California does not have a drought. It has an engineered population explosion. A constant supply of water + more and more people = less water per person. Do the math, ‘homo sapiens.’ It’s not complicated. Even a primate can do it!
Here is a plot of the annual rainfall in California for over a century (from http://www.water.ca.gov)
You will notice two things. First, there is a lot of year-to-year variability. Second, the overall trend is pretty constant. Once enough dams had been built to smooth out the year-to-year variability, California has had a remarkably consistent supply of fresh water.
But here is the estimated population of California (from Wikipedia, Feb 6, 2014):
(Note that these estimates are probably on the low side: I expect that the current true number is greater than 40 million).
The burst to nearly 20 million by 1970 was due to the migration of Americans to that state, to take advantage of the wonderful climate – but which could only be enjoyed once water distribution and storage had been developed. (It doesn’t matter how physically pleasant the climate is if you have no water, which is why pre-European populations in this area were so small).
However, the post-1970 doubling was created deliberately by your oligarchs, by importing massive numbers of third-world refugees in order to increase the competition for jobs, decrease wages, and increase profits. Without this policy, if the people of the United States had simply been left alone, the population would have been roughly stable at about 20 million. Still a lot, but few enough that the current ‘drought’ would be little more than a temporary nuisance.
When populations are forced upwards, sooner or later a limit will be hit, and poverty and misery will then cause population growth to slow the hard way. These limits will tend to be hit during years when the weather is bad, but even if the weather were always perfect this would only put off the day of reckoning by a few years.
There has always been weather, and it has always been erratic. When populations are well below the current carrying capacity of the combination of land and technology, and there is a sizable surplus, small downturns are of little import. When populations push up against limits, even minor downturns can be disastrous.
Don't blame the weather. It got here first, humans, and it does what it has always done. If water or food run short you should blame yourselves.
Your neoliberals persist in their ability to lie at multiple levels at once. Suppose that I say that there is no problem if I throw you off a cliff, because human beings are so amazingly capable that you are guaranteed to fly – it’s so clearly true that no debate can be allowed. So I throw you off of a cliff and you fall to your death, and I blame you for not flapping your arms hard enough. This is a lie for two reasons: 1. I guaranteed that you would be able to flap your arms hard enough to fly, I never said that this might not be possible for you with the time and resources available. 2: No unaided human being in all of history has been able to fly by flapping their arms.
The neoliberals say that jamming in ever more people to a land without an open frontier is guaranteed to be a good thing. Then, when things go bad, they say oh it’s because people didn’t work hard enough, or have the right tax laws etc. But they never said that jamming people in would require perfect tax laws or harder work in advance, did they? And in truth, for societies without an open frontier (nowadays pretty much all of them), no society has EVER prospered in the face of rapid population growth.
Sure, people can build airplanes – with enough time and resources. But the most brilliant aeronautical engineers will die if you throw them off a cliff with no materials and time to work with. And maybe someday hundreds or thousands of years from now humans will develop clean cheap fusion power and be able to make large quantities of fresh water economically and 100 million people will be able to live in California in comfort – but that does not happen automatically just because you have jammed in a bunch of extra labor today, does it? In fact the opposite: by burning up your surplus supporting more people now, you have less to invest in developing future technologies, and to implement them on an industrial scale.
When a population is doubled in size, the water falling on the land does not automatically double. Fresh water can be made out of seawater but desalinization is so energy-intensive that it is irrelevant to the current situation. Sure, the people of California can conserve and make do with less – that is to say, become poorer. That works.
The neoliberals will double a population, and if the food harvest only increases by 50%, why, the shortage of food is clearly because of a massive crop failure! It must be the weather.
I propose a simple law: any politician or economist who helped to force California’s population growth, they and their families should be restricted by law to the median water consumption of the average person. Let them practice what they have preached. No swimming pools, no long hot showers, no watered lawns, etc. They’d squeal like stuck pigs! ‘Conservation’ – i.e., poverty – is so for little people, and the joy of being a neoliberal economist is that the poverty you so rapturously trumpet as something wonderful (Thrift! Discipline! Efficiency!) is somehow never applicable to you.