Reduce water…and continue building? Huh?

Global warming could make drought last decades

California in five years? Good chance of such a drought.
  • California in five years? Good chance of such a drought.

Yesterday (April 1), Governor Jerry Brown imposed statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history. He wants California's water use slashed by 25 percent. He read off some horrifying statistics: the state's snowpack is 5 percent of normal. In January of last year, Brown wanted water usage to drop 20 percent, but the state achieved only half that. From now on, college campuses, cemeteries, golf courses, etc. will have to use less water.

On the same day, a San Diego city councilman declared that a Mission Valley real estate development, including thousands of condos and apartments, a hotel, offices, and retailers could generate enough money to pay for a subsidized Chargers stadium. Did anybody ask if there would be enough water for the condos, apartments, hotel, offices, retailers — and stadium?

Meanwhile, the battle over One Paseo, a proposed 1.4 million-square foot Carmel Valley development (also condos, apartments, retailers, offices) — already approved by the city council — roared on. Courageous San Diegans are opposing this monstrosity — but their main argument is possible traffic jams, not water. In Los Angeles, there are plans for a huge development and football stadium in Inglewood, as well as more development downtown. Is anybody thinking about water?

Last fall, scientists from Cornell, the University of Arizona, and the United States Geological Survey published a study stating that because of global warming, the chances of the Southwestern United States experiencing a decade-long drought — are 50 percent. And the chance of a megadrought — one lasting up to 35 years — is 20 to 50 percent over the next century. And ponder this: among the most vulnerable metro areas, according to these scientists, is San Diego.

Yesterday's New York Times quoted Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton. Said he, commenting on the California drought: "The drought is made up of two components: not enough rain and too much heat. The rain deficit isn't clearly connected to climate change, but the planetary warming has made it more likely that the weather will be hotter in California."

Said the Times, "Warmer temperatures worsen drought by causing more evaporation from reservoirs, rivers, and soil. Scientists say that the warming trend makes it highly likely that California and other parts of the Western United States will have more severe droughts in the future."

Yet, California's state bird remains the High-Rise Crane. Development is going on everywhere. Governor Brown's father, Gov. Pat Brown, wanted to attract people to California. Does his son feel that way? Still? How much scientific evidence does California need? How much evidence do the vulnerable cities, such as San Diego and Phoenix, need?

Isn't it time for some long-term thinking? It's nice to limit how much water one can get in a restaurant. But that is the proverbial drop in the bucket.

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It is all about money and with money you buy political clout. As with any shortage money seems to be the solution.

AlexClarke: The Federal Reserve has been printing money frenetically since early 2009; we are flooded with the stuff and still don't have enough. Best, Don Bauder

Don - doesn't make sense to build (ugly) condos to fill in a natural river valley while pretending to care where water is going to come from. The stadium project is disgusting. I hope some LA town that's already wasteland takes the Chargers and their fulltimerfans. Inglewood is still a nice enough place. Seriously, what disrespect for nature and a disappearing habitat to breathe. It was beautiful farmland. Why can't they stop and think about food and water first? Many will dehydrate and starve right here, if radiation doesn't kill us first. The governor can't be trusted and neither Faulconer or councils. San Diegans don't want to leave but it's not protected from rich-man monster-goblin-land-gobblers. On a previous rope - danfogel - I thought you were talking about the detective in Dragnet, the really old police TV show but that goes all the way back to 1951 "Just the Facts Ma'am" or Car 54 Where Are You? (1961-63). We could use more Leslie Nielsen about now.

shirleyberan: Right you are. San Diego has horrible infrastructure problems, and not enough money to solve them. So a councilman wants the pols to build a monstrous development to generate enough money to give a billion dollar (or more) subsidy to a football team. Insanity. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan I was around when Dragnet and Car 54 Where Are You? were on TV but too young to remember anything but reruns in syndication. In any case, I said movies not TV shows. Although a fan, especially of the earlier folk rock country sound of his first 3 albums, I am not related to to him. Dan Fogel is simply my chosen nom de guerre in this go round with the reader.

danfogel: Wasn't Dragnet the show in which the hero would say something like, "Just the facts, ma'am"? Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I was only 1 or 2 when the Original Dragnet went off the air. However, I do remember the second incarnation in the late sixties and reruns of the original (black and white ) version. Yours is a common misconception. Jack Webb's character Joe Friday wasn't a "hero", simply the protagonist. And the line was "All we want are the facts, ma'am" or sometimes "All we know are the facts ma'am."

danfogel: I was in college in the '50s when Dragnet was hot, but I don't know if I ever saw it. It just heard about the "facts, ma'am." I was working in Chicago when Car 54 came on, but I can't remember having seen it. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: The people who argue that California can fix its water problem by taking it away from farmers are not thinking about food first. Best, Don Bauder

Mission "Valley" is not a valley, it's a river-plain--every place there's Holocene sedimentary deposits. The San Diego River used to run year 'round and had a steelhead run.

Don, you're placing a lot of the blame on development. Development follows population. How do you stop people from coming to live here? The only time the migration goes the other way is when jobs dry up, and that would be bad for everybody. I don't see a solution there. One Paseo is meeting demand with supply, it seems to me. I also happen to find a lot of merit in building high-density housing there of all places.

Where I think we might agree is on building more hotels when there are already too many, developing Mission Valley which is a natural river valley (go away Chargers).

What I don't want to see is toilet to tap, or desalinization plants.

What's crazy is a downtown water park. What's crazy is water-intensive businesses and attractions and corporate and other commercial agriculture (they get cut rates on their water) in a desert.

What we need to address is climate change. What the governor ought to do is force developers to install solar panels and clothes lines on their properties. What the feds ought to do is buy a Prius for everybody, cheaper than fighting wars for oil. These two things would also save the planet.

My two cents.

When JOBS dry up? How about when the STATE dries up?

Two of the solutions are the ones you don't want to see.

aardvark: The trouble with "jobs" as a solution is the word is usually a stalking horse for "subsidy." Best, Don Bauder

KLoEditor: My solution? Water. Tackling climate change. Infrastructure. Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: Good point: this is how serious climate change may be for California. Best, Don Bauder

I agree the downtown waterpark (in the midst of the worst drought, yet) was the stupidest waste of money. Ever. With this new announcement, will it now cease to run? Astounding how so few people are not incensed about it.

QueenMe: San Diegans hear so much idiocy from their leaders they get immune to it. Best, Don Bauder

Note: The downtown water park is in front of the County Admin building and is County property and built by the brilliant county administrators.

AlexClarke: When I was at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in the 1950s, a big donor wanted his name remembered. So he dedicated a fountain, with this deeply profound quote by him: "Teachers and books are the springs from which flow the waters of knowledge." It was the biggest joke of the campus. I had a girlfriend who had been imbibing; she jumped into the fountain at midnight in front of a hooting crowd of other drunks.The cops were laughing so hard they didn't arrest her. Best, Don Bauder

Murphyjunk: Maybe numb is a better word. Best, Don Bauder

KLoEditor: What you call "My two cents" is worth a billion dollars for one sentence: "What we need to address is climate change." Amen. Best, Don Bauder


Don, if I wasn't clear before, the point I was making earlier is that development isn't the problem, as long as it's smart and well thought out, even if the community opposes it because communities can be very stupid and selfish, not always but often enough. I would personally prefer zero development, but I understand that when you see no development, that's usually a sign that people, and jobs, are leaving. Is there a balance somewhere between no building and no loss? I've never seen it happen like that in San Diego, though I suppose theoretically it's possible.

In the meantime, if we can force developers to make water the first and foremost concern in their plans, then we ought to do it. Water supply, water conservation, water-free landscaping, water and energy efficient appliances, clotheslines (many HOAs won't allow them), and solar panels.

Clothesline? They are tacky (unless hidden away in backyards so nobody seesm them), and they don't save on water. Efficient gas (not electric) dryers are better, and most people aren't going to hang up their laundry like in the '50s. Bad idea.

dwbat: We hung laundry on clotheslines when we initially moved to San Diego (1973) but quickly stopped because of the air pollution. Best, Don Bauder

Re clotheslines: I've never seen or lived in a working class neighborhood that didn't have laundry lines strung across the yard, or laundry hanging over a fence. Please. Rejecting clotheslines has nothing to do with dryers drying better or air pollution. It has everything to do with selfishness.

KLoEditor: Agreed: clotheslines have a place in our history, and still have a place in our present. Best, Don Bauder

Laundry hanging over a fence? That is very unsightly, and unacceptable. We are not a Third World country. Working class neighborhoods once had ringer washers, wash boards and butter churns on their back porch. We're not bringing those back, and it's not likely clotheslines will make a comeback in cities. Let's drop that idea.

KLoEditor: Economic factors have great control over in-migration and out-migration. Home costs are driving people out of San Diego now. Ditto for the overall cost of living. High taxes play a role.

If climate change goes ahead as many forecast, heat and lack of (or expensive) water will drive some people out of California. Best, Don Bauder

"Where I think we might agree is on building more hotels when there are already too many, developing Mission Valley which is a natural river valley (go away Chargers)."

Sorry if this wasn't clear, I probably should have said,

Where I think we might agree is on NOT building more hotels when there are already too many, and NOT developing Mission Valley which is a natural river valley (go away Chargers).

KLoEditor: Good point. Does San Diego really need more development of Mission Valley? Best, Don Bauder

What's wrong with desalinization plants? The oceans are not running dry. The Carlsbad plant is going to help out a lot with our water needs when it goes online next year.

I think some of the creatures in the ocean don't like highly concentrated brine (the byproduct of desalination) getting piped their way.

To me it seems like a reasonable tradeoff and I think we should have desalinization in CA. Should also have bigger reservoirs.

ImJustABill: I can't argue with either point. Best, Don Bauder

The only problem with bigger reservoirs, apart from where to put them and how to pay for them, is that no matter how big you make them, there still isn't any water to put in them.

danfogel: Photos of California reservoirs tell that story. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Desal is expensive, but may be the long-term solution. Best, Don Bauder

I already know that. Once again, a useless comment to me.

dwbat: Yes, but responses here are aimed at the broad audience, not to just one commenter who may have posed the question or made the observation. Best, Don Bauder

If it is directed at all people here, then please make it a new comment instead of directing it to me. Thanks.

KLoEditor: Development often gets far ahead of population. Then there is massive overbuilding and prices plunge. Best, Don Bauder

I believe that's been the pattern in the past. Developers build, overbuild when the economy is red-hot, then the economy slows down and they stop building and then the real estate market takes up the slack and then the economy heats up again and then developers start to build, then -- But I don't think that will be the pattern in the future.

KLoEditor: You have precisely described the m.o. of real estate developers. They keep building, even when they see the market falling apart. (What about oil companies? Right now they continue to pump oil even with the price collapse.)

It would take a lot of economic carnage for developers to change their behavior, at least soon. This mentality is deeply inculcated in the industry, and banking practices and bankruptcy laws encourage it. Best, Don Bauder

I believe William White is correct. The majority of water in CA is used by agriculture. Limiting development, and encouraging less residential water use will help a little bit.

But it's really a drop (bad pun) in the bucket compared to the agricultural use.

Let me know when we stop growing almonds and alfalfa then I'll think about taking shorter showers.

ImJustABill: Economists often say the state's water problem could be solved with better distribution. Now, farmers get too much, say the economists On the other hand, agriculture is a very important industry. It's a gift that keeps on giving. Plunk houses on the land and it only gives once. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Economists always insist that if farmers got less, there would be enough water for Californians. There is some truth to that. But if we fallowed farmland, would we just build condos there? Building condos on rich farmland (see Davis, California, the center of agricultural education) is bad economics, in my judgment. Best, Don Bauder

Yes that's true but I don't think Fresno and Modesto would necessarily be highly sought after spots for condo construction.

ImJustABill: They might be if the condos would be cheap and employment were available. Best, Don Bauder

Every family that moves into San Diego will need water. Every new home that invites a family to San Diego contributes to our shortfall. The developer who builds that home goes through a permit process, part of which should include an environmental impact assessment (water being a crucial aspect of the environment), and should pay a heavy fee according to the anticipated water usage.

Instead, existing residents have to pay for the infrastructure that we gift to new residents. We build roads for them, install expanded utility wiring and plumbing, we expand our sewage treatment capacity and our school system and we give them cheap water. This cost should be borne by developers and ultimately the buyers of new homes. Oh, but that would raise the price of the new homes and cut into the profit to the developers. So which side are our politicians on: developers or taxpayers/ratepayers? (hint- ask Don)

We've been fed the lie for too long that everything will be better as we 'expand our economy'. Reality- more people, more consumption, more traffic, more noise, yadda, and less water for us. Less sense of community... When I came to San Diego many decades ago there were bumper stickers "Welcome to San Diego, now go home!". But then we drank the kool-aid and let the politicians and fat cats have their way with us.

I think it's not just San Diego - our entire society is built upon the idea that constant rapid economic expansion is always good.

We are getting more efficient at using water and energy but at some point we may be using them too fast. Can we really get more efficient at how we use water, energy, and other natural resources faster than the rate of economic and population growth? At some point we may hit limits and the rate of population and economic growth may have to plummet one way or another.

We may already be at that point.

ImJustABill: Indeed, economics is based on growth. GDP is growth of the total economy, e.g. I agree: population growth and economic growth should not be society's aim. But try running for office on that platform. Best, Don Bauder

Haha. Papa Doug doesn't get a mention for operating the town?

ImJustABill: Adding Papa Doug's name would make the bumper sticker too long for the intermediate size car. Best, Don Bauder

Compared to Sempra Energy, Manchester is an amateur power player..

dwbat: Right now, he is peeling off assets. Financing of his projects looks shaky. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Pass out those bumper stickers far and wide. Best, Don Bauder

I would if I actually had any printed out.

dwbat: Then crank up your printing press. I can't volunteer my printing press because I use it to manufacture money. Trouble is, I put my own picture on the bills, and get caught all the time. Best, Don Bauder

swell: I agree with your points. Developers should have to guarantee and pay for the water. You are correct that developers should have to pay a larger part of infrastructure costs than they now pay.

You are also right that economic growth -- and billowing consumption -- must be reevaluated. The field of economics is based on growth. There has to be something more realistic. Best, Don Bauder

"Welcome to San Diego, now go home!" Those were the good 'ol days.
Now, an offended transplant will key your car or worse.

Ponzi: Love of money killed that slogan of yore. Best, Don Bauder

swell--New developments have for the past 30+ years been assigned to Mello-Roos districts, sometimes listed as special assessment districts. For up to 40 years, these homeowners pay into funds which are supposed to support the building of schools, roads and other infrastructure that these new communities need. Part of the fund goes to the city (whatever city that may be) and part to the school district(s). Many of these funds specify a 25 year period of payments into these funds. Occasionally, the developer pays upfront, which is why sometimes you will see "No Mello-Roos!" advertised on banners or billboards at these developments.

Unfortunately, the Mello-Roos is well-funded, but there are many problems with the usage of the funds. School districts do not have Oversight Committees for Mello-Roos funds the way they do (or should have) for the various bond measures that are passed. There is little to no reporting of the status of Mello-Roos funds as they contribute to cities and school districts. Specific totals are frequently glossed over, funds are mixed, and in Sweetwater, for example, it has been said that CFD #1 has been at 180% of funding--yet the Sweetwater school district continues to increase Mello-Roos by the 2% per year allowable by law.

Constituents requested an audit of Mello-Roos funds last fall, and we thought we were getting an audit. But the temporary board, filled by one permanent member, John McCann, and four appointees from the County Board of Education TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO CHANGE THIS TO A REVIEW. Which was essentially meaningless. As is the County Board of Education, for the most part. But I digress.

In summary: all areas that have Mello-Roos funding going to school districts and cities should demand a full accounting of all monies collected and spent, because there is way too much nonsense taking place. And by nonsense, feel free to use your collective imaginations. It is not an exaggeration to realize that millions are collected and there are no real controls on the spending. It's free money for those with no moral compass, which is why it has been such a problem in the Sweetwater school district. So sad that Susan Luzzaro is no longer reporting for the Reader. Her voice is a good one, and is greatly missed. The Reader's loss. And a great loss to all who respect community reporting.

When those San Diego horrible fires came, I think 2003, 2007, apparently there was inadequate water infrastrure built into the suburbs to save homes. The pipes within the city are always bursting because they're so old. The tap water is barely drinkable. The "plan" for Mission Valley looks like the architect squeezed as many box buildings onto the lot as possible without a care. Have you ever seen anything with such disregard of the last of the local natural landscape? Friars Road is how you travel when you don't want to use the stinking freeway. Less trafic. That's over. The future generations will never see what the peaceful river valley was like. So unfair to them too. I wasn't trying to be apocalyptic earlier but not everybody has the comfort and safety of home.

shirleyberan: Some of the water pipes date back to the 19th century, I have heard. Best, Don Bauder

I've read that most of the cast iron water mains are 90 to 100 years old, so that's still in the 20th Century. The cast iron Georgia Street Bridge above University Avenue is also 100 years old, and would reportedly crack in a major quake.

dwbat: I have heard of pipes going back to the 19th century. Maybe my source was wrong. Is there a big difference between 100 years old and 120 years old? Best, Don Bauder

The last time I was in San Diego, early last December, there was actually a a pretty big water main break during the middle of the night. I seem to remember someone from the city saying something to the effect that there were still there are 80 miles of the large 16-inch cast iron pipes close some up to 100 yrs old left in San Diego and the city was trying replace those old cast iron water mains by the 2017. I remember that gave me a chuckle or 2. I guess the big difference would be that a 120 year old cast iron water main is 20 yrs closer to a failure, most likely a catastrophic one if it's in your neighbor hood. that a 100 yr old pipe.

danfogel: But the mainstream media seem to ignore the ancient pipes. Something about a subsidized stadium, I would surmise. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Somebody should write a book: "Twenty Years in the Life of a Cast Iron Pipe." Best, Don Bauder

I'm guessing they'll leave the golf course alone, cause it's good for tourists.

dwbat: Developers are also eyeing a course in Escondido. Best, Don Bauder

I already knew that information last year. I'm a longtime journalist.

dwbat: I have been in financial journalism for more than 50 years, having entered the field in 1964. Maybe you can top that. Best, Don Bauder

We're aware of your longevity, as you've mentioned it in the blogs.....over and over and over. Sorry, but we're not going to put on a parade. ;-) My point was that you don't need to instruct me like a schoolmarm about what's going on in San Diego (where I actually live and work; I am NOT out of state). Tell me something I DON'T know, instead of obvious, old, well-known news (like the Escondido golf course development plans).

dwbat: The Escondido golf course story has been kicking around for at least a couple of years. As an editor, you obviously know that news stories can go on for years and years, being updated every once in awhile, sometimes every day. (Example: Chargers stadium.) Editors can't feed readers something new every time, since so many stories have legs. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Under normal circumstances, the golf courses would get off easy. However, the game of golf is having big problems. Fewer people are playing. Courses are going broke as some slash prices, companies manufacturing equipment are experiencing woes.

Under these circumstances, golf courses will get squeezed this time around. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Yes, Shirley. It's not that people flood in and developers then fill a need. The developers go first, and to market their projects, advertise outside the market to bring people in. Jobs play a role, too. If there are none, the in-migration doesn't eventuate and the developers go broke...well, they have a subsidiary that goes broke. Best, Don Bauder

They know how to divert clean water from place to place. I'll have to read about where our water is going because I think it was hijacked by L.A. water-robbers and there's a movie with Jack Nicolson and his nose.

Chinatown actually was about Los Angeles hijacking the water from the Owens Valley and sending it to LA via the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which was designed by William Mulholland. This was back in the the early 1900's when Mulholland was in charge of what is now the DWP. I think it was probably around 1910 or so, maybe a bit later, when it was finished. It essentially turned the Owens Valley ti dust, as far as farming was concerned. San Diego buys most of it's water from the Metropolitan Water District of . Southern California, the MWD. Two completely different entities. Some of the MWD's water comes from Nor Cal and ends up in Lake Castaic. San Diego's share from MWD comes from the Colorado River Aqueduct supply that the MWD gets.

danfogel: I have written several columns about that story. A couple of my columns have asked if Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea will be turned into dust, too. UCSD's Steve Erie is an expert on this topic, and is quoted at length in those columns. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: L.A. hijacked its water (which also comes to San Diego) from elsewhere. There is a movie about it: Chinatown. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder I don't believe any Owens Valley water goes to San Diego. It's mostly the Westside and I think some to the Inland Empire. San Diego's LA water connection is MWD, of which I think all of what they sell San Diego comes from the Colorado River

danfogel: Possible. MWD provides water to SD, and there has been a big court fight over it. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder. Not "possible". Just simply a fact. DWP is the entity that gets it's water from Owens Valley via the Los Angeles Aqueduct and does NOT supply water to San Diego. The lawsuit was filed by the San Diego Water Authority against MDW. Part 1 of the lawsuit ended with a court ruling that rates set by MWD violate several parts of California law. Part 2, which I believe will begin shortly, will determine the amount of damages the Water Authority should be awarded as a result of MWD’s breach of its contractual obligation to set legal rates.

danfogel: Yes, the SD water authority sued MWD. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Yes as I have said and also as I said, MWD supplies water to San Diego, not DWP.

danfogel: Yes, you said it. Best, Don Bauder

Remember, Dan. Bauder does NOT like to be corrected when he's wrong with the facts. And he rarely admits it, or makes a retraction.

dwbat: If I make a mistake that is really significant, I always correct it, as soon as I discover it. But I don't do a mea maxima culpa over a picayune matter. Best, Don Bauder

Miriam Raftery: Quite a story, and wholly believable. I will bet you tell that story well in your publication. Best, Don Bauder

Debra Kuzma: Population control seems to have been forgotten, at least in the United States. Best, Don Bauder

William White: Brown sounded the alarm, but far too late. He did get rid of the redevelopment scam -- one of his great accomplishments -- and that will help in the water crisis. Best, Don Bauder

Gary Viele: But if we dry up agriculture, California loses a lot of income and jobs. I can see some re-routing of water from ag to other uses, but the last thing I would want to see is ag replaced with more residential development. Best, Don Bauder

along those lines, lots of produce coming in from south of the border all year around.

And much of it turns up at Sprouts, where it's cheaper than at the big supermarkets. So that's a good thing.

dwbat: Does it specialize in Brussels Sprouts? Best, Don Bauder

Sprouts does sell a lot of them. I eat them regularly. Just don't overcook them, as the mushiness sets in. Yuk.

Grilled brussels sprouts. Grill them with your bison patties.

Murphyjunk: That Latin American produce is consumed all over the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

Agriculture is about 2% of CA's GSP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California.

I'm not sure how many jobs it provides - but I bet a lot of those jobs are low paying and I think a lot of those jobs are done by illegal immigrants.

Big ag is a big industry. The family farmer is largely a thing of the past - farms are run by companies like Dole, Blue Diamond, Sunkist, etc. I think big agriculture has an inordinate amount of political power in this state and I suspect the political power has more to do with water planning than it should.

I agree more development to replace big ag would be frying pan-to-fire so that's not a good solution.

Just my thoughts.

All fair points. To frame it in more common terms, in 2013, farms and ranches received $46.4 billion for their output. Only 2 % of California's GSP, but still a lot of money. And let me add that if it isn't bad enough for the remaining family farms with the water issues, some of them are now under assault be Jerry's fast train to no where.

danfogel: In time, ag will lose a significant amount of its water. It has to happen if the state is to meet its usage reduction goals. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: The New York Times this morning (April 5) has a story on adjustments California ag will have to make. I haven't read the story yet.

I will say this. Since the Brown pronouncement, the New York Times seems to have written more well-researched stories on California water/drought than some Southern California media I know. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Corporate farming dominates California -- and yes, wages are very low in this industry. Best, Don Bauder

Once again, you've provided "information" that everyone already knows (the low wages). It's like saying: "Yes, the sky is blue."

dwbat: I've lived in one city in which the sky seemed to be gray more often than it was blue. Best, Don Bauder

But very few media are reporting this information. There seems to be an 80/20 rule in CA water reporting. 80% of the news coverage is about 20% of the water users.

ImJustABill: Of course, the media are writing about what they perceive to be their market. Best, Don Bauder

the current situation is kind of like waiting until your credit card account is maxed out and then taking measures to pay it down.

Murphyjunk: Good analogy. Best, Don Bauder

..." then taking measures to pay it down..."

Actually instead of paying it down, they ask for a credit increase.

Ponzi: Yes, credit balloons perilously. See student debt. A trillion-plus. Best, Don Bauder

We can blame much of that debt on those corrupt for-profit schools, like our local company that is still reeling students in for worthless degrees.

Something on KPBS report about a lawsuit with L A water to get more for S D MWD. I'll try to find more about that at some point, but there's a court battle on.

The lawsuit is about rates and the overcharging by MWD to SDCWA for water they purchase. The DCWA also seems to think that it has legal rights to more water than MWD has been giving it for the last 10 years. However, my understanding, based on what I have read, is that the 2nd part of the trial is to determine determine the amount of damages that should be awarded and that the alleged allocation issue is a tangential one which may not be decided or even addressed in this part of the trial, forcing the SDCWA to file another separate lawsuit to deal with that allegation.

danfogel: How much do you think lawyers are sucking out of that suit? Best, Don Bauder

Don't know and don't care. What I find more interesting is that the SDCWA say's that when the damages are awarded, it will be left to the local water districts, such as the city's water department, to decide how that money will be spent and how much of it, if any, would actually be used to provide refunds to water customers.

danfogel: Any predictions on how much money SD will get? Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Don't know and don't care other than to say the less the better. I have rental properties that are serviced by MWD member agencies.

danfogel: Look at the big picture rather than simply your own interests. That's what I say, not necessarily what I do. Example: recently there have been many stories about the staggeringly high number of earthquakes in Oklahoma, where fracking is ubiquitous. There seems to be causality.

I am happy. For the sake of my portfolio, I would like to see the oil price increase another $10 or $15. (But if I wanted it to return to $100, I would be guilty of being selfish. And I would also be disappointed because I strongly doubt it will get there for quite awhile.) Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I do look at the big picture. In the case of water, all of my properties, whether they are the ones I use or the ones that are income properties make use of all of the water conservation techniques available and practical, whether it be plumbing, fixtures, appliances, graywater, rain water or landscaping. Whether or not SDCWA gets a bundle of money back is of no concern to me. Previous experience has taught that San Diego utilities will spend it on themselves rather than pass the savings along to their rate payers.

danfogel: Yes, you do look at the big picture in your posts. I was teasing you (and teasing me). Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: We have discussed that lawsuit on this blog. I have written about it earlier. Best, Don Bauder

If Americans think illegal immigration is bad, they have not been told how much legal immigration there is. The refugees, H-1B's and myriad of other legal (student, work, Christian political, pay-to-stay, family reunification and more) immigration schemes is overrunning the country and stagnating income. Who needs fences? We have far more so-called legal immigration than those that brave the illegal border crossing.

We can stop building, but we can also curtail the demand for the building where it begins, with a cap on immigration. Of course our present system is not designed to control immigration at the state level, so our hands are tied. In Europe, many countries actually have immigration quotas for certain provinces and regions. In the U.S., it seems most move to California.

Orange County used to be mostly orange, avocado and other farming. 30 years later it is mostly homes and commercial development. The same thing is happening to the Central Valley now.

Ponzi: It would be interesting to know how many oranges Orange County California, and Orange County Florida, used to produce compared with today's output. Best, Don Bauder

Yes, we must do something about all of those doctors and engineers coming to this country to take advantage of our generosity. Especially considering the fact that many of them are brown skinned. Or maybe we can just be a bit more honest and simply accept the fact that a lot of the talk in this comment section is simply veiled racist attitudes longing for those times when it was just us in San Diego who were in charge.

Thank you for proving that some people can only see a racial bias in almost any comment.

Not any comment. Specifically yours. Stereotyping me as some caricature will not exonerate your commentary from what it truly represents.

sd66: I don't think Ponzi is as you describe him. Best, Don Bauder

sd66: This comment should be aimed at me. I have written several columns and blog items opposing the H-1B program. I don't believe that makes me a racist, but if you believe it does, that is your privilege. Best, Don Bauder

For the record, I have been fighting the worker Visa scams since 1989. I was a key whistle-blower behind two government investigations at McDonnell-Douglas and General Dynamics. Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices; United States v. McDonnell Douglas Corp. 2OCAHO 351, 361 (1991) and United States v. General Dynamics Corp. 2 OCAHO 517 (1993).

The subject was foreign workers brought from the United Kingdom to perform jig & fixture, tool design and other technical and engineering work in support of the Air Force C-17 and Atlas rocket projects. I objected to them based on the fact that the companies did not perform a proper job search and falsified labor certifications. These were British citizens, of which 99% were of white, Anglo-Saxon descent.

It had nothing to do with race then and my objection to the H-1B (and other Visas) it has nothing to do with race now. It has to do with employers exploiting loopholes in laws as well as the government not enforcing its own rules. It has to do with employers firing their IT staffs and having them train their replacement workers with H-1B Visas while the government ignores these abuses.

Ponzi: That's my opinion. My own objections to H-1B are not based on race, although some say they are. My objection is that this importation of cheap labor is just another form of outsourcing manufacturing to low- and slave-wage countries who may not impose any significant taxes.

The net effect is lowering wages for engineers, thus permitting CEOs to rake in more absurdly high compensation. Best, Don Bauder

KLoEditor - too true, new way to build includes inadequate parking and HOA regulations that prohibit children from playing outside on the property.

shirleyberan: You mean HOA rules are worse than HOA fees? Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan, Two of the rental properties I have are condos in Dana Point. My wife and I bought them in 1994. The HOA fees are exactly the same today as when we bought them. And in all that time, there has never been a problem withe the HOA rules, at least as far as I'm concerned. In fact, the only time anyone from the HOA has called with what they even perceived was an issue was probably 15 yrs ago at least. Someone had expressed concern at a pot one of our tenant had on her balcony railing, afraid that it might fall or get knocked off, and hit someone. I called our tenant and she explained that it was a 2 piece plastic pot where the pot snapped into the base. She said she has secured the pot base to the corner pole of the railing with a couple of screws, snapped the put in and then secured the pot to the base with a couple of screws, just to make sure. I let the HOA know about it and my tenant even had them come up and look at it. Not only did they say it was not a problem, but in the next newsletter recommended that particular pot. I guess the morals of the story are check out the HOA very thoroughly BEFORE you commit and that the character of the people who make up the HOA board have a lot to do with how the HOA runs.

danfogel: You are fortunate indeed. You should hear the screams about HOAs from some condo owners. Best, Don Bauder

Chula Vista keeps building and building

cvret: Not surprised by Chula Vista. Best, Don Bauder

California Water Wars. Got some catch-up reading to do.

shirleyberan: Go see the movie, too. I shouldn't talk: I haven't seen it, that I can remember. Best, Don Bauder

Sometimes i feel OK, but when I talk I stutter I can't remember back a few minutes ago The doctors all come up with the same answers Boy if I'm that far gone there's nowhere left to go

danfogel: Wait until you get older. You won't have to stutter to lose your short-term memory. Best, Don Bauder

It has no opera singers in it! So probably not of interest to you. ;-)

dwbat: I just went to a play focusing on mathematicians. There were no opera singers. It is a great play. (Its name is "Proof." I understand a movie has been made of it.) Best, Don Bauder

I saw the play performed in the Palm Springs area some years back. Anthony Hopkins is in the movie.

dwbat: It is a great play -- particularly for ex-Chicagoans, such as my wife and me. Best, Don Bauder

Don - I know about that short term memory glitch, going into a room and forget why you went there. I do it all the time now. I write everything down on 3X5 cards that I want to do in a day and just keep going. And I don't think it's that unusual not to remember every movie you've ever seen (unless you're Scott Marks) after 60 or 70 years.

shirleyberan: I can remember one movie from my earliest years: the Marx Brothers' "A Night at the Opera." I loved it. Best, Don Bauder

I saw a Warren Buffet interview on TV yesterday where he talked about how well the super-rich did in this recessive economy. [The 1%] went from 93 billion to 2.3 trillion. He recognized that lots of people are being "left behind" and wondered why they weren't more outraged at the inequality of wages and "Occupy Walstreet" wasn't a movement. As long as there's unlimited donations to a political party, elections can be bought, ensuring plutocracy, not democracy. The good news is that his son works to help improve agricultural productivity around the world.

All of this said knowing he increased his own net worth by $18 billion since 2007 and nearly $5 billion in the last year alone.

danfogel: The fact that he added to his considerable net worth takes nothing from his wisdom on our bad taxing policies. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder

Please stay on topic. Buffett's "wisdom on our bad taxing policies" has exactly nothing to do with shirleyberan's comment which was about Buffett commenting on how "how well the super-rich did in this recessive economy" and wondering why there aren't more outraged at the inequality of wages. I was pointing out that it is easy for Buffett to talk, considering his own personal wealth has increased by about 36 percent during that time. How many of the 99% have had the same. Kinda of like railing against large companies who put their stockholders first, and then buying their stocks because they pay high dividends.

danfogel: Au contraire. Buffett, who has widely criticized wealth and income inequality, has particularly focused on the low taxes of the super-rich. In fact, the lowering of the top tax rate is one of the many causes of the inequality. Buffett has pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, and this is an injustice. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Au contraire what. Buffett has increased his net worth by some 36 percent during this recessive economy. He is one of the people he is talking about regardless of his tax rate. He is one of the people he wonders why others are not enraged at.

danfogel: Since the U.S. Federal Reserve -- and other central banks -- began printing money frenetically in early 2009, the net worth of stockholders has zoomed upward.

The other day I saw Buffett on CNBC. He was reflecting on the strength of the post-2009 recovery. I was surprised to hear him say that he looks regularly at the numbers of around 80 Berkshire Hathaway companies, and he has noticed that since early 2009, those numbers have generally been rising. Of course! The monetary printing presses, in the U.S. and in the major countries of the world, have been running double-overtime since early 2009. Those numbers are going to go up with all this money sloshing around. Best, Don Bauder

If Buffet was really concerned about the transfer of wealth to the super-rich he would have been an outspoken opponent of the Wall Street bailouts and QE. I don't think he has spoken out against these things.

ImJustABill: I know he has criticized derivatives (but Berkshire uses them). If he did not criticize the bailouts (and I can't remember if he did), it's understandable: he has a big stake in Wall Street. In fact, he has bailed out Wall Street firms. As to QE, I think I read that he declared early in the game that an easy monetary policy was appropriate. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Warren Buffett understands what is going on -- and what has gone on. Best, Don Bauder

"Occupy Wall Street" tried to become a movement, but it was heavily watched and infiltrated by DHS and the FBI. With intelligence information and advice from those federal agencies, big city police departments crushed the movement sites across the country, then arrested and jailed many people. The end.

dwbat: You are absolutely right on the analysis and its ugly effects. Best, Don Bauder

He also made allusions that many were generously philanthropic but I don't see it. I know Don will say they're sailing boat loads of money off shore.

shirleyberan: I have no knowledge of Buffett or Berkshire Hathaway abusing offshore laws. But that doesn't mean those abuses are not occurring. Best, Don Bauder

And wanted to say, working hard to deny any decent minimum wage increase.

shirleyberan: I don't know Buffett's opinion on the minimum wage. My guess is that it is enlightened (favoring increases). Best, Don Bauder

Don is probably out hunting Easter eggs and forgot where he hid them.

shirleyberan: That describes me: hiding the eggs and then not being able to find them. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Goodness! Another sin! Best, Don Bauder

You are forgiven. "Go and sin no more"

Scott Eddy: The most desirable alternative is rooftop solar. Best, Don Bauder

Charlotte Michelle Province: Do you believe the drought is the result of what is described as engineering insanity? What about climate change? Best, Don Bauder

I didn't mean to say Buffet is a bad character. He seemed to be mediating between the super-rich who take advantage of a bad situation and those who really have no power until they find a way to oppose the oppression by voting for representatives of conscience and compassion. But where are they?

shirleyberan: Representatives of conscience and compassion are hard to find. Best, Don Bauder

Can honest politicians ever be The Movement?

Looks like I had a Walmart moment when spelling Wallstret.

shirleyberan: You are forgiven. Best, Don Bauder

Mark Palid: Agreed. Action is long overdue. And will Calfornia get the reduction it needs? Best, Don Bauder

Climate change diverted the jet stream north increasing temperatures there. That has left San Diego in a drought. What we thought was "normal" was a relatively wet period. You can say we are reverting to a normal, drier period.

California was warned as early as 1981 to spend on water infrastructure.

I doubt that San Diego should continue to add population. Developers will disagree. More people means more greenhouse gases, although that is a worldwide problem.

Agriculture should eliminate crops that require lots of water such as rice, cotton and almonds.

There is no way to create the infrastructure in a few years. Water rationing and changes in meat producing are inevitable.

Just my opinion..... based on paleoclimatology. Barstow was a big lake, for example. So was El Centro.

Diogenes: I wrote a column on paleoclimatology findings a couple of years ago. Yes, one of the potentially disastrous mistakes we may be making is assuming that the relatively wet 20th century represented normality. Scientists have concluded that earlier droughts may have lasted a century. That's one reason that scientists, such as those at Cornell, say there is a strong chance the current drought will last a decade or perhaps considerably longer.

I favor a moratorium -- or at least severe restrictions -- on more development for the reason you cite: California and other Southwest states may not be able to handle population growth.

As to agriculture, I agree that some water cutbacks are in order. California doesn't have to grow as many almonds as it does, for example. But ponder one thing: after California cuts back on ag water, higher vegetable and fruit prices in the grocery stores will engender screams. Best, Don Bauder

Also, the Pentagon and insurance companies see climate change as huge threats. Politicians hedge their bets through campaign contributions. The a pentagon and insurance companies cannot afford to allow processes of urbanization in coastal zones that might be underwater. Florida everglades are.infused with salt water. Civil unrest might result from youth confined in coastal urban areas where 40% of the world's populations reside.

San Diego has blinders on about water shortages. Developers and labor unions do not want to hear this message. Taxes will have to go up. Desalination at Carlsbad cost a billion dollars and will provide a small percentage of necessary water.

Local politics will not cope with these inconvenient messages. Neither the right nor the left can deal with the implications.

San Diego is well behind the curve.

Old guys are incapable of discarding the normalcy bias and young people are in a lost generation. Michael Aguirre preached water infrastructure. Now he looks like Nostradamous. Anthropogenic climate change is probably real. What is plan B? It looks like business as usual as with everything else. Time will tell.

Diogenes: Eastern cities under water and Western cities starved for water. Go West and desiccate or go East and drown.

San Diego and all of California have blinders on. Development should be stopped or severely curbed. But real estate development pushes the state economy and lines the pockets of politicians. How many citizens have studied paleoclimatology or even know what it is?

We're in a mess unless climate change really doesn't exist, as the naysayers insist, and the drought suddenly ends, to be followed by years of rain and snow in California and mild weather in the East. Making any bets? Best, Don Bauder

Oh stop it guys with all your naysayng logic and science.

We need to KEEP BUILDING and KEEP GROWING CROPS so the economy will KEEP GROWING!!!

I don't want to hear this negativity! I'm going back to stick my head in the sand.... (Can I start my state senate campaign now?)

Sure, start it. Todd Gloria has already started his state assembly campaign!

dwbat: And Faulconer is probably giving thought to his next step. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: You will have plenty of money for your campaign. I'll bet it is pouring in already. Best, Don Bauder

Being compared to Nostradamus is not such a good thing, as it's never been proven that he predicted anything with his gibberish. It can be interpreted any way one wants to.

dwbat: You don't have to go back to Nostradamus. Read the forecasts of today's economists. Best, Don Bauder

And they don't write them in poetry!

dwbat: Of course the economists don't write their forecasts in poetry. What rhymes with "exogenous variable?" Best, Don Baduer

I didn't know there was an agriculture reporting TV channel till this weekend. One statistic (pretty sure) heard was that 50% of our water is used to raise cattle. Would make more sense to grow produce and make it more available, since 2/3 of Americans are obese. City folks here are looking around for any empty space to grow real nourishing food. It has been proven that consuming unhealthfully has obvious body cause/effect. Expensive cancer treatments don't work on many kinds of cancer according to a new KPBS documentary, but that's under-reported, lied about, protecting the medical code of silence. Also, when animals are slaughtered the stress hormones secrete into the meat. Welcome to your free market system: all scam, all the time; a perilous place to live.

shirleyberan Don't know so much about that 50% figure. I was watching a discussion about this a few weeks ago somewhere else and kept reading conflicting information. So I decided to a little research. According to what I read, total water usage, both groundwater and surface water, for ALL functions of livestock, was only 22 percent in 2010, which is the most recent I could find. http://water.usgs.gov/watuse/wulv.html

danfogel: Shirleyberan was only "pretty sure" about that percentage. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: After all else fails, Gov. Brown can declare that everybody has to turn into a vegan. Best, Don Bauder

Costco has some nice bison patties when it's in stock ;-). I have found it at Sprouts too. Supposed to be 2x protein, half the fat, something like that. If they hadn't killed off the buffalo till near extinction we'd all be better off. Gotta thank Ted Turner money for the comeback. Land was stolen by crazy drunken jailbird Europeans with bad habits. They flee religious persecution but kill off the competition because they don't know how to harmonize. Wondering where domesticated cows originally came from, but right now, going to the tax man.

shirleyberan, I don't each much beef. In fact I never even buy it. The only time I eat it is when I'm dining out, whether it be sit down or fast food, IN-N-OUT mainly, or at a friends house. Bison has been one of my meats of choice for many years. As with all meats, nutrition depends on the cut. I don't think that bison has double the protein, but it's fat content is around 2-3 percent. I looked at a package of rib-eyes I have and a 12oz. steak has 10 gr of fat and 100 gr of protein. You can compare that with beef and see the difference. I also buy the patties that Costco has, and sometimes a roast. Most of the time, though, I get mine from either Montana or Nebraska. More expensive, but the taste is incredible. If you like bison, you might also try ostrich. More protein and even less fat and less cholesterol than bison.

I saw ground bison at Haggen in North Park today.

danfogel: Decades ago I reported on a scam involving ostrich. Salesmen were getting people to buy and breed ostrich. The meat was said to be delicious with less fat. But at that time, the price was so high, and so many ostrich farms had been created, that the whole thing had to crash. It did. I don't know how it is doing now. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Bison is supposed to be healthy compared to some other meats. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Supposedly our domesticated cows came from wild oxen thousands of years ago. Don't expect your tax man to know that. Best, Don Bauder

The earliest substantive evidence for cattle domestication anywhere in the world is the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains in what is now southern Turkey, circa 10,500 BP. The bull was the symbol of one of their gods, the storm god. It's thought to be how part of the constellation Taurus got it's name.

danfogel: We went to Turkey in 2009 and never learned that. Or we may have, and I forgot. Best, Don Bauder

Don - my percentage and statistic memory was better in college. I can handle being corrected when I don't want to search it out.

shirleyberan: I think we all start going downhill mentally in our 20s. At least I read that written by somebody I considered a reliable source (almost 60 years ago). Best, Don Bauder

don bauder. When you say "going downhill mentally" that's really an obstruse statement. I think cognitive function is a much more definable term. I depends on what function you refer to, and, to a larg degree, which study you read. Not too long ago, I read a Harvard study which concluded that different mental abilities peak at different times of life, from age 18 to all the 70+ years. It involved nearly 50K subjects and the results showed that some abilities do peak and begin to decline around high school graduation, some abilities plateau in early adulthood, beginning to decline in subjects’ 30s; and still others do not peak until subjects reach their 40s or later. For example, mental agility appears to peak around age 18. Visual working memory seems to peak at about age 25. But the ability to identify other people’s emotions peaks somewhere between ages 40 to 60 and vocabulary ability peaks in the late 60s -early 70s. Their conclusion was that it seems that at a given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things, and you’re at a plateau at some other things.

It seems in our 20s, we are still pretty sharp, but those raging hormones tend to distract us a lot! Creative people (actors, painters, composers, etc.) often do best in their late years, as those life experiences count.

dwbat; Agreed. Those raging hormones -- particularly for young males -- often cancel out the mental acuity. Sigh. Youth is too beautiful to be wasted on the young. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, I don't know about your time, but trust me when I say that back in my time, teenage girls had every bit the raging hormones that we guys did. That was especially true for the one I ended up marrying.

danfogel: Back in my teenage days (the 1950s), the girls had raging hormones, but they were supposed to conceal them. The males were expected to be the aggressors in most cases. Things changed at the time of the sexual revolution. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: Very interesting. Mental agility peaks around age 18, but mental maturity is pathetically lagging at that age, particularly with males. Best, Don Bauder

I believe it's called a plant-based diet that is best. I can't define that right now.

The Vulcans (on "Star Trek") are generally vegetarians.

  1. In one more year, the reservoirs will be DRY!

  2. Get out your water bills for one year/seasonal cycle. Add up the twelve bills' HCF. Divide by your property's square feet. Divide by 2. That should be about how many feet of water is used for irrigation in one year. Find your location on this CIMIS map http://www.cimis.water.ca.gov/App_Themes/images/etozonemap.jpg See how your use and the ETo for your location compare (you may have to adjust for acre-feet per acre [43,560 sq. ft.]). If your number is bigger, you are using that much more water than you need to. If it is smaller, congratulations! The CIMIS figures are how much water is required to irrigate grass and keep it green. Report your results here. Ask, say, the Honorable Mayor and Council, the department heads, professional sports fields, golf courses, etc. to do the same.

Let's not take the hyperbolic bait dished out by generalizing politicians. The poison and the antidote are both in the details, but not the little ones like hanging out laundry and buying priuses or drinking beer instead of water at restaurants. We need to know how actual use compares to actual supply, and how much is actual waste. Back to the CIMIS map and project development's actual use, and when, under the worst projections and the best projections, when there will not be enough water for actual needs. The big wasters are not just agriculture, cities are a large component too. Look for an economic collapse in a year, more or less. And all the King's money and all the King's bureaucrats, will not be able to put it back together again. NOBODY has done the arithmetic, forget the math! THAT should be a firing offense.

I don't think the reservoirs will be dry in one year.

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