The California “mega-drought” has officially gained the attention of the regulatory community.

Recently, a NASA administrator pushed the panic button hard… by saying the Golden State had less than a year of water in its reserves and that it needs to start water rationing now!

California will run out of water in 12 months, according to a NASA scientist.

The state only has one year of supply left in its reservoirs due to persistent drought and is also running out of backup groundwater, Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote.

The drought means that total water storage in California, which has been in decline since 2002, has been sapped by the need to use the resource for farming, he said in the Los Angeles Times.

…Famiglietti suggested immediate water-rationing measures, which are being considered in southern California, across the state.

Color me skeptical, in a nice golden brown shade. The last time a NASA scientist chimed in on the climate, it turns out the temperatures used to tout the “hottest year ever” were chalk full of errors. Why should I trust any government scientist’s interpretation about climate policy matters when there are money and regulations to be made?

In fact, following the money in this instance is the most logical step to take! It turns out that our state’s legislators are mulling over water rate hikes.

Why?

Because previous water rate hikes, done in the name of water conservation, have actually led to use reduction. Therefore, our state took in less moneyunexpectedly.

Faced with a drought that won’t quit, officials have taken new steps to add to Californians’ discomfort — a fresh round of rate hikes. Regulators in the San Francisco Bay Area have begun the march toward charging significantly more for water, pleading that limited rainfall this spring has left them with no choice.

…The agencies have found themselves between a rock and a hard place this year, reluctant to put the squeeze on already restive residents, but strapped with mounting costs set to increase even further.

As Beau Goldie, CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, bluntly told the San Jose Mercury News, “We don’t want to raise water rates.” But Goldie and other district chiefs have targeted hikes of 30 percent or more because water conservation has slashed sales. As the Mercury News reported:

“Because they have sold less water, the agencies have lost tens millions of dollars in revenues. They also have had to spend more money on drought-related expenses such as buying extra water from outside the Bay Area to help meet demand, expanding public relations budgets to ask the public to use less water amid shortages, and offering rebates to homeowners who replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants or old, leaky appliances with water-efficient ones.”

Of course, the funding issue isn’t hurting the bureaucrats leading the water agencies either. They are still managing to find a way to water their own gardens.

A new investigation into executive pay at the four largest Bay Area water districts revealed that many of the region’s top water managers take home massive paychecks, despite the onset of a fourth year of drought in California.

…Leading the way is EBMUD General Manager Alex Coate, who earned $445,000 in salary and benefits last year, according to the report. Meanwhile, Contra Costa Water District General Manager Jerry D. Brown earned $416,000 last year, and SFPUC manager Harlan Kelly raked in $411,000. Rounding out the top four is SCVWD CEO Beau Goldie, who earned $388,o00 last year. Goldie was the only executive among the four districts whose pay did not exceed $400,000, but that recently changed when the District voted to reward Goldie with a $20,000 bonus and a $10,000 raise.

Fortunately, some savvy Californians are proposing more than rationing and rate hikes. The San Diego area will soon be home to the largest ocean desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere and 15 more are proposed across the state.

Environmental concerns that prevented these facilities from being built earlier seem to have evaporated. It is good to see reason prevail over voodoo science for a change.