Readers React

California must stop acting like its water shortage isn't real

To the editor: California is in the fourth year of the worst drought in its recorded history and, as Jay Famiglietti warns, has about a year's worth of stored water left. But one wouldn't know it looking at all the still-green lawns. ("California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?," op-ed, March 12)

It's long past time for elected officials to tell us the harsh reality: We have to stop watering our lawns. The water just isn't there anymore.

I know that would be unpopular, but is it better to wait until the taps run dry?

Daniel Fink, Beverly Hills


To the editor: Decades ago, when Kenneth Hahn was a Los Angeles County supervisor, he proposed a scheme to have a pipeline run water down from the Snake River in Idaho to California to alleviate the water shortages that occur here. At the time not much was thought of it, as Hahn occasionally had some far-fetched ideas.

Today, it just might make sense to consider bringing water from the Snake River to parched California. The pipeline would make far more sense than the oil pipeline that was proposed from Canada to Louisiana, and it would create jobs needed to construct the pipeline and provide something beneficial to California and other states.

Over several decades, Australia executed the Snowy Mountain Scheme, which was a huge project that took care of water problems and also created needed hydroelectric capacity. The U.S. should certainly be able to emulate Australia's project, which would be of great benefit to the arid parts of the West and also provide jobs.

Joe Tolosa, San Clemente


To the editor: Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti tells us of the seriousness of the drought and makes several good points to consider. But he did not even mention a major factor prominent in proximal cause and in worsening of the current water shortage: too many people.

Most of us now accept that the severity of this drought has something to do with global climate change. That change would be less with fewer people. Similarly, the demand for water would be less with fewer people.

Nobody is suggesting we dump 20 million Californians into the ocean, but a mechanism of population control has to part of the discussion.

Albert Stroberg, Ojai


To the editor: I encourage The Times to promote a shift to plant-based diets as the most effective action individuals can take to significantly reduce one's water footprint.

It takes approximately 4,000 gallons of water to provide a day's worth of food per person for a meat-centered diet, 1,200 gallons for a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products and eggs, and only 300 gallons for a vegan diet.

Meat and dairy are water-wasteful, inefficient and unsustainable. We must shift to a water-wise, plant-based diet to conserve water now.

Stephanie Winnard, West Hills

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