Leaving the Board
We think we're going to see more resignations from water boards across the State of California as the deadline for implementing SGMA gets closer.
Aug 31, 2018
Below is a letter from Sarah Woolf to the Board of Directors at the Westlands Water District announcing her resignation from the Board. She has been a positive and effective advocate for agriculture particularly on water issues, and part of a family operation that has deep roots in the San Joaquin Valley.
We think we're going to see more resignations from water boards across the State of California as the deadline for implementing SGMA (the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) gets closer.
The State of California has mandated that water boards solve an unsolvable water problem. Farmers aren't going to be able to pump any more water out of the underground than they can put back in, and the state hasn't given these water boards any tools to solve the problem, i.e., dams or surface water or human decisions on water policy in the Delta. If there isn't additional surface water from dams or the Delta, the only solution for farmers is to fallow some parts of their land.
In addition, another function of the State Board is to appropriate 40% of the unimpaired flows off of the Stanislaus, Merced, and Toulumne Rivers. Thus, they are taking away the primary tool to mitigate the underground pumping. It is only a matter of time before the State Board comes knocking on the rest of agriculture's doors.
In a tactic usually found in dictatorships, the agency that decides if an area has a suitable sustainability plan is the State Board. If it decides an area does not, then the State Board takes control over the area's water.
As water boards get deeper and deeper and closer and closer to the looming deadline of this unsolvable problem and have to tell their member farmers that they have to cut the acreage they're farming, they're going to find themselves in the crosshairs. There's going to be a lot of heat on any and all decision-makers when it comes to these very critical economic decisions. If farmers don't have water, their land is worthless. If they lose half their acreage, their farm value is cut in half. How many board members will want to be this messenger? Why sit on a board when you can see this train coming at you? The letter below from Sarah Woolfe to the Westlands Board may be the tip of the iceberg.
Dear Westlands Board of Directors, Landowners and Growers
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