#464, July 15, 2007
COLUMBUS: Water is the topic today. Rain, floods, and bottled.
I parachuted into Oklahoma City Monday for the chance to entertain 500 women. Flew out again Tuesday morning, and it rained most of the time I was on the ground.
The women all came to the banquet dressed in attire representing the various periods of Oklahoma history. It made for a lovely style show. I told them the official style for Oklahoma 2007 will always be remembered as galoshes and an umbrella.
If Johnny Cash were with us he would have to update his old hit song, Two Feet High and Risin’. The ladies from Rogers County told me the water at Oologah Lake is closer to twenty-two feet high and risin’. Tuesday on the plane from Phoenix to San Diego I met a young man from Oologah. Asked him if he owned any lake front property. He said, “I do now.”
Big news in California is that they expect to have 60 million residents by 2050. Can you imagine 60 million? Of course, before the amnesty bill failed they expected 70. That works out to be about one person for every 100 gallons of water in California. The real estate market will turn upside down. They will say, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the state will give you a plot of land to build on. No charge. However, there will be a small monthly assessment of $3999 to cover the cost of your water. What there is of it.”
In San Francisco they have banned bottled water. There’s quite a few things you might think of to ban in San Francisco, but bottled water probably isn’t in your Top Ten. But it seems that those folks have the peculiar habit of buying a little plastic bottle of water, and when it’s empty throw it in the trash and buy another one. Anywhere else, they buy once, then refill over and over at the water cooler. It may say Perrier on the label, but it’s City Waterworks on the inside. And it tastes just as good, maybe better.
But really, California should encourage the continued purchase of water at a dollar a 16-ounce bottle, to get ’em in the habit. That’s about what it’ll cost in 40 years, a dollar a pound, buying it by the barrel.
This week I’m off to Florida. Afternoon showers expected, but no hurricanes.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on water in the West)
“The Hoover Dam is entirely between Nevada and Arizona. All California gets out of it is the water.” DT #1900, Sept. 6, 1932
“I can give you an idea how near the [Hoover] dam is finished: the various states have started fighting over the water. Even away up in Wyoming, and Colorado, and Utah. And states that never paid much attention to it as they didn’t think it would amount to anything. But now they see it will, so they claim some of the water.
About the best way to claim water that comes from your state is to grab it off before it gets out of your state. It’s awful hard to get water back after it’s run down hill off your place, but it makes a good state argument, and gives some lawyers some work, and won’t take any water out of the dam.” WA #619, Nov. 4, 1934
“Away back from the 1890s and to the 1910s, why there was an epidemic of alleged Farmers going out to settle the West. There was the land and there was the Wide Open Spaces, and it was plenty wide open. Never was there so much space, and so little water.
Now to set back East and hear about our Government giving you a homestead that is maybe 160 acres, well to tell a person you are going to give him a whole farm for nothing… It sounds like Santa Claus had arrived with the old reindeers.
But, it’s the bunk. There just ain’t any way you can make a living out of it. If there was any water on the place why somebody would be on there, for they have been hunting water in the West much longer than they have gold and buffalo. If a wonderful spring come out of a mountain side, men left gold, silver and copper mines to come and grab that spring. Water ain’t gold in the West, water is diamonds and platinum. So all these poor folks starved out. Their little scratched out plots of ground, and remnants of log or sod huts, or old chimneys, are nothing but tombstones of a lost hope and ambition, all led on by government advertising…
If [the Secretary of the Interior] had ever passed a Homesteaders house on a cold windy day, no wood, no water, wind blowing his little crop right out of the ground, he would be the most guilty man that ever lived for being responsible for bringing that poor devil out West. The West has got lots of open country, but none that you can live on.” WA #562, October 1, 1933