Magazine April 19, 2021, Issue

Reform California’s Water Policies

Drought-stricken farm land near the Salton Sea and the town of Calipatria in Calif., May 31, 2015 (Mike Blake/Reuters)
They have left the state unable to cope with droughts

As California emerged from a historically tough five-year drought in 2017, then-governor Jerry Brown signed two new laws that required local water agencies to limit water use to 55 gallons per person per day, with water-use allotments dropping to 50 gallons by 2030. Despite some misreporting to the contrary, these limits on individuals were not enforceable.

Instead, the state imposed fines on districts that failed to meet the new targets. It was pretty clear what direction the state was taking: Since then, California has gone all in for extreme conservation measures that could eventually lead to rationing as water-use allotments drop.

This article appears as “Thirst for Reform” in the April 19, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Steven GreenhutMr. Greenhut is the western-region director for the R Street Institute and a columnist for the Southern California News Group.

In This Issue

I. What Made California Great

II. California's Self-Destruction

III. Can California Be Saved?

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