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Doug Haaland

Humans vs Fish…. We Lose Again!

As Governor Jerry Brown was signing legislation limiting Californians to using only 55 gallons of water per day, his State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) was finalizing a Bay Delta plan giving each of the “estimated” 600 fish 1,086,667 gallons of water per day. (Their estimate was 200 fish each on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers)

The new laws mandating Californians use only 55 gallons of water per day are yet another knife in the back of businesses and people of our State. What liberals in California have done to highways and power generation, will soon be visited upon water suppliers and their customers.

While liberals work industriously at “remaking the world,” as Victor David Hanson describes their current mania, there’s little doubt the once Golden State is gradually slipping into Venezuela-like third world status. One only need look at the infrastructural needs of California, ignoring for the moment that California has the highest Supplemental Poverty Measure in America.

California ranks #49 out of 50 for “road quality” according to the U.S. News & World Report rankings. This after the CA Dept. of Finance, between 2000 and 2014, reported government collected more than $61.2 billion of “gas” taxes. In response to this ranking, liberals levied $58 billion of new gas taxes to solve “the problem.”

Meanwhile, the California Energy Commission reveals California increased the amount of “renewable” energy produced by 232% (including an increase of over 2,500% use of solar power). At the same time, California reduced use of natural gas power generation more than 13% of the total in-state generation capacity. Notwithstanding, the drive to control electrical marketplaces and save us from “global climate change” has left nearly 80,000 people in Los Angeles without electricity for nearly 48 hours during this summer’s “heat waves.”

On the water front, the picture is even bleaker. The last major water storage facility built in Northern California (home of most of the water resources exported to Southern California) was the New Melones Dam in 1978. At the time, California’s population was 22.84 million souls and the average CA family of four was using about one acre-foot of water a year or nearly 326,000 gallons of water.

Today, forty years later, 39.54 million people call California home and following the latest series of droughts hitting the state, California families cut their water use by about 50% to just over 163,000 gallons or around 112 gallons per day for each of the four family members.

The “dirty little secret” not being talked about is the potential financial impacts for California families and the water districts that serve them once the new “55 gallons” laws are “enforced” by SWRCB staff.

In 2004, as California faced the possibility of a below-normal water year, a San Diego legislator introduced measures to expand the installation of water meters to all “service connections” across the state as a means of preparing for the next drought. The laws enacted not only required retroactive installation of the meters on all California homes and businesses, but also mandated water suppliers begin billing customers based on “volumetric pricing.”

The phrase “volumetric pricing” is a fancy legislative term meaning water users would pay a “per gallon” charge, rather than what was previously used namely a monthly “per connection” that many water districts used at the time. This meant that water service providers had to recalculate how to fund their annual budgets, while keeping prices low for their customers.

As an example, a fictitious water company’s “old rate” $200,000 budget was based on 5,000 customers paying $40 a month. With metering they have to “spitball” the gallonage customers used annually and what to charge for per gallon to maintain their budget.

Of course, the problem with “monetizing” resources like water is when the commodity becomes scarce, such as during a drought. For our fictitious company, requiring reductions of 20% of normal use (as required during the last drought) means service providers potentially lose 20% of their annual budget revenue. Imagine the panic associated with trying to figure out how much to charge for each gallon of water, while cutting individual use in half… or how much the new “penalties” will cost per gallon.

California’s liberal societal planners have ignored the future needs of Californians for decades and instead are now demanding people change their lives to adapt to the “Crisis Du Jour” while at the same time insisting that giving them more hard-earned tax dollars will solve things.

To be honest, we have reached the place where fish in Central Valley rivers enjoy 1.08 million gallons of water a day, while humans are limited to 55 gallons a day, I don’t believe it’s climate change that spells doom for our once Golden State.

UPDATE: In the days after this article was first written, the SWRCB seemed to realize their “guess” of how many new fish on each of the three Central Valley Rivers was a bit low so, they modified their prognostication. They now believe 1,100 fish will be the result of the anticipated water flows. Of course, this change alters the allocation for each “fish” from 1,086,667 per day to a measly 592,727 per day. “Human” Californians still face a 55 gallon per day limit, no matter how many “new” Californians arrive. It’s clearly time to grow some gills.