The stories range in tone and topic, but all are based on J. L. Curtis’s “What if California made good on its threat to secede?” question.
A teaser for my offering, “Roll, Colorado, Roll!”
Andrew “Andy” McDavitt giggled as he studied the lines of code on the two screens. “This is too easy,” he whispered. No one left a dam’s spillway-gate controls just hanging out for gosh and everyone to find. But there it was.
Or was it? Andy frowned and ran a hand over the bottom of his beard. Dominic said that two gates would let the river run again, one on the north and one in the south. The code activated emergency flow control systems, but were the right ones? He didn’t want to send the river where it had never gone before. Andy hunted around among the scraps of paper for a mostly empty one, found a pen, and made note of what he’d found. He’d triple-check with Dominic. They had to wait a little longer anyway, since the spring flows were only just now starting. Andy smiled, hands behind his neck and stretched in his chair, looking at the lines of code and imagining what the Colorado’s estuary would look like next year, after the flows had been restored. It would be very good.
He backed out of the water authority’s files, still wondering how anyone could be so foolish, and if they really were. Nah, this was Independent California, and the Bay Area Water Authority he was looking at. They were that foolish. What about LA’s Metropolitan Water Department, the famous MWD? Andy stretched again, then began typing.
Dominic Exposito struggled to look at least politely interested and mildly understanding as the witch from the California National Water Board kept talking. “All treaties and compacts signed with the Untied States and Mexico concerning water are still valid,” she repeated for the twelfth—thirteenth?—time. “Arizona has a duty to continue storing water for the people of California and Mexico, especially the new farming communities in the Imperial Valley. Los Hermanos de la Tierra are concentrating on sustainable, community-centered agriculture as they reclaim the land both for themselves and for the natural environment.” She blathered about LHdT for another minute or so, then blinked. “President Brown is concerned about rumors he has heard concerning restoration releases that will interfere with irrigation and municipal demand.”
Kira Nguyn, district supervisor for the Bureau, gave Dominic a poke as she said, “I’ll let our hydrologist explain, Ms. Villanueva.”
Dominic straightened up and toggled his microphone on, shifting the camera his direction in the process. He didn’t bother with a greeting, since she’d bite his head off for the crime of being a pale male from Wyoming and a former California resident. He’d gotten out just before the chipping started. But, his sister and her family had not been so fortunate.
“Per the Colorado River Environmental management plan of 2004, updated in 2020 and 2025, a seasonal flood simulation release is scheduled for late May or early June. We are not publicizing the date because of the white-water rafters, as you know” She probably didn’t but that was her problem. “It is the semi-annual release, in order to move sediment and rebuild the proper riparian habitat within the Grand Canyon. Smaller releases downstream will precede it, because of this year’s snow pack and the predicted run-off. We do not want a repeat of 1983.”
She glowered. “Remind me. What did you foul up that time?”
“Snow pack of greater than three hundred percent of yearly average, combined with rapid warming and an unusually wet May led to emergency released from all the main-stem dams on the Colorado as well as at Imperial and several other irrigation diversion structures. Even so Hoover dam suffered some damage.” Hell, for several hours they thought they might lose Hoover and everything downstream with it! The river would win, sooner or later, and it had almost been sooner. The old photos still gave him the willies.
“Don’t interfere with the irrigation flows at Imperial or the municipal diversions, do you understand? If you do, California will consider it a breach of international law and possibly a declaration of war, as will Mexico. The reclamation farms will get their water, as will the rest of the country.” She didn’t say “or else,” but she didn’t have to.
 Bureau of Reclamation
From:Calexit: The Anthology. J. L. Curtis Editor (C) 2017 All Rights Reserved.