Vol. 2, Issue 14, April 6, 2004
California Bids for Water from Hudson River
Southern California has long relied on water piped in from elsewhere to supply the needs of its booming population. For decades, the principal source of this water has been the Colorado River, but there are new concerns that California's needs can no longer be met by this source.
"Los Angeles alone uses more water than many states," said Gerald Zimmerman, executive director of the Colorado River Board of California. "We've considered all other options, and frankly have little choice at this point."
The plan will call for a massive aqueduct spanning almost 3,000 miles. The estimated cost has not been released, although Governor Schwarzenegger's office has stated it believes the costs can be offset with "smart fiscal management."
"If by "smart fiscal management" he means "selling San Francisco to the highest bidder," then I suppose this would be feasible," said Martin Gale from the EarthTrust advocacy group. "Are they even trying to balance the budget anymore?"
Southern California's water needs have caused widespread depletion of aquifers and lakes in the region. With the Colorado River now depleted to the point where mapmakers are referring to it in the past tense, Los Angeles has been aggressively seeking other solutions, and the Schwarzenegger administration is enthusiastically backing the efforts.
"What complicates the matter is the fact that Southern Californians have very high standards," said Zimmerman. "This is why desalination plants and the like are receiving little support. What they really want is Evian-quality bottled water, and that's in short supply." It is for this reason that water sources in Mexico and closer rivers such as the Mississippi were rejected as "unsuitable."
"The Hudson River is pretty clean these days. New York has made a remarkable turnaround in making that water source clean enough even for us," added Zimmerman. "It may be a fight, but we'll do whatever it takes to get hooked up."
The logistics of transporting water from New York to southern California are daunting, but Schwarzenegger's office is touting the project as a potential boon for California's massive low-skill workforce. The intervening states between California and New York have "not yet been consulted" about the project, according to Sacramento, but Schwarzenegger is confident that they can be "persuaded to assist" or "ignored."
However, a significant additional complication is the fact that New York Governor Pataki has been conducting the negotiations with California in secret. New York City was not informed of Pataki's discussions until this reporter contacted Mayor Bloomberg's office earlier today.
"Oh, he is in for it now," fumed Bloomberg as he stormed out into his personal helicopter.