The spillway at Oroville Dam:
The “permanent drought” was a scam.
“No more need for repairs,
if it fails, no one cares.”
“It’s Climate Change. Blame Uncle Sam.”
In May of 2016 California Gov. Jerry Brown made some of the state’s temporary water restrictions permanent. The executive order, in response to the state’s drought, permanently bans wasteful practices like hosing sidewalks and washing cars with hoses that don’t have shut-off nozzles.
“Californians stepped up during this drought and saved more water than ever before,” Brown said in a statement. “But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life.”
Meanwhile, the concerns for the existing dams faded. They would never be filled to capacity again, so why worry about emergency spillways? Regular maintenance and repair work, not of an emergency nature was delayed yet another year, and resources were diverted to other priority items, such as a Satellite program to monitor Climate change if disaster should strike and Donald Trump, perish the thought, would be elected.
This was in the middle of the last El Niño, and temperatures had only one way to go, up, and with that increasing capacity to hold water vapor. Now the El Niño has been replaced by a La Niña, the temperature are getting back to normal, the 19 year pause is back, and now the excessive humidity is raining out over the Pacific West.
This should not have come as a surprise. The Great flood of 1862 was worse. The Oroville Dam spillwater empties out in what is Sacramento river, and flood control by building dams has been successful to avert major flooding like that. Politicians have short memories and even less sense of history. The climate changes all the time. We are now raining out from a very temporary temperature rise, and we know that eventually our descendants will have to face another ice age. More CO2 may delay that inevitability by a few hundred years, but the long term trend is down. 2016 was still on of the 1000 coldest in the last 10000 years.