The California Water Boards Are Trying to Make the Current Drought a Political Good

California spends billions rebuilding burned towns. The case for calling it quits

California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history, as the state has been forced to face the reality of its current drought without an end in sight. And while the problem seems to be getting worse, the state’s local water boards are trying to turn its losses of aquafers into a silver lining: they’re attempting to make the current crisis a political good by claiming that the situation is temporary and that the rest of the state will not need to take any conservation measures.

The end result: a lot of political capital being thrown around without much of a public airing of the facts. It turns out that, if this drought lasts until 2014, and if the state is not able to rebuild the Aqueduct Basin, it’s possible that the state may have to turn to a new source of water; the only problem is that no one seems to know how to find one. Or why it would be able to be used in the first place.

As we noted earlier this month, the Aqueduct Basin is a massive basin that spans from Yolo County to San Bernadino County, and contains several important aquifers that supply the state with significant amounts of water. But it is also the reason that much of Los Angeles is in a state of water scarcity.

The basin is so big that it is not even possible to provide water from the aquifers to the entire area. The basin would have to be connected to the water supply, which is already being used to some degree, and the aquifers would have to have enough water available to meet the requirement for the basin to function as an irrigation basin—and that number is not much (one acre of California’s 12,500 acres of farmland yields less than half a barrel of irrigation water).

And the problem is that the basin is in a state of distress: the amount of water available to feed into the basin is dropping faster than expected, and water use in southern

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