Drought: a period of dryness, especially when prolonged. Specifically: one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth. This is the Merriam-Webster definition.
In the midst of one of the wettest winters in recent history, we are being told that we are still in a drought. How can this be a prolonged period of dryness?
In California, great political power accrues to agencies in Sacramento that administer the drought laws. If they were to admit that a drought is over, they would have to give up that power. Politicians almost never voluntarily give up power. Instead, they find experts to concoct complicated explanations to convince the public that we are still in a drought.
A subtle rhetorical trick is to expand the definition of a word by adding new terms to it, such as “hydrological insufficiency,” and then using the word as though it retained its original meaning. When applied to laws, this expands the applicability of the laws, and the political power of the people who administer those laws.
So, if a hydrologist tells you that we still need more precipitation to fill the reservoirs, lakes and aquifers, that is a reasonable — and quantifiable — statement. On the other hand, if it is pouring down rain and snow outside your window, and an expert comes on the television with a lengthy explanation as to why you are in a drought, common sense should tell you that you are being hoodwinked.
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