National Opinions

Riverside Press-Enterprise: Water foresight?

California cannot escape periodic drought, given the state's climate and geography. But state water policy should provide California with the tools to successfully weather dry times. And that requires the Legislature to move past partisan stalemate on water issues and focus on bedrock principles of realistic policy.

Gov. Arnold Schwarz- enegger last week proclaimed a state of emergency because of drought, and called for the passage of a bond that would fund improvements to the state's water system. And last week, Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, introduced a $9.98 billion water bond, while Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, offered a $15 billion water bond package.

The state requires substantial improvements in water systems and changes in water practices to address a growing population and changing weather patterns.

But unless legislators can resolve basic differences, the bonds will go nowhere -- just like the water bond plans last year. There will be little progress as long as the debate ignores the fundamentals of California's water supply.

Stalemate might serve political ends, but it makes a shoddy substitute for a reliable water supply.

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