To every Californian who refers to the Midwest as "flyover states"...

You know I really do sympathize with California's situation. But I have to admit I feel a small strain of schadenfreude at the water shortage that's unkind, but not entirely unfair. Just across the border from where I live is Wyoming. Their snowpack is in a dire situation this year, too. They're going to have to be very careful with their water use this summer, most of which goes to agriculture. And there's probably going to be a bunch of fires.

But a lot of the water that doesn't go to their agriculture flows down the Colorado and goes to other states' agricultures. A lot of that goes to California. Probably too much, in fact, because of the outdated and unrealistic numbers of the Colorado Water Compact. And when it does get to California it's going to be wasted.

Now I don't mean it won't be put to productive use. It'll probably make lots of tasty vegetables in the central valley or something, and those Wyomingites will eat them and get some water back even! But California's water laws don't treat it with the same care that Wyoming's does. In fact all the Western states except California have frugal water laws that make it look like a wastrel.

So when Californian ranchers use that water not to grow produce but to grow alfalfa to feed beef cattle, because the bizarre water pricing there makes that unnaturally economical, those Wyomingite ranchers would probably be crying if they could spare the water for their tears.

Now yeah, most of California doesn't deserve to be tarred with that brush because they didn't create that problem. And those avocados are tasty, and LA is one of the most water-frugal cities in this country. Which is why I'm embarrassed to feel this shadenfreude. But a small part of me has been watching the water equivalent of The Ant and the Grasshopper play out between California and the rest of the West for a while now, and there's a dark and unpleasant satisfaction in seeing the moral of the story hit.

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