One of the common themes in drought journalism (mine at times included, sadly) is the tendency to cry “drought” at minor excursions into the down side of natural variability, when the real problem is not so much water supply as voracious consumption. Blaming nature is a whole lot easier than blaming ourselves.
Is that the case now in California? Bettina Boxall’s story in this morning’s LA Times (h/t Belshaw) seems to suggest it might be:
The water interests who have spit out grim news releases the last two months were silent Monday in the face of the growing snowpack.
Those who would like to build new reservoirs and canals and to weaken environmental regulations have invoked the drought like a mantra in recent weeks.
A recently introduced congressional bill that would allow federal officials to relax endangered-species protections in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is titled the California Drought Alleviation Act.
“For over 100 years in California, the drought argument has been used consistently to justify actions, and I think this is no exception,” said Robert Wilkinson, director of the Water Policy Program at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.