In statewide planning, the Brown administration has assumed that it is desirable to support a new wave of subdivisions in the Inland Empire and other desert areas in Southern California. For example, the economic study in the Brown administration’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan (see June-July Yodeler, page 3) assumes the same rate of growth in inland Southern California as in the boom years of 2000 – 2007, and that the new housing will have the same large lawns.
The Sierra Club has a long history of opposition to sprawl development in the desert because of scarce water supplies and sensitive ecosystems. Not only is water likely to become much scarcer in these areas by the end of the century, but they are likely to see temperature shifts that will make them increasingly unsuitable for human habitation.
The state needs to consider whether it is sustainable to ship water 300 miles to build subdivisions in an area that could see the same summer temperatures as a low-grade oven.
Deirdre Des Jardins, California water research, Sierra Club California/Nevada Water Committee