Says San Diegan Mike Davis, author of the article that ran on the Nation website, “As far as I can see, we are utterly asleep at the controls.” As a result of the drought-caused 2003 and 2007 fires, “People are encouraged to plant more water-absorbing plants around their homes, because houses that survived had highly watered plants such as ice plant. That kind of fire prevention extending to the backcountry implies unsustainable increases in water usage.” The problem is that “In no sense have we had a holistic debate about climate change, water resources — lessons we should be learning. Our political system seems unable to discuss these interrelated issues at the same time. The water situation will go from bad to worse.”
All agree that San Diego doesn’t seem to be able to pull it all together: the fires, for example, should speak volumes about the drought. But the City looks at fire and water as two separate problems.
Says City Attorney Mike Aguirre, “There is a failure of leadership to provide conservation, to do the hard work of water reclamation, to build desalination plants or to expand storage capacity. Our leaders don’t want to admit the problem. We have to spend a lot of money, and there is not a lot of money because of the pension deficits.”
Erie sums it up: “This is a second-rate town blessed with a first-rate climate but cursed with third-rate leadership and a fourth-rate newspaper.”
But in a few years, will that climate be so wonderful? Or to paraphrase an old saying, will San Diegans be getting their just deserts?