You are watering outdoors too much. You kept your lawn when you should have taken it out. You tore out your lawn—and put in hard surfaces that will contribute to the heat island effect, making the drought even worse.
And you, with the beautiful swimming pool you keep refilling before your sweet summer parties? I’m shaming you on Twitter as the person most responsible for the drought. Not so popular anymore, are you?
You’re rich, and this drought is all the fault of you rich people, with your lush gardens, living in those wealthy water-wasting places like Beverly Hills and Newport Beach. You rich celebrities are the worst. I’m blaming my lack of water on your landscaping, Barbra. And Kim and Kanye—California must have sunk about a foot with all the water you’re using around your mansion.
You poor people, too, shouldn’t be spared, since you’re using all that water in those semi-arid places where you like to live, like the Antelope Valley. Why can’t you be bothered to spend thousands on low-flow toilets and low-water appliances and drip irrigation, like the rest of us?
Those are just the people who are alive. Now, I’m using my Ouija board to talk to you dead folks—this is your fault, as well. You just lie there in those lush grassy cemeteries.
You in the different California regions need to shoulder the blame. You water-guzzlers in Sacramento are responsible for this drought—you only recently got water meters. And you newlyweds and nearly-deads in Coachella, how dare you keep gardens and lawns in the desert? You Bigfoots up in the far north deforested for decades, messing with the water cycle. And don’t look smug, you hippies in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Yeah, you use less per household than most of us, but you’re so holier than thou about it that I get all hot and angry, and I have to cool off with an irresponsibly long shower.
You guys in agriculture, in places like the San Joaquin and Imperial valleys, are the biggest villains. The very few of you use as much as 80 percent of the state’s non-environmental water to grow something as unimportant as food. And you farmers are growing all the wrong crops in the wrong places. All those almond groves. Alfalfa. And the cows, drinking 35 gallons a day—Water Moooo-ches, you gals are—to produce the milk, to make the cheese, for all the pizzas Californians eat. When you think about it, you pizza delivery guys are unindicted co-conspirators in the great water heist.
And why do you fishermen insist that some water stay in the rivers and the Bay, when people need it? You’re almost as bad as the fish. Delta smelt, why can’t you be a little tougher, instead of getting all endangered and making people have to do without water because of you? And Mr. Salmon, you say you just need all that fresh water, but don’t we all? And I don’t see you paying any water bills.
And don’t think you’re getting away with this, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Your dream factories have long seduced people to come to this land where anything is possible (and where those people water their lawns). For all your creativity, have your industries figured a way out of this drought? No! The finest executive you guys in Hollywood have ever produced—Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, and his alter ego, actor William Shatner—put his mind to the question, and the best he could do was a plan to build a water pipeline from Seattle that would bankrupt the state. Maybe Spock could have solved the drought, but he died in February.
Of course, I can’t blame the drought entirely on fictional people from the future, especially when I can blame old people from the Delta, whose families have been farming there since the 19th century. You Delta folks just won’t shut up—even after Jerry Brown told you to shut up—and let the governor fix the drought by building his two water-conveying tunnels under your homes and farms.
Now, the drought is also all your fault, Governor Brown, because you won’t listen to anybody. Everyone knows you’re just protecting the farmers against urban demands. Everyone knows you’re just protecting the cities, where the votes are. Everyone knows you’re just protecting your buddies in the environmental movement. You’re a recidivist—you put the state into drought the first time you were governor too! (In 1976 to 77, you can look it up).
While we’re taking about the Browning of California, I blame your dad, too, Pat Brown, for building all this infrastructure that’s not getting us enough water. And I blame Earl Warren, for saving up all that money so Pat could pay for the infrastructure. I want to see you gubernatorial ghosts in my office.
California state government, it’s not just your policies that are letting this drought happen. You federal agencies are totally to blame, too, with your regulations and scientific opinions making it harder to move water around. And you local governments have failed, too. I blame you local water agencies for not moving fast enough to embrace tier-pricing and reduce water use. And I blame you locals for moving to tier-pricing too fast—and attracting lawsuits that will make the drought even harder to manage.
I can’t just blame California governments for this. You coal apologists in Kentucky and West Virginia, and natural gas maniacs in North Dakota, are heating up the earth and making this drought so much worse. You in the Chinese government, you’re making our drought worse with your planet-warming economy based on massive energy use.
Don’t try to hide, nature—I know it’s you, and not humans, who bear most of the responsibility for this. Hey, Colorado River, how could you dry up on us? And I’m looking at you, Sierra Mountains. Yeah, just Sierra. You can’t call yourself Nevada (“snowy”) anymore!
Let’s not forget who is ultimately responsible for the rivers and mountains and existence of the Earth. This drought is all on you, God. Not only do you fail to send California enough water, but also you deluge us with way too many possible culprits for this crisis.
So, if you won’t send us snow and rain, if you won’t convince us to look at our own culpability in this crisis, couldn’t you at least answer our prayers—and give us one clear-cut scapegoat, so we know exactly who to blame?
Joe Mathews is California & innovation editor for Zócalo Public Square.
*Photo courtesy of Dan DeBold.