Monday, February 25, 2008

Running on Empty

The L.A. Times is running a series of editorials on water and water policy. It's welcome news that the Times is taking the issue of L.A.'s water resources seriously. From today's editorial:
The early history of Los Angeles was defined by its struggle to get water wherever, and whenever, it could. William Mulholland and his colleagues did such a good job of securing water supplies during the early 20th century -- building the 223-mile-long, gravity-fed Los Angeles Aqueduct, which imports water from the Owens Valley; establishing the Metropolitan Water District, which brings in water from the Colorado River and Northern California -- that those of us living here today take for granted our lush gardens and year-round blooms. They appear a native bounty when they are, in fact, a work of man. We offer pious lip service to the notion that water is scarce when the weather is dry, only to forget our concerns at the fall of the first raindrop. Implicitly, we behave as if water will always be available and unlimited.

This must change. This page did not like the water bond that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed last year, but he is on to something when he insists that California needs to rethink its complicated and woefully overburdened water system. It has been said many times before, but it bears repeating: Our state's breathtaking natural beauty, envied easygoing lifestyle and booming economy . . . depend on an ambitiously conceived network of aqueducts, pumps, dams and pipes that will literally run dry if we don't invest heavily to change the way we use, capture, store and distribute water.

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