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MID Canal
<p>A dry irrigation canal in Modesto, Calif.</p>

Lack of leadership makes drought worse

Agreement from newspapers spanning California that the current drought is reason No. 1 to move swiftly on new water storage projects only makes the current political name-calling and partisan pot-shots abhorrent.

A bill to relax restrictions on moving water around the state quickly passed the House the other day but is stalled in the Senate because of the polarizing personalities of those elected by Californians to represent us.

While moving water more freely around California is all fine and dandy, what if we don’t have the water to move around in the first place? Then what?

Whether H.R. 3964 – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act – ever sees the light of day in the Senate, much less gets signed by the President, isn’t the point anymore. It may help and be a step in the right direction, but the painful lesson California is learning and will suffer through this summer is the abject lack of leadership we continue to see at the state and federal level.

California needs several million more acre feet of new water storage right now. We needed it several decades ago. We can’t change the past but we can learn from it.

Newspapers from Riverside to Redding are calling for more storage. Editorial boards with large metro newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Modesto Bee and Fresno Bee agree: California needs more water storage.

So why aren’t we moving ahead full steam to accomplish this feat? Where’s the leadership from Sacramento and Washington D.C. on this? Don’t we have a representative Republic where leaders lead? We built dams, major highways through rugged river channels and massive bridges during the Depression and World War II in this state, but we can’t get together on what. It’s sad to say if we had the kind of leadership then that we do now our main mode of transportation would still be horse-drawn and the entire Sacramento Valley floor would not be inhabitable because of widespread, annual flooding.

I’m tired of the lip service and lies from politicians who claim to have received personal assurance from the President of the United States to fix California’s water problems. These same politicians are the ones who claim every election cycle that their decades of drinking from the public trough make them best-qualified to lead California through the tough times. Well folks, we’re in those tough times. Where’s your leadership?

We don’t need any more visits by Congressmen and the House Speaker to dust bowl-like sites in Bakersfield. We don’t need U.S. Senators agreeing with us at Fresno fund raisers. We don’t need state politicians walking around the Central Valley in jeans and cowboy boots posing for the cameras. We need money to build the storage; we need an iron will to get it done.

We need leadership.


Follow me on Twitter @Todd Fitchette

TAGS: Legislative
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