A couple of stories recently caught my eye, in which “drought” is blamed for what is largely an issue of water overconsumption.
The first was a City News story on San Diego water supply. The reporter said this:
California and the Colorado River basin have been in a years-long drought, which has forced reductions in deliveries of water from the Colorado….
All Colorado River water contractors have received their full allotment over the past decade. As I’ve written before, despite the drought, Lake Mead (and therefore the Lower Basin) has received its full allotment of water each year of the drought.
I don’t want to be too hard on the CNS reporter who wrote this. The author was obviously just capturing what’s the conventional wisdom – which is to blame drought, rather than the fact that consumption exceeds supply.
Case study two is an AP story blaming drought for dropping levels in the Ogallala Aquifer:
Lingering drought during 2009 forced farmers to rely more on irrigation wells drilled into the Ogallala Aquifer and drew down the water at the steepest rate in a decade.
When you have to rely on overdrafting your aquifer to cope with the dry side of the natural range of variability, brother, you’ve got a consumption problem.
But it’s always easier to blame “drought.”