Even when we don't have all the water we want in California, we never suffer a shortage of detailed, interesting information about our water. If you need an example, go and check the California Data Exchange Center, an encyclopedia of constantly updated water statistics maintained by the state Department of Water Resources. If your thirst for water numbers isn't slaked there, go next to the Central Valley Project's operations page, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Even bathed in all that data, though, you're just getting started. If you want to go into advanced studies, you can pore over the California Water Plan, the bible for state water issues.
You get the picture. We're not hurting for water facts. And you'd think with all that data floating around, at least some would sink in when people talk about water. But when we fight over water, we, or our brains, seem to become impermeable. You can shower them with all the facts and fancy reasoning you want, but it all beads up and runs right off.
What am I talking about? Check the flyer below, distributed in advance of this weekend's California Republican convention. It banners the inflammatory and fact-free claim that the state is in the middle of a government-created drought. But the beautiful part comes at the bottom of the announcement (original punctuation preserved):
Ecological primitivists seek to return California to the 18th century Great Desert and the federal government is an accomplice.
Cutting off water supply to people while wasting that water to the ocean for the sake of declining fish species, is decimating Central Valley agriculture, causing the loss of thousands of jobs, imposing hardship on hundreds of thousands of residents- including many Latinos, and will contribute to worldwide food shortages.
As pure fantasy, it's actually a fun piece of writing. "Ecological primitivists"? I can see the bumper sticker. It's kind of amazing to see all those words bumping around there together and not produce anything that resembles the situation in the real world.
The event has been put together by a right-wing talk radio person, Martha Montelongo, I've never heard of. It ought to be a fun meeting.