As the West faces extended droughts and water shortages, Los Angeles officials thought they would get ahead of the curve by investing about $1 billion into water storage solutions. Now, four years later, the droughts are intensifying while that money sits unspent, according to the according to The New York Times.
The Times reports that California used to have a state-of-the-art flood control system, with dams and channels to control flooding from heavy storms. However, more frequent and intense droughts are creating a greater demand for stored water, but the systems are not designed to hold back much water, meaning tens of billions of gallons are flowing back into the Pacific Ocean.
To remedy this, LA County began collecting money to increase the storage capacity of their flood control systems. Over four years, it has collected around $1 billion, but has yet to spend most of it.
Regarding the slow pace of expenditures and lack of plans, the Times writes that, “The era of great dam building passed long ago, owing largely to the multifronted environmental wars California is fighting and the county has been slow to adopt alternatives.”
Now, bureaucrats are proposing spending $300 million per year on hundreds of small water capture projects that, in 30 to 50 years, could hold as much water as just building a new mountain dam. Experts are already warning, however, that this “greener” approach “will be expensive and may deliver less than expected,” despite the project not even starting yet.
LA County could use its taxpayers’ money to improve the quality of life of its citizens, but thanks to a strong environmental lobby and a slow-moving bureaucracy, residents are left with less money and less water.
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