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The Green Life: For Blog Action Day, a Look at California's Water Crisis

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October 15, 2010

For Blog Action Day, a Look at California's Water Crisis

Water Shortage In keeping with today's theme of water as part of Blog Action Day, we're focusing on a state that has long been thirsting for better water infrastructure: California.

Not all of the Golden State sports beaches and bikinis. In fact, much of it is desert. For almost as long as California has been a state, its denizens have searched for a reliable water source by which to support their rapid expansion. And for America's most productive farming state (it provides half of our nation's fruit, nuts, and vegetables), California is suspiciously lacking in H20.

Last September, the controversial and expensive Proposition 18, a purported attempt to alleviate California's water crisis while protecting riparian ecosystems, was given a two-year delay on the California ballot in order to modify some of its more unpopular details. The proposition intended to divert some water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California via a manmade pipeline called the Peripheral Canal. The proposed legislation would also have allowed for the building of multiple dams throughout California, many of which would be privately owned.

Despite its supposed intentions, the proposition drew great criticism from many, especially Delta farmers, who claimed the plan would mostly benefit California's agribusiness behemoths. Environmentalists were miffed too, knowing that Prop 18's efforts to protect ecosystems were shallow at best.

Prop 18 will seep back onto the ballot in 2012 (albeit in a different form), as California's water issues remain blatantly unresolved. To learn more about the issue, visit the Association of California Water Agencies' water-crisis site or read Marc Reisner's 1993 classic, Cadillac Desert. But be careful: You know what happens to nosy people poking around California's water issues.

Be sure, also, to check out other blog posts about water from around the world today, or to post your own.

--Ronny Smith

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