A water war California-style

The article "New Bill May Not Ease California Water Shortage," Nov. 24, misses the most cogent point in this latest chapter of the never-ending California water war. The seven-year drought has been badly mismanaged from the start by the two biggest water delivery agencies: California's Department of Water Resources and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.

More northern California water was pumped south of the delta in the first four years of the drought than any other period in history. Agricultural production, during what should have been a period of prudent water use, was at an all-time high, and much of the water was used for surplus crops such as cotton.

Now that the proverbial well is nearly dry and storage reservoirs are nearly empty, the Hydraulic Brotherhood says that the solution is not wise use but yet more destructive dam and costly canal projects. If agriculture is bemoaning the loss of its death grip on 80 percent of the state's developed surface water supplies, it has no one to blame but itself. Decades of ignoring the legitimate needs of wildlife, fisheries, and health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary have brought agribusiness to the cur rent crisis. Lloyd Carter, Fresno, Calif.

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