multiple dangerous weapons and a bad attitude. According to one water department spokehole, "all that water is a blessing and a bane." A what? A bane you ignorant savages! Because now they have all this water but guess what? They're not selling enough to cover their asses - I mean expenses. Honest to Jesus H, we'll now be paying higher water bills because we're not using enough. I believe judicious use of the 'F' word might be appropriate here.
Sounds like the oil companies. "Hey, they're using too much gas, lets jack up the price to get them to conserve. Hey they're not driving enough, we need to jack up the price to boost our profit. Hey, there's a crisis in Libya, let's jack up our price because we can. Hey, we don't even need a good reason anymore, lets just jack up our price because..... Jackholes!
So we've got water flowing out the kazoo but we're still scheduled for another 12.5% in rate hikes by 2012. It would appear that we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If anybody can suggest a scenario out of this wherein the consumer actually wins a little, please feel free to suggest it.
Aw what the hell. It's just California. Grab a little medicinal weed, go to the beach and forget about it.