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Wendell Peart
07/10/2014 2:58 PM

In drought discussions, it becomes apparent that “population growth” is a huge factor impacting the limited water supply caused by drought. Like it or not, this affects all of us and should be considered in the public discussion. However, almost no one is willing to offer solutions. Why is this?

Dan Walters, dean of the Capitol Press Corps and columnist for the Sacramento Bee, probably more than most reporters, reported accurately that one of the main problems for California’s water supply, exacerbated by drought, lies in the immigration numbers. On April 18, 1993, in an article titled, “A Time Bomb Ticking Away,” Walters called attention to the impact immigration was going to have on the state’s water supply. Walters cited the “Department of Finance California’s population, now 32 million, (in 1992 — now more than 38 million) will double in the next 50 years, with babies being the chief component of that increase, supplemented by continued high levels of foreign immigrants.”

Based on the “population explosion,” Walters wrote: “The potential impacts on housing, transportation, water supplies, waste disposal systems, parks, air quality and other environmental and infrastructure elements are equally severe. Politicians shun these long-term issues because they are complex and carry overtones of ethnic and generational conflict. But the quality of life for all Californians, rich and poor, Anglo and non-Anglo, elderly and young, is under assault. Our very existence as a society depends on our ability to defuse this demographic time bomb before it explodes in our faces.”

This insightful reporting was done 21 years ago, but nothing was done, resulting in the problem getting worse. Thus, when drought occurs, the demand on the water supply, exacerbated by immigration growth, is so great we are forced to restrict our consumption.

On June 29, 2008, Walters followed up with another article, “Immigration Population and Politics.” It was timely and frighteningly prophetic. He mentioned the group called Californians for Population Stablization, as being particularly alarmed by the continued population growth. Walters wrote, “CAPS central point is, ‘If Califonria continues to grow, it faces serious environmental degradation, from impossible traffic jams, to record-breaking air pollution, to an exhausted health care system. Many of the most serious problems facing California today have one root cause — too many people. An endless supply of newcomers places an ever-increasing demand on our state.”

CAPS has created what could be called a “common ground” for mutual cooperation, both for conservatives and liberals. The curbing of immigration is very much a “conservative cause,” while protecting the environment is considered to be a “liberal imperative.” Walters felt CAPS had introduced into the public discourse about immigration growth and its impact on the environment.

“CAPS, whose leaders are academic,” Walters wrote, “underscores the symbiotic relationship between the two issues that few advocates of either would acknowledge.

“It is a simple demographic fact that as California’s population grows by a half-million or more people each year, virtually all of that growth stems from immigration, legal and illegal. Were it not for immigration and babies born to immigrant mothers, California’s birth and deaths would be in balance and the state would have zero population growth.”

According to a recent study conducted by CAPS, “Virtually 100 percent of California’s population explosion between 1990 and 2000 (and continuing through 2002) was the result of a massive inflow of immigrants and births to immigrants, not from internal growth.”

“During the measured 12-year span, immigrants and birth to immigrants accounted for the net increase of 4.1 million people, after allowing for deaths and those leaving the state.”

CAPS states one of their primary tenets as, “The vast majority of California’s myriad problems can be attributed to over-immigration — traffic, congestion, schools, the water crisis and the state’s ever-increasing tax burden on state and local taxpayers have all emerged because there are too many people for the state’s beleaguered resources.”

More shocking is a current update from CAPS that the state’s foreign immigrants, immigrants and their offspring accounted for all the state’s growth from 2000 to 2010.

(To be continued ... .)

Wendell G. Peart, DVM, is a former member of the Amador Water Resource Advisory Committee.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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