“Never let a crisis go to waste.” –Rahm Emanuel
Once the reports on California drought begin flooding the airwaves, they never dry up. California is a desert. Least Southern California is. It’s why people move to Southern California in the first place. For its dry, hot weather. It’s why I love it here. I’ve lived in freezing climates and I don’t like it. Give me the sun any day. But the state of California loves to invent ways to make business difficult for folks. What’s that got to do with water? It sets heavy water users, like farmers and owners of resorts or golf courses, compete against each for water advantages. For according to this story, California is awash in water. I mean we’ve got lots of it:
About a decade ago, the blue-collar community of Sun Valley in Los Angeles County was faced with flooding that impacted homes and businesses during winter rains. The county had planned a $47 million storm sewer system to drain the flood waters from streets and dump it in the Pacific Ocean via the Los Angeles River (itself now a mostly concrete flood management canal). Instead, clever community planners decided to invest those funds in underground cisterns that would capture the water for later use.
A dilapidated city park was remodeled with cisterns below, as were medians along broad boulevards that were themselves underwater during heavy rains. The result was a system, using ancient Roman technology (see photo above), that captures 8,000 acre feet of water each year, about twice what the entire city consumes, solving the flooding problem and creating a source of fresh water for thousands of residents. The investment also gave the city a new park with ball fields and picnic grounds and higher adjacent property values.
Read more at “How to Fix California’s Drought Problems.”