I live close to the river pictured above. There are a lot of different things going on I think that have put us where we are now. Historically, this valley, before it was settled, before any wells were drilled, it would flood every spring and make huge wetlands covered in shallow water, and it gave everything a thorough watering and flowed down to the water table, then slowly drained back into its unaltered river banks and went back to being a river, that had salmon and every kind of wildlife. It also had a huge land locked fresh water lake called the Tulare Lake Basin. Then we came along, we dried up the lake, we dewatered almost all of the wetlands, we stuck our straws into the water table and started sucking, and then later we put a lot of our canal system underground into pipe lines and covered up vast areas with blacktop and pavement.
Water attracts water. We have no lake in the middle of the valley anymore, we have no wetlands anymore, except for the saline and alkaline laden ones along the delta. We have no surface water sufficient to encourage the clouds to rain here anymore. Our spongy mountains have had all the moisture drained out of them, and when we do have a rainy year, we can only hold so much before they have to start releasing for fear of dam failure. Then you have the good intentioned people trying to restore salmon to the river, which demands a certain amount of water to keep going, even though I think they have been gone for too long, the water's too shallow and too hot for them now, and I don't think there is enough in that river for them to eat. We'd be better off trying to keep the salmon runs we still have healthy and maybe aim for a steelhead or bass population in the san joaquin.
And lastly, when they did all the hydro mining in our mountains here, they blew so much sand, silt and rock down into our rivers that they became silted up and are now unable to hold much in the way of storage water.
In this area, our leaders I feel are playing games trying to turn water into the next big commodity, or else they would have done something about this by now. We need to have in reservoir storage about 5 years back-up supply in water. We need to dredge the accessible river beds out so they can hold more water, thereby keeping it colder and holding larger quantities which is good for the fish. They need to refill the Tulare Lake Bed. JG Boswell can just go into water storage biz instead of cotton. They need to keep water in all of our storm drain basins until it's clear that they are going to have more rain than they can hold. We need to get over the whole green lawn thing. And lastly, our farmers, who have cried the loudest, because after all they cannot grow food without water, they need to lay off so much pumping. Even with record cuts to their water supplies, they have still managed to produce record amounts of food. Don't plant the most water intensive things you can plant, and instead, maybe we could not throw so much of it away through the culling process. No one cares if all the apples are the same size or not. We also need to invest in more water storage, whether it's through deepening the river channels, digging more hole or whatever, we need more storage.