Water And Oceanography

Drought Wildfires and Water Conservation Issues Finding a Solution



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While I cannot speak to water conservation issues, clearly California is overpopulated in no small part to the failure of the federal government to stem the tide of illegal immigration. With water being a finite resource and Southern California being an arid region, with development in areas where fires, flood and drought are a natural part of the environment, it is no wonder that the state and its neighbors are in crisis. The mentality in the Southland is best described by the following TRUE story, recently played on a major cable news network:

This is a man describing his family's escape from the fires in Malibu to a local reporter:

"My wife took her car and our kids and the dogs and started to drive out on the highway. A gust of wind blew the fire over her car and it caught fire and she had to run with everyone for their lives. They made it out OK. I went back and got my other car and my neighbor's dog. On the highway my car stalled. I restarted it. It stalled again and then the engine caught fire. I grabbed the dog and ran for safety. We lost our home and both cars.

But when we were standing on the highway and the wind blew the smoke away, the sunset was just so beautiful, we know we will go back to Malibu and rebuild."

GIVE ME A BREAK!

Any taxpayer funds given to the areas impacted by the fires should FIRST be earmarked to help people relocate to safe areas. Then give money to the fire departments that are undermanned and have to risk life and limb because you decided to build in a high-risk area.

Give the rest of the money to rehabilitating the cities, towns and wildlife areas around the Salton Sea, where people are struggling and from where water is being stolen by the San Diego and Los Angeles Water Districts, while the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation turns a blind eye (the issue is now in the federal courts).

Some suggestions for Californians who insist on living on the edge:

1) Don't build a home in a canyon that has a history of fires followed by floods when the winter rains come. You are only asking for total destruction of your property - and it will happen.

2) If you must live in a heavily forested area, spray your house with fireproofing material. It may detract from the appearance a bit (as some Maliboolians claimed on TV) but it looks a hell of a lot better than ashes. And use fireproof roof tiles. They stop firebrands from starting your house on fire.

3) Bring in a landscaper and cut back the brush, shrubbery and trees so that there is a firebreak that will keep the flames from lapping up on your home and its structures. It may look a little barren, but not as much after a firestorm comes through.

If people don't want to take precautions and insist on living where geology and environment mandate periodic disasters, then suffer the consequences and don;t ask your fellow citizens to absorb the costs of your own stupidity!

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More about this author: Martin W. Schwartz

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