As we begin receiving official notices in the mail regarding the start of mandatory water rationing, it makes me think back on how we got to this state of affairs.
It has been clear to many longtime residents, including myself, that California winters have been in a drying trend for at least the last 15 years. The fact that so little has been done to encourage water conservation both in agriculture and among homeowners, while we have continued to encourage growth and development in this arid region, is a larger crime than the water wasting which many residents are just now trying to reduce.
The lack of leadership, and planning, by the water districts and water resources boards in this state has been appalling. Now we are in the fifth year of a drought, a serious situation indeed, and instead of having planned for a smooth transition we are being asked to change our habits drastically almost overnight.
Our flood control channel building was largely planned in the 1930s, when this region had many wet winters, and I don't believe we have ever rethought the "wisdom" of swiftly racing the runoff produced by rains to the sea. Santa Barbara has been dealing with a drought crisis for two or three years now, but we still have failed to make meaningful progress in re-managing the water that we do have.