Judge David S. Cohn made the right call in declining to invalidate a campaign statement by a water district candidate who contends the Inland Empire drought is over.

Anthony G. Jones, who is challenging incumbent Susan Lien Longville and two others to represent Division III on the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, makes his case in a commentary on the next page. Also on that page, Longville points out that our groundwater basins are at historically low levels.

Jones’ argument is specious.

It is true that on April 7, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown declared California’s drought emergency over except for a few parts of San Joaquin County. After five dry years, a remarkably wet winter delivered the seventh-heaviest snowpack since 1950.

But the governor hasn’t stopped pushing for increased water conservation. On June 1, he signed two bills that require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, potentially facing fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies.

Jeff Staggs, the Highland Community News weather correspondent, reported that the rainfall from July 1, 2017, to June 31, 2018, declined by more than half. In the 2016-17 weather year, Highland got 16.30 inches of rain. In the 2017-18 year, we got 8.08 inches.

Most likely, that wet winter was an anomaly.

What’s most disturbing is that Jones hopes to represent a district whose primary mission is to import water from Northern California to help this area survive the inevitable dry years and support our economy.

However, we agree with Judge Cohn that it would be wrong for the courts to intervene in the electoral process. As he said, the issue should be debated on the campaign trail.

As Hector Hernandez Jr. reports in today’s edition, the East Valley Municipal Water District continues to offer incentives for drought-tolerant landscaping, and it is moving forward with the Sterling Natural Resources Center, which someday will convert up to 10 million gallons of wastewater a day into drinkable water.

We’ve been impressed with new spirit of cooperation between our local water agencies, reflected in Monday’s joint meeting of the Valley District and the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District.

We’re thankful for that wet winter, and hope for more, but water conservation is now a way of life in California.

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