It is now time to paint on a second layer of control by changing the talking points from “drought”, “subsidence”, and “aquifer recharge”, to “water quality”.
Nov 03, 2017
Wayne Western is a San Joaquin Valley farmer who writes clear-thinking blogs about water issues, one of which we pass along to you for your weekend reading:
WATER WORKSHOP 60: We’ve all heard the saying: “If they control the water, they control the people.” Well, that has already happened. It came in the form of usage restrictions and water rate-hikes. It is now time to paint on a second layer of control by changing the talking points from “drought”, “subsidence”, and “aquifer recharge”, to “water quality”. In his 60th(!!) article, Wayne breaks it all down for us.
By Wayne Western Jr.
Lately there are several stories which refer to both more water for fish, and water bond initiatives. I’ve been meaning to write about these in general terms for almost two weeks. Although there are lots of numbers and names, what it all means is not that difficult.
Remember the “unimpaired flows” for fish from tributaries going into the San Joaquin River, which the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) seeks? The Democrat leadership in our state, including the governor, legislators, several state departments, environmental organizations, liberal individuals who run foundations and organizations, and their lobbyists, all want the same thing. They want to control water, and they want to do it without going through the courts. They’re all loaded with cash.
We also have Water Bond Initiatives that are neither about water storage, nor creating more water. They are not even about better ways to convey water or fixing current infrastructure. They do nothing for the water user, and are just another stack of papers that hurt the taxpayer. They too, are about control.
The players behind these initiatives, many of the Democrat leaders in California, and many of the environmental organizations with offices in San Francisco, are connected. If you had the time and patience, you would link many familiar names and organizations during your research. From Tom Steyer to Governor Brown to the NRDC, to the SWRCB to the DWR to Kevin DeLeon (and others), you will find the same theme: Big money and overbearing control of the people in this state.
“Water quality” is now the new name of the game. It is through “water quality” that agendas will move. These people know that water quality trumps water quantity, and in their collective minds, gives them a means and justification for why they “should” control more water.
We have seen SGMA. Is anyone checking to see if groundwater levels are returning to pre-“drought” levels? Does anyone care?
What about the drought? Do we still believe it was man-made? I have read our drought lasted four, five, and six years. Which was it? Should we believe the weather drought kept southern reservoirs low? Should we ignore that San Luis Reservoir was by far, the lowest in the entire state?
We have seen s to the Bay Delta Plan. Instead of a stack of paper, the Bay Delta Plan could be summed up in one sentence. “We need more fresh water through the Delta.”
We have seen California Water Fix and the tunnels. Still to be determined, but planned and written as is, this is a project agriculture cannot afford.
What about the Sacramento River Temperature Plan? How much water even makes it to the tunnels when the water is too warm for salmon? Should we just forget that Shasta was completely shut down a couple of years ago for that very reason?
We have the nitrate issue in drinking water. Although nitrates come from multiple sources, it is widely assumed agriculture should be blamed. Even elitists inside the agriculture industry are accepting blame for the rest of us. Many others in Ag take a neutral stance, which in my opinion, renders them absolutely useless to the rest of us involved in the industry.
The last day of the session for the California Legislators was special. Not every crazy piece of legislation moved forward, but it was a matchless day for sure. For example, did you know AB450 puts federal immigration action solely on the backs of our employers? You should read it, and do not trust our state democrats when they tout “sanctuary status” as a meaningful term.
There was also SB5. This is the work of Kevin DeLeon, with help from Eduardo Garcia. These are quite familiar names if you pay attention to politics in agriculture. I wish I could entertain the notion of “moderate” democrats in California, but if you think we have moderate democrats, you haven’t checked any voting records.
SB5 is a $4 billion bond that passed, and is now on the Governor’s desk. With a slight glance, you may think SB5 is about building parks and helping the “disadvantaged” with recreational time and transportation. Look further and you’ll see it can cost you your property.
SB5 provides $200 million to assist the SWRCB in obtaining “voluntary” water-right settlements. Listen close. Voluntary agreements will mean you will not have your day in court. Voluntary agreements will mean strong-arm tactics will be used, and you will find yourself in the world of choosing between the lesser of two evils. You will lose. These voluntary agreements will rededicate 1,000,000 acre-feet of water towards their Bay Delta Water Quality Plan.
SB5 is a disaster for the Sacramento and Central Valley. Brown has said these deals must be negotiated. I will assume that if someone voluntarily gives up their water rights, Brown will assume it has been negotiated.
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