Elaine Meckler: California was once a desert — with our apathy, it can be again | TheUnion.com

Elaine Meckler: California was once a desert — with our apathy, it can be again

How many people would a bullet train serve versus a water pipeline?

California is going off in the wrong direction when it comes to spending money on projects that will take more money and time than originally anticipated, and never make a profit.

A bullet train will accommodate only a small portion of California residents, especially since it is starting its first leg in the Central Valley. What we desperately need is water to accommodate all the people living and working in our beautiful state.

Bullet train versus water pipeline, is there any contest?

It just takes one person at a time to build a better California. Please be one of those people who care enough to start by making your voice heard.

Let’s stop spending on this bottomless pit and put our resources into something that we can all benefit from.

Whatever happened to our entrepreneurial spirit? The one that allows us to make money on a product by selling it in a marketplace that needs this resource.

I’m talking about our governor, Assembly and Senate creating a plan that would incentivize Washington and/or Oregon to build a water pipeline from their respective states to California so that we never have to worry about another drought.

Who in their right minds would ever consider spending billions of dollars on a bullet train over a water pipeline? Especially one with an anticipated construction and planning cost of $68.4 billion dollars.

This conversation has been going on for a long time as you can see in the information listed below, from Wikipedia:

Proposed interstate water pipelines to California include inter-basin transfer projects to divert water from other Western states and provinces, including Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia. A Canadian entrepreneur’s plan published in 1991 diverted water from eastern British Columbia to the Columbia River, then envisioned a 300-mile pipeline from the river through Oregon to a reservoir near Alturas, Calif. The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) published a report in 1992 considering an implementation of the plan using a subsea pipeline running down the Pacific coast between the two states. The OTA plan concluded that conservation, water banking, and changing water-pricing schemes would be more cost effective than building the pipeline. A 2012 Bureau of Reclamation study investigated schemes to bring water to California using an undersea pipeline from the mouth of the Columbia River on the Oregon-Washington border, importing icebergs, and using conventional seagoing tankers. As of 2013, there were no interstate water pipelines to California.”

In 2008, voters approved bonds in the amount of $9 billion dollars to get the bullet train started. If you had your choice today, would you vote for it again or would you vote for a water pipeline project?

Meteorologists are now talking about El Niño, which could help to alleviate our water problems. If it comes, great. If not, disaster. Shouldn’t we start planning now for future water shortages?

A lot of our fires are burning themselves out because we don’t have the resources to contain or control them. Our recreation industry has been decimated. Our farmers are suffering unbelievable losses because of the lack of water. The price of fruits and vegetables are skyrocketing because of the shortages due to lack of water.

There was an article in The Union about our depleting rice crops because of the drought. How is it possible that there is not a concerted effort to guarantee California has enough water? It is not too late to abandon the bullet train and move to the construction and completion of a Water pipeline.

We need to write our California senators and assembly members to let them know that we don’t support the bullet train but would be willing to support a water pipeline or desalination plants along our coast so that residents will no longer have to worry about whether it will rain or snow. This really seems like a no-brainer.

I don’t understand how our California government officials can justify spending huge amounts of money on a bullet train instead of diversified water sources which are so badly needed. Desert or oasis, the choice is ours.

We need to get active by making phone calls to Sacramento or going to the voting booth and electing representatives who agree with our way of thinking. Whatever you do, don’t just sit back and say that you can’t do anything. You can.

It just takes one person at a time to build a better California. Please be one of those people who care enough to start by making your voice heard. Bullet train or water pipeline, which would you prefer to fund?

Elaine Meckler lives in Grass Valley.

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