Drought means we should do that thing I already knew we should do

Mark Lubell at U.C. Davis has a fascinating post about the history and politics of drought:

[N]early every scientist, commentator, and politician is using drought to make some call for their preferred political change. Regulate groundwater. More storage. Build the twin tunnels. Pass the long-delayed water bond.

So given that we’ve been here before (click through for useful historical examples), did the hair-on-fire response to previous drought create water systems in California that are more resilient and able to handle the current one?

Therefore, the second key question is whether or not the policy changes stimulated by past droughts have actually improved water management in California. Have we learned anything from our past experiences? Stated more precisely, the question is how much damage will California suffer, given the same level of drought?

I would argue that Southern California’s relative stable situation supports a “yes” answer to the question, but I’d defer to people in the midst of the California drought for a more informed response.