How can California have a water crisis when the state borders the Pacific Ocean, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, 400 miles north-south and 50 miles to 80 miles east–west, drains into more than 15 rivers, 6 lakes, and numerous creeks? The Sierra Nevada snowpack is the major source of water and a significant source of electric power generation in California.
Only government mismanagement could screw up this natural abundance so badly. But think about where California is right now – we have many crises going on concurrently.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s California, which is still under his COVID State of Emergency from March 2020, can be summed up this way: Water rationing, grocery unions striking, homeless denied housing vouchers in Los Angeles, reparations for descendants of slaves, $7.00-per-gallon-gas, porn K-12 curriculum, COVID vaccine bills, Single Payer health coverage, public school teachers strike, energy shortage and the crime… There’s more, but this is a decent summary, all of which link to articles explaining.
California is a state in crisis and decline. California has the highest taxes in the country and seriously declining public services, which were among the best in the nation at one time.
As the Globe reported in November, California was once the land of opportunity and innovation. There was a time when nearly anyone with a good idea and solid work ethic could open a business. California led the nation in manufacturing – today there isn’t much manufacturing left in the state. California’s schools were once envied by the nation – today they rank at the bottom of the entire country. California agriculture has always provided for more than just our state, but even that is under attack. What made California great is systematically being destroyed.
And right now, California is facing a severe water shortage that is government-made. People forget the winter of 2019 brought 200 percent of average rains and snow pack. Yet the state still held back on water to farmers, and residents faced rationing, the Globe reported May 2019. That abundance was not stored for the next drought.
“If we don’t grow it, American consumers won’t get it,” California Rep. Doug LaMalfa says.
“California sends 50 million acre feet flowing to the sea annually in an attempt to meet water quality standards, and this week California has taken another giant step forward towards grabbing another 825,000 acre feet of fresh water from reservoir storage, and sending that flow straight out to the ocean,” Central Valley water expert Kristi Diener posted Thursday on the California Water for Food and People Movement Facebook page. Why? “Because pollution needs dilution, and fish can’t survive in cesspools.”
“What’s different this time, is there is no more water available for this purpose. So then how will the ‘40% Unimpaired Flows Plan’ work? California shall pay farmers not to grow food, and use taxpayer dollars to buy their water for sewage flushing. Farmers are being forced to ‘voluntarily’ sign on, or face worse and more catastrophic regulations.”
Without enough water, California’s massive agriculture industry can’t grow the fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and wine grapes people need. If the evil plan is to to destroy California’s amazing agriculture then it’s working.
The state has been letting water out of reservoirs across California for months now in 2022, knowing a drought was on the horizon. And it’s not going to farmers, growers, ranchers or urban users.
Governor Newsom recently issued a proclamation extending the statewide drought emergency and requested that the California Water Board pressure cities and urban water districts move to a Tier 2 drought, mandating 10-20% reduction in water use and eliminate water usage of certain ornamental uses.
However, as the Globe has repeatedly reported, California environmental policy says the water “flows” from reservoirs are necessary to produce a rebound of endangered Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. The State of California directs about 50 percent of its developed water supply for the environment, including wild river flows, managed wetlands and wildlife preserves, habitat and water quality control for fish, and required Delta outflows, according to the Department of Water Resource, agriculture gets 40% and urban and manufacturing receive 10%. This is why we say California cannot conserve its way out of a drought.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa representing California’s 1st Congressional District, addressed Gov. Newsom’s proclamation this week:
“Limiting urban water use makes sense in this major drought, but a reduction of at most 20% of urban use yields only 2% net total, i.e. 20% of 10%. To date, neither the state nor federal government has announced major curtailments of the largest user of water, the ridiculous pie in the sky environmental water mandates. We are facing a major drought and everyone, the “environment” included, needs to share in the pain.”
But it’s worse than that. LaMalfa is a rice farmer in Butte County. He knows the water rationing pain first hand. California’s anti-human water policies are acutely impacting every farmer and rancher in the state – from the smallest local strawberry grower, to the medium and large family farms and ranches, to the corporate farms and ranches – they all grow food consumed by each of us.
“It is insane in a year even the President of the United States is warning of food shortages, that the state and federal government continue to prioritize unchecked amounts of water for fish. Restricting water for human basic needs such as food makes no sense, at a time when agriculture, which produces the food we need to survive, already has been cut an estimated 70% between the state and federal government. The state plan is to not deliver agriculture water in order to save deep water in the lakes for fall run salmon.
California is the largest agricultural producing state in the nation, and with many crops, if we don’t grow it, American consumers won’t get it. Inflation is hitting the low-income earners the hardest, how much worse will that be when basic food commodities prices skyrocket over the next 18 months because the government chose fish over people? There is a very limited window of time to get this policy right. Right now, farmers are planting during 2022 what U.S. consumers will use in 2023. Once the planting window is over there aren’t do-overs for another year; the crop year is lost, once the water is wasted meeting unattainable temperature or salinity goals for fish, we won’t have it. “
“Government policy is pricing the people out of the supermarket to satisfy their environmentalist masters.”
California is at a precipice, and a very dangerous one. But Rep. LaMalfa has been working on solutions.
“In October 2019, the Trump Administration completed a Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and Reclamation to create a WIFIA process for Reclamation projects. In July 2021, California Congressmen Doug LaMalfa and John Garamendi led a bipartisan letter with other members of the California delegation asking the EPA to allow the Sites Project Authority to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program loan.”
The Globe contacted LaMalfa’s office for clarification and to inquire if and how this factors into the over $30 billion in water bonds approved by CA voters? Here’s their reply:
“This funding is separate from the bonds. The authority would need to apply directly for the loans with the EPA. This release is about changing the rules to make them eligible for the loans. Previously these loans were only for waste water or drinking water programs. We started the rule change in 2018 (Wiin act), then got Trump to move on it. Now it’s finally enacted and available for use.”
“We need Sites more than ever; our state is facing another historic drought,” LaMalfa said. “I’ve been a strong supporter of this project for years, it will provide water for over 24 million Californians and 500,000 acres of farmland. This loan will drastically reduce the costs for consumers and make it more affordable for taxpayers to get the water they need, even in dry years.”
Families and urban water users did not waste their way into a water shortage and cannot conserve their way out. “Saving 25% of a 10% urban use equals 2.5%,” Diener points out. “Ongoing water releases continue to put fish over people, and both are suffering. More water rights holders than ever before are about to receive stop-using-water notices.”
California’s largest reservoirs were full less than two years ago and held enough water for everyone who relies on them for their water supply, for 7 years, Diener said. “WHERE DID IT GO?”
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