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OtPR, the great California water writer, made an important point this week about the problem with the rhetoric of “water wars”: “This rhetoric narrows people’s perceived choices, keeps their limbic system activated and postpones mutual solutions.” I’ve been pondering the word “crisis” to describe the situation we’re in now, or a reference I read today to this being a “crippling drought.” We have to be careful, if we’re going to use language like that, to define what we mean by the terms, because if they become an unexamined presumption they constrain our policy options in ways that aren’t helpful. California’s having a tough time right now, but nearly everyone has water coming out of the tap, and agriculture is showing remarkable resilience. If our language of “water wars” and “crisis” doesn’t embrace that full range of what is happening, we’re narrowing people’s perceived choices in ways that aren’t helpful.