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Winter Storms End Government’s Water Restrictions for Millions of Californians

Winter Storms End Government’s Water Restrictions for Millions of Californians

But officials warn people not to get too excited…as plans to curtail use of Colorado River water are being proposed (including the Biden administration paying farmers to let fields go dry).

I have been covering the “atmospheric rivers” and “bomb cyclones” converging over California this year.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that this summer, one Southern California community decided to put water restrictors on homes deemed “water wasters.” That move was one of the other onerous water-restriction rules imposed across the state…all in the dame of “drought relief.”

The drought-busting rainfall has meant the end of water restrictions for nearly 7 million people in Southern California.

Even as residents struggled to clean up before the next round of winter arrives in the coming days — with some 27,000 people still under evacuation orders statewide Wednesday — the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s decision brought relief amid the state’s historic drought.

The district supplies water for 19 million people in six counties. The board imposed the restrictions, which included limiting outdoor watering to one day a week, in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties last year during a severe shortage of state water supplies.

However, government officials are quick to temper expectations, especially in light of new environmentally-activist plans for the Colorado River.

Significant challenges remained for the region’s main water source, the Colorado River, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California warned.

“Metropolitan continues to call on residents and businesses across the region to use water as efficiently as possible to refill storage and prepare for potential steep cuts to supplies from the Colorado River,” water district officials said.

The Colorado River provides drinking water to more than 40 million people in the seven Western states, including California, but decades of drought in the region has reduced the river’s flow substantially, while states have used more water than has been sustainable.

The US government has tasked Western states that rely on the river to come up with a plan to reduce usage by one-third of the river’s yearly average flow.

Issues surrounding the Colorado River will be important to keep an eye on. In the name of “climate change,” the Biden administration is paying Colorado River farmers and ranchers to let their fields run dry.

Climate change has made the Colorado River the dryest it’s been in more than a thousand years. Chronic overuse has depleted the reservoirs that sprawling cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas depend on. Remote workers moving to the Southwest have made the water shortage worse.

To cut back, the Biden administration has allocated $125 million to pay farmers in the Upper Basin states not to farm — a small portion of the $4 billion efforts to conserve the river’s water. Knowing they have to do something, Grand Valley farmers and ranchers want better compensation to make fallowing worth their while.

And states that rely on the river for water struggle to devise plans to cut usage.

In January, six of the seven basin states (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) proposed a Consensus-Based Modeling Alternative, which recommended that the Bureau of Reclamation model how Infrastructure Protection Volumes, based on estimated system losses, might be shared proportionately between all water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin.

Everyone benefits from the dams and infrastructure that have been built, often with tax dollars; six states agree that sharing in the burden of system losses is reasonable.

California is the holdout, proposing instead its own modeling framework, which recommended a combination of voluntary and priority-based reductions that could result in 6 million people in Arizona’s metropolitan areas and 10 Native American tribes who rely on water from the Central Arizona Project losing all or most of their Colorado River water supply.

Furthermore, because it does not distribute system losses proportionately, the framework reduces Arizona and Nevada’s water supplies to cover California’s losses.

States expecting California to be reasonable, or make sensible plans for water infrastructure, are likely to be disappointed.

Meanwhile, two more storms will slam into California next week as the “climate change” goodness continues.

I would suggest that a better plan would be to recognize the area’s natural climate cycles and create dams and other water infrastructure to store water for drier periods.


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Lifting restrictions must be very annoying to Government regulators. Soon they will be calling 99% full below normal and resume restrictions.

    Of course it is!

    The rains in CA could have stored enough water for 10 years – if there was a water storage project that has been completed in the past 40 years. There were none.

    We know why.

      California has received significant federal funds over the years to improve their reservoirs, but the money (surprise) was not used for that purpose.

      The drought levels were a direct result of incompetent and fraudulent actions by California state government. the current funding was caused by the same people,

The word for “volunteer” in Californicaspeak is “voluntold.”

They never seem to have the ability to save water when it comes to them by the bucketload. Just let in run into the ocean because a snail darter needs a puddle to breed in.

If they had built the reservoirs that were planned in the fifties they would be in good shape for years.

E Howard Hunt | March 21, 2023 at 9:03 am

The driest thing I’ve read today.

Not content with wasting tax dollars it seems the CA govt wants to take AZ and NV allocation off the Colorado River to replace the water the CA govt wastes every year.

This battle over water isn’t going away. The western States have expanded their demand for water above what can be supplied. Creating new reservoirs to store more water would help. However, remember that Lake Mead is a reservoir and the water level has dropped nearly 200 feet since the early ’80s.

This past summer Lake Mead was barely above the level required for power generation. Cities in the desert like Las Vegas are eventually going to run out of water from elsewhere to bring to those cities built in locations without adequate rain, snow and storage capacity.

    gonzotx in reply to CommoChief. | March 21, 2023 at 10:12 am

    Has all this snow and water helped Lake Mead at all?

      CommoChief in reply to gonzotx. | March 21, 2023 at 11:46 am

      Not really. The reported snow pack for the areas that feed the Colorado River is 146% of normal which is good. Problem is that snow pack melts in spring/summer is what feeds the Colorado River basin. One year above average won’t do it. Generally speaking the snowmelt begins in April.

      Ultimately some of these urban centers in desert or semi arid areas without the needed amount of precipitation are going to have shrink. It doesn’t matter if you require residents to cut back individually when the population and thus overall demand increases each year. Especially when the environmental weirdos won’t support additional infrastructure needed to store the water in high precipitation years to be used in low precipitation years.

      States have been fighting over water for decades in post WWII era and the problem of demand in ever expanding desert cities keeps growing. Atlanta is another city that expanded beyond its ability to provide water; in essence they steal water from Alabama and Florida. They drain a reservoir which was built to control flooding and ensure the downstream communities along the river basin to the Gulf had consistent water flow.

The Climate Change angle is really stupid. This is the California climate. Much of it is semi-arid desert, It is years of drought followed by months of rain and flooding. It has repeated about 5-6 times in my lifetime. I would like to see a time series list of LA Times headlines with the words drought, flood, and mudslides eliminating reference outside of California.

    ” I would like to see a time series list of LA Times headlines with the words drought, flood, and mudslides eliminating reference outside of California….”

    The LA Times is a leftist propaganda rag. You’ll grow old waiting.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 21, 2023 at 10:46 am

One major thing that would help: if those who lived in the desert or semi-desert regions would go over to “water wise” landscaping, the amount of water conserved would be considerable. I switched my yards over to it in Nevada, and did virtually no watering. It still looked good.

    Griz, is “water wise” landscaping also known as “rock”? Sequim has attracted retirees in droves who often replace lawns with rock-scaping. Funny to see in the green PNW, although back in the day, because of weather patterns bending around Sequim in what pilots call the “blue hole”, there was a swath known as “cactus flats” that settlers turned to productive farm land by an intricate irrigation network.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to MrE. | March 21, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      No. It is known as whatever plants end up providing aloe; various desert flowers, blooming cactus, and other things. Done up in a nice pattern with, yes, some rocks, it can look quite nice.

The AG central valley of CA can produce enough food to feed most of the US population, but water shortages has required water wells up to 350 feet and the ground to shrink to almost 2 feet. This has made pumping of water extremely difficult, expensive and is exceeding pumping limitations. The State government needs to stop sending large amounts of excess water to the ocean and route it to the Central Valley to refill its aquifers or louse this needed food production!

    MattMusson in reply to jrcowboy49. | March 21, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    UNICEF announced that hunger is up 25% this year after decades of decline.
    NETZERO as currently envisioned will push 2 Billion people into Starvation. Never in human history have that many people been purposely exterminated.

BierceAmbrose | March 21, 2023 at 4:35 pm

So, they’ve found a way to weaponize weather and seasons, to label a new scape goat out group to blame for it all. More fodder for the real game of pattronage and imposed fealty: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

CA has been systematically destroying its dams for decades.

So now, rather than filling all those reservoirs they used to have, most of this snow melt will flow out to sea instead.