Water Shortage or Population Longage?

California hasn’t had a drought like the current drought since 1977 when California’s population was 22 million. Today, at nearly 40 million, 47 percent of California faces exceptional drought.

California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of available water yearly since 2011. Approximately two-thirds of this loss is a result of groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Even though farming actually uses only about 40 percent of the state's available water, wells are already running dry. In some areas arable land is actually sinking by a foot or more each year.

Tree ring studies confirm that California experienced megadroughts from 850 to 1090 and 1140 to 1320 CE (AD). The current drought has the potential to be the worst drought California has experienced in 1200 years.

According to NASA, nine of the 10 warmest years since 1880 have occurred since 2000. Water-yielding snowpacks are noticeably diminishing.

It’s not just California - other states are also drying up. In Oregon, 34 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a three-mile, $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead to retain access to its Colorado River supply as the reservoir declines to 40 percent of capacity. The agency expects levels to keep declining through 2016 and 2017. It also plans to build a $650 million pumping station to access water at deeper levels in the lake, which supplies 90 percent of southern Nevada’s water.

Demanding population

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, California’s population has approximately doubled to nearly 40 million. As human population has grown, California has lost 80 percent of its coastal wetlands, 99 percent of its native grasslands, and 95 percent of its coastal redwoods. 73 plants and animals have recently been driven to extinction in California. More than 280 plants and 150 animals and are listed as endangered, threatened, or rare.

People are now leaving California for the greener, wetter, and more affordable pastures of other states. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, from 2000 to 2013, approximately 1.7 million more people left California than moved in from other states. Yet California’s population is projected to grow, as a direct result of mass immigration. The Department of Finance projects California’s population to grow to an astounding 53 million by 2060.

Mass immigration and births to immigrants are leading factors in the state’s population growth, according to California Department of Public Health data. During the ten-year period from 2000 to 2010, 2.58 million people immigrated to California and more than 2.47 births were to immigrants. From 1970 to 2008, California’s legal and illegal immigrant share of the state’s total population tripled from 9 percent to 27 percent.

U.S. Census Bureau and Center for Immigration Studies analysis reveal that in 2015, 83% of US population growth - and nearly 100% of California's population growth - is a direct result of legal and illegal immigration plus births to immigrants.

What’s the long-term solution?

If California had only ten thousand or even ten million people, there would be a surplus of water. As California’s immigration-driven population grows from today’s 40 million to 53 million by 2060, the demand for water will increase proportionately.

The Colorado River supplies virtually all of its water to California and other western states, and ends up as a mere trickle as it drains into the Gulf of California. The river simply can’t provide any more water. Where will the water come from? Proposed solutions include water rationing and grand designs to transmogrify sewer water into tap water.

Notwithstanding stopgap measures, there is only a finite supply of water for Californians. It's quite evident that we don’t have a water shortage – rather, we have a population longage.

It’s time to stop the population growth machine. That can be done almost instantaneously by immediately halting illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration to no more than replacement level.



Drought Transcends State Lines as U.S. West Turns Ever-More Arid, Bloomberg, Alison Vekshin, May 11, 2015

Earth Day 2015: On Water, California Reaches Its Limit, Joe Guzzardi, CAPS, April 15, 2015

California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now?, Jay Famiglietti, LA Times, March 12, 2015

With Record Drought it’s Time to Think About Ending Perpetual Population Growth, Ed Hartman, April 28, 2015

Another drought? Not enough water… or too many people?, Rick Oberlink, CAPS, February 4, 2014

California Drought Worst in 1200 Years, Joel B Pollak, Breitbart, December 5, 2014

An Ironic Drought In California, Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall, April 30, 2015

Interactive California population graph: web search: “California Population

Fifty Million Californians?, by Leon F. Bouvier, January 1, 1992, ISBN-10: 0935776109, ISBN-13: 978-0935776102

Ever More Californians?, by Garrett Hardin, The Social Contract, Fall 1992 (book review)