This is another dry year. How do California’s engineers see a partially-full water glass? Mostly the same as they did in the original 2012 version of this post, but we’ve added a few more perspectives.
by Jay R. Lund
Depending on your outlook, the proverbial glass of water is either half full or half empty. Not so for engineers in California.
Civil engineer (and George Carlin): The glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Flood control engineer: The glass should be 50 percent bigger.
Army Corps levee engineer: The glass should be 50 percent thicker.
Mexicali Valley water engineer: Your leaky glass is my water supply.
Delta levee engineer: Why is water rising on the outside of my glass?
Dutch levee engineer: This water should be kept in a pitcher.
Southern California water engineer: Can we get another pitcher?
Northern California water engineer: Who took half my water?
Lower Colorado River water engineer (outside of California): California took half my water.
Lower Colorado River water engineer (inside California): Sorry for shortages in other states.
Tulare Basin water engineer: I’m saving that empty storage to capture floods for recharge.
California Water Commission engineer: Would a bigger glass provide public benefits?
USBR CVP or NOAA engineer: Is that water cold?
Consulting engineer: How much water would you like?
Environmental engineer: I wouldn’t drink that.
Water reuse engineer: Someone else drank from this glass.
Groundwater engineer: Can I get a longer straw?
Google engineer: Stereo view disabled on device.
Academic engineer: I don’t have a glass or any water, but I’ll tell you what to do with yours.
Lawyers, NGOs, managers, regulators, and elected officials also seem to have different views of glasses at 50% of their capacity. We can start a collection of these perspectives.
Quote Investigator has a more scholarly view of the subject. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2022/04/08/wrong-size/
Jay Lund is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and half-director of the Center for UC Davis’ Watershed Sciences.
Munroe, Randall. Glass Half Empty. xkcd.com
Quote Investigator (2022),” Optimist: The Glass Is Half Full. Pessimist: The Glass Is Half Empty. Comedian: The Glass Is the Wrong Size,” https://quoteinvestigator.com/2022/04/08/wrong-size/