Author: Joe

Water Wars: The Water Wars

Water Wars: The Water Wars

As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water.

The water wars are real: How we get our water, how we use it, and what we lose as we do.

On a warm August morning in Northern California, the only sounds in the yard are our two dogs, who are taking advantage of a clear, warm morning to explore their yard. When they find an opening in my fence, they try to escape through it. They yank the fence gate open for about five seconds, but it quickly closes. I am unable to remove the gate, so they continue to struggle against it while I stand next to my fence, trying to keep them out.

After the third failed attempt to escape, I get on my hands and knees, grabbing the gate and trying to hold it closed while the dogs run toward the gate in excitement. I think for a moment, then release the gate, and watch as they burst through the gap. It swings wide open, letting them escape my yard and continue their exploration.

The next morning they wake me up when they see my truck in the driveway so they can leave a message on the answering machine. They want to let me know that they didn’t want to use the gate the night before. But they also wanted to let me know that they miss my truck and the sounds it makes on the road. And it did. The second time I’ve heard them scream my name. The first time, they were only shouting, “Cotton,” over and over.

This is a recurring problem in Southern California, especially around the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles. In the last 10 years, the price of California’s water for both its cities and people have risen dramatically. The water, in this case, doesn’t come from rain, or snow melting off our mountains; it comes from our rivers. And as we’ve seen in recent years, rain is not guaranteed. And it takes thousands of gallons of water to cover just one acre.

Over a decade ago, California water was once widely considered an essential resource – something no one wanted – but today the state’s economy is on the brink of ruin. Water is the number one reason in the state’s economic decline. And California is the number one water loser on the planet.

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