In the month of December I drove through the length of the San Joaquin Valley twice in my travels. In addition to those home-made signs imploring you to seek salvation through the Lord, there were also signs indicting Congress for creating a drought in the valley.
The ‘Congress created drought’ signs were references to various environmental regulations and judicial decisions that were restricting the shipment of northern California water south into the San Joaquin valley. Most of the restrictions centered on increasing fresh water flows to keep various fish alive in the San Joaquin delta.
What I found most amusing was the lack of inherent recognition that both the Federal and state governments had invested millions of dollars in canals (Delta-Mendota and All American) to supply water districts and farms with ‘excess’ northern California water. While Congress may have created a unique San Joaquin drought or dust bowl, they were also the governmental institution that used tax payer money to turn the San Joaquin valley into America’s salad bowl.
I can empathize with the farmers that have to fallow fields for lack of water deliveries from the Federal or state projects. But can the same farmers see that without the government subsidized canals their opportunity to create wealth in the desert of the San Joaquin valley would be severely restricted? Not only do the agricultural corporations suffer losses, the small towns that house the farm labor communities also suffer. However, no one guaranteed an unlimited supply of water indefinitely from a concrete lined ditched.
Of course the agricultural industry in the San Joaquin valley would not be the first to have its fortunes swell and then implode at the hands of the government. When the cold war ended and the Federal government no longer was pumping billions of dollars in defense contractors concentrated in southern California, many companies and jobs faded away. But I don’t remember seeing signs accusing Congress of creating a defense drought when they turned the government spigot of money off. No one protested that they had an entitlement to government money to keep their businesses going.