"Whiskey is for Drinking, Water is for Fighting Over" - Mark Twain

60 Minutes aired a segment on California's water problems this past Sunday. Focusing on the 3-year drought's effect on the state, they spoke primarily to Schwarzenneger on the endangered delta smelt that resulted in shutting down water pumps that supply an abundance of water for the farmer's in southern California. No matter what side of this story you sit on, it is true that there is a lot of fighting over water and the drought's effect on agriculture, which no doubt is a huge deal.

But let's not forget tourism. Lake Shasta is a huge tourist draw, not to mention, the entire state of California is known for the revenue that tourism brings in. That's why we always see Arnold's smiling face in those California - Find Yourself Here commercials. We want more water in our lakes and rivers and deltas so we can enjoy them no matter how we do it.

Many of the solutions to all of these water problems - rebuild the water system. Or build more of it. New levees. New canals. New pumps. And we know they are still talking about raising Shasta Dam up to 18 feet, which would then allow for more water storage (see map below). Unfortunately, that would wipe out almost all of the buildings of all the houseboat resorts around Lake Shasta. Good thing those boats and all the docks they moor will all stay float no matter how high the dam goes.

But truth of the matter is, if we don't stop using so much of our water...especially in times of drought, we won't ever have an opportunity to use an expanded dam if the water levels don't come up. So our solutions - whether you are a farmer, a fisherman, a houseboater, an environmentalist, or the governor - be smart about the water you do use and stop wasting it! In the meantime, we'll keep doing our rain dances.


Map courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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