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Crosscurrents

Tapped Out: Thirsting for Fresh Water

Ansel_Adams_-_National_Archives_79-AAB-01.jpg
Ansel Adams, Boulder Dam. Wikimedia Commons
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During a recent press event, Governor Jerry Brown said:

“As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in any way we can.”

He spoke near Echo Lake – it’s south of Lake Tahoe where the government measures snowpack. This year, when they took the April measurement, there was no snow there at all. That makes it, of course, an historic low. The Governor said we could deal with that, except for this:

“Look. For over 10,000 years – some people would say for 20,000 years – people lived in California. But the number of those people were never more than three or four hundred thousand, as far as we know. They lived much simpler. They were able to move when drought occurred…”

But now, not so much. California has an estimated 38 million 800 thousand people.

Brown said “Thirty-eight million people with 32 million vehicles living at the level of comfort that we’re all striving to attain.”

People mostly living in large metro areas, far from sources of freshwater.

How did that happen?

Our friends, the American History Guys, who make the podcast Backstory, recently explored the answer to that.  Click the player above for their story about some of California’s water wars.

And if you like their podcast, subscribe! Find more info right here.