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CLAIM: California's water shortage actually caused by environmentalists, not global warming

Calfornia drought

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(NaturalNews) To hear radical environmentalists tell it, California's drought and subsequent draining of aquifers and other water supplies is the result of man-caused climate change, global warming, climate transition, or whatever term is relevant for the day.

In reality, however, this accusation is only partly true. The state's four-year-old drought is really just due to natural weather patterns because much of California is desert. However, the dearth of water can certainly be linked to human activity, specifically the opposition by those same radical environmentalists over the years to projects that would have shored up the state's water supplies.

As reported by The New American, the "California Water Action Plan" published by the state's Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture states: "Much of California's water system was originally designed to withstand a seven-year dry period without severe damage to the economy and environment."

After only four years, elected officials have been compelled to impose strict water rationing backed by high fines and other punitive measures for violators.

What is going on? If the state's own emergency water planning department says that seven years of drought can be handled without much interruption to the California economy (which is dominated by agriculture, by the way), why does such a dire state exist after only four years of drought?

Manmade crisis indeed

For Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat and ultimate liberal, the answer is obvious: it's climate change. "We're dealing with it, and it's damn serious," he said recently, as quoted by TNA.

There is no question that California's current drought is the worst one in about a century, according to state agencies. However, the CEPA and CDFA also admit in their action plan that "water has always been a scarce resource in California," and that the state's climate "has always included extended dry periods," TNA quotes the document as saying.

For example, California experienced a major drought during the Civil War years of 1862 to 1865 that all but exterminated the state's cattle industry and helped widen a devastating smallpox epidemic because drought conditions can exacerbate the spread of that disease.

TNA also reported:

The Historical Society of Southern California records that "the rainfall for the season of 1862-63 did not exceed four inches, and that of 1863-64 was even less." How does this drought measure up? California as a whole averages 20 inches per year, according to NASA, which reported in July that since 2012 the state has accumulated a precipitation debt of about 20 inches, the equivalent of almost a year's worth of rainfall. So it received on average about 13 inches a year for the past three years.

Despite water infrastructure projects undertaken in the 1960s by Governor Pat Brown, father to the current governor, other observers note that in more recent years, opposition to the construction of new reservoirs – by "radical" environmentalists – is making the current drought much worse.

In a recent editorial for Investors Business Daily, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wrote that his home state's water troubles are indeed manmade, but not in the way that Governor Brown claims.

"Result of a long-term campaign"

Nunes writes shortly before he was elected to Congress in 2002, he sat through a stunning presentation by representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council and several local environmental activist groups. He said the representatives presented a radical plan for removing some 1.3 million acres of farmland in California so they could "return [it] to some ideal state of nature" as a way to save water.

"For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land -- water deprivation-- has been ruthless and effective," he wrote.

Nunes continued:

Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley's water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor. From my experience representing California's agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.

Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water.

His entire editorial can be viewed here, but his point, which has been made often by logical people who seek to balance environmental needs with economic and human needs, is that radical environmentalism has done more harm than good, and the exacerbation of California's drought is a case in point.

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