A group of more than 150 water and agricultural organizations recently wrote a letter Congress and the White House to urge action to address the inadequate and aging water infrastructure throughout California and much of the West. The group simply requested that any future economic stimulus package for infrastructure should include water storage, desalination, recycling and other projects.

But this is a bigger story in light of the COVID-19 crisis , which caught everyone off guard and unprepared — but the same cannot be said of California’s ongoing unresolved water supply problems.

It’s a ticking time bomb that we’ve known about for decades — not months. The pandemic has shed light on the increasing need to ensure a safe, secure, and reliable domestic food supply.

The state — known for innovation — is relying on a plumbing system from more than 50 years ago that has had no substantial upgrades. A system designed to accommodate a population of 16-million people is no match in a state of 40 million.

It is an obvious future crisis that no one ever seems to care much about until drought years — when the only solution is draconian water conservation mandates that never resolve the core issues. Then after one winter’s worth of heavy rains, our policymakers disappear into denial and forget about the urgent need to deal with water.

According to the letter: “As hydrological conditions in the West change and populations continue to expand, failure to address water security has become increasingly critical…..moving water away from Western irrigated agriculture will surely contribute to the decline of our national food security.”