Sunday, June 15, 2008

 

California needs a smarter water supply policy to survive the drought and secure our future.

Water crisis in California is due to fraud and mismanagement of our precious water resources.

The Sacramento Bee had two opinion articles today discussing the drought in California and the water policy changes that are needed for our future.

1. California's water supply problems are due to the foolish ways our water is managed and used.

The state and federal governments are granting fraudulent water-rights permits far beyond the actual capacity of our water supply, thus enabling over-development to occur in desert areas that will be difficult to supply with water in the future. Water usage is not metered in some of our big cities such as Sacramento and Fresno, so big water-wasters pay the same amount for water as the water-conservers. Considerable water is wasted for irrigation of selenium-poisoned soils in the western San Joaquin valley without any acceptable plan to deal with the toxic pollution in the irrigation drainage that these farms generate. Too much waste from urban, agricultural and industrial users is allowed to drain into our rivers, thus degrading the water supply for all downstream users. California's Gov. Schwarzenegger occasionally makes happy talk about water conservation and river conservation, but hasn't taken any substantial action to ensure that water conservation changes are actually achieved. His real agenda apparently is to serve the special interests by building costly, destructive dams that our bankrupt state cannot afford ("hydro-illogical boondoggles"). (Much of California is a desert, we should live in it as such - sacbee 15june2008)

2. Agribusiness corporation water polluters want more taxpayer-subsidized cheap water supplies.

A western San Joaquin Valley agribusiness claims to be careful with their irrigation water, but it is clear from the article that they are using wasteful flood and furrow irrigation, not the modern water-conserving drip irrigation technology. They describe river water running out to sea as a waste, but ignore that commercial fishermen and recreational fishermen need clean water flowing in healthy rivers to support the salmon populations that are critically endangered in the Sacramento/San Joaquin River, the California Delta and the Trinity/Klamath River. They claim that global warming and reduced snowpack means that we should build more dams in California. Unfortunately, if global warming also reduces our total yearly precipitation, then the dams we already have may fail to fill in the future. Maybe there won't be any extra water to fill up any additional dams. They write "It is time to do something different and develop a sane water policy." (Planning, more storage would have prevented this year's water shortages - sacbee 15june2008) Part of their agribusiness corporation acreage is in the highly-polluted western San Joaquin Valley. They failed to mention that irrigation of this region generates toxic wastes containing selenium, boron, arsenic and other salts. There is no acceptable plan for cleanup of the pollution that is generated by irrigated farm operations in this region. Lets DO something different!! The only sane water policy for the western San Joaquin Valley is to stop all irrigation in this region.

California water policy must be designed for farmers, fishermen, city-dwellers and wildlife.

Water policy in California must serve the needs of all, not just the rich and powerful agribusiness corporations. We cannot afford to just build more dams to enable the foolish water practices of the past to continue. The fraudulent and wasteful water polices of the past must end. We need to face the reality of making the best use of our limited water resources to secure the future prosperity for all Californians!!

For more information:
Demand more government action for river conservation and salmon restoration to celebrate Earth Day 21april2008.
Oppose the San Luis Drainage Resolution Act - bad for California's environment, bad for taxpayers 17april2008.
California Delta water crisis can be solved by exporting less water to southern California 08april2008.
California Delta Water Supply Policy and River Conservation - BRT Insights.
Selenium Directory - toxic pollution in irrigation drainage from California's western San Joaquin Valley.
California Delta Water Policy, Conservation & Recreation.
River Conservation, Water Policy & Recreation on the Trinity River.

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