Before we get into droughts and water and jobs it might be helpful to do a little review. Just in case you haven't noticed, there are a number of people who make a living trying to destroy our way of living. Not only are they blocking the building of new water infrastructure in the state, but they are trying their best to deconstruct the system we have. They don't want to increase the storage we have, they don't want to build new storage, they don't want to use man-made canals to move water around, and they would prefer that nature go back to what it was before man set foot on planet earth.
Having said all that, let's be clear that there are constant attacks on storage, on our rivers, on groundwater, on 'reasonable use' of water, on everything you can imagine in the way of water use in the state of California. The people who are mounting these constant attacks are always coming out with 'studies' that prove their side of things. Of course these are not unbiased studies done by non-partisan scientists. These are biased reports done to prove their point of view.
The latest of these 'studies' was done by Dr. Peter Gleick and the Pacific Institute and written about in a previous newsletter. Their conclusion would have you think that a drought is no problem for agriculture because the area's high unemployment really had nothing to do with the lack of water; it was more about the downturn in housing and construction. We are happy to say that another water group, the California Farm Water Coalition came out with a response to this absurd theory and we print it for you below. Part of their response is the graph you see below. It's a little difficult to read, but the blue line at the top of the graph represents water allocations. It takes a giant dip in 2007, and you see the other lines representing unemployment spiking upwards. This should dispell this unemployment myth once and for all, but probably won't. For a better look at the graph, click on the link at the end of the first paragraph of the coalition response.
Coalition response...This report did use “real data” but it was used in such a way to hide the effects felt by those impacted by water delivery restrictions. From Page 59 of the report (yes, I read more than just the Executive Summary) it states: “...job losses were concentrated in sectors not related to agriculture. In fact, the proportion of agricultural jobs has either remained stable or increased in areas facing the greatest reductions in federal and state water deliveries. This finding directly contradicts claims that water shortages caused agricultural job losses.” The report conveniently uses employment numbers for multiple years and fails to look solely at those years when Westside communities were most affected by the water cuts. Compare these unemployment numbers from EDD with water delivery reductions at the graph found at this link and you’ll receive a truthful look at the unemployment situation.
Wait a minute, Peter, with one breath you’re saying, “The pain in the Central Valley is real” and then saying “but the cause is not water shortages.” Are you saying there was no pain caused by the water shortages? What about the people who lost their jobs because of the water shortages as documented by economists Michael and Howitt, who you quote in your report. To say there was pain in the Central Valley but not as a result of water shortages is a contradiction with your own report.
This report does a disservice to individuals who are seeking the truth.
When Beliefs Conflict With Facts
Dr. Peter Gleick
President, Pacific Institute