A lesson in water politics

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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 12, 2014 - 01:04pm PT
There's a drought persisting in California, you may have heard. The drought actually exceeds the boundaries of the Golden State - most western states are feeling a tad thirsty these days.

Worrying became complaining as one water authority after another announced first voluntary and then mandatory water rationing for their water users. Complaining grew loud enough to be heard in Washington.

WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

So a few Californian GOP congresspersons drew up a bill which the GOP-controlled House dutifully passed mostly on party lines. Provisions of this bill include gutting the San Joaquin river restoration plan for the sole benefit of San Joaquin water district farmers. Nothing so satisfying as killing a river twice, eh?

San Jose Mercury News: HR 3964, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act, would let more water be sent southward from federal pumps in the Delta to San Joaquin Valley farms. To do that, it would roll back federal environmental protections, halt restoration of the San Joaquin River's flow and salmon habitat, and pre-empt various state water and endangered-species laws. The bill is co-sponsored by every California House Republican.

But Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, said Tuesday that "this piece of legislation has nothing to do with water; it has nothing to do with public policy. It has everything to do with politics."

Thompson was referring to the flood of goodwill it could bring Republicans in a few Central Valley swing districts in this year's midterm elections. "It's an opportunity to politically help a couple of members of Congress, and it's a distraction from what we should be doing," he said.

Thompson said he discussed the drought and the GOP bill with President Barack Obama during the House Democratic Caucus' meeting Tuesday at the White House. "With about 10 seconds of explanation, he saw though the charade," he said. "He also pointed out what we all know: He said, 'There's no way that bill becomes law.'"

And the GOP house dutifully lined up like school boys to pass it. I think the GOP-sponsored house bill was designed to go down in defeat, this to rally red district voters to GOP candidates in the mid-term elections.

This week the Senate announced its version of a water bill. This bill does not include the San Joaquin River Killer Provision. It does not suspend the clean air and water acts as does the GOP water bill. And in a lesson to the abysmal GOP leadership, Senators Feinstein and Boxer demonstrate how to build support (by including the Klammath basin in Oregon in their bill). I think they actually want their bill to pass and President Obama says he'll sign it.

What WILL the GOP do???? Obstruct? Odds on this favorite dark horse.

Now me? I don't think any water bill is ever going to slake California thirst. I think 'if you pump it they will consume it.' There is no amount of pumpable water that will go un-consumed.

In other words, if we the people pay to pump more water, people other than ourselves will consume that water until there is no more left. Then the Golden State will be in the exact same position as it is now, but with even more water debt.

I think conservation is the only viable answer. Use what is available to you at market rates; no ag subsidies. Folks should pay market rates for their farm produce; let the capitalists enjoy the full flavor of their full priced fruits!

I say NO to the Delta water tunnel project. I say NO to pumping more Trinity River into the Mendota Sink, for the benefit of maybe a thousand farms and their big ag investors. (trot out the 'family farmer' if you must but I am going to laugh at you). Say NO to more water to L.A.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE.

If we are to become more sustainable, ground water rights must be removed from private hands. Eminent Domain? I think it is time to consider it. The idea that the water beneath a farm is owned by that farm is antiquated bullshit based on ignorance of how the water came to be there and how long ago it took place and the true replenishment rates (ie less than zero).

WE THE PEOPLE own that water. Its time to truly socialize our water supply.

But let's tackle health care first - its the easier problem to solve. The great western cowboy ethic (built on eastern subsidies) is proving as unsustainable as most other desert cultures in the past. Utterly unsustainable.

Until then? Just say NO to Westland Water District and L.A. water grabs.

NO.

DMT

ps.

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25063251/california-drought-house-water-bill-exposes-deep-partisan

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303874504579377241109393218?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303874504579377241109393218.html
Chim-Chim

climber
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:06pm PT
Good Post.
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:16pm PT
Good post, DMT.

Andrzej
Cragar

climber
MSLA - MT
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:17pm PT
yeah for sure chim, thanks dmt. I hope more folks pay attention to this sort of thing, like they do about the economy.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:18pm PT
You could replace VEGAS with LA in that scenario....Same folks at the helm too.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
So long as you include Nevada 'bread basket' ag users, I concur. But I know you don't....

DMT
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:23pm PT
Fuk LA, but leave Vegas alone! It is a national treasure!!!

lol

Andrzej
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:28pm PT
Not just in California.

http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/eastern-nevada-pipeline-opponents-win-court-ruling

Better half studied environmental law, emphasis on water law. It will eventually become a much bigger issue as the population grows, especially if things continue to dry up.

Meanwhile, we,re starting to get sediment in our well. Dam it.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 01:30pm PT
Sorry to hear that johnnyrig. Nothing so personal as when the water dries up.

Water is life.

Miss you Brutus!

DMT
The Chief

climber
From the Land of the Mongols
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:35pm PT
In a year from now, when the ceaseless rains of El Nino come, you'll be whining about being flooded out. As well as all the others. Just like they all did back in the Springs of 75' and 83'.

Sad thing is when those rains do come, over 60% of all that rain water throughout California will go straight to the Pacific Ocean. As it always has. Typical.

What ever.....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
Vegas drained Surprise valley near Ely NV, which wasnt a desert bay any stretch, it was a green and fruitful place. UNTIL Vegas sucked it dry as a bone to fill swimming pools. And Moose, heres some education for you,, NO ONE above Tonopah even considers Vegas Nevada anymore. And hasnt for quite some time. It is a blight to the rest of the state. Crime stats are WAYYYY up in NV due to clark county. Taxes - the same and now they seek to drain every other spot in Nevada if they have their way.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:40pm PT


"Sad thing is when those rains do come, over 60% of all that rain water throughout California will go straight to the Pacific Ocean. As it always has. Typical.

What ever....."
...


^^^

Yeah...

let's just all turn our sprinklers on and leave them on...


Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
jeezuz chuff, have you ever thought that you and Werner should get married?

You're no Beduoin -you're a bed wetter
The Chief

climber
From the Land of the Mongols
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:47pm PT
let's just all turn our sprinklers on and leave them on...

Oh, you won't need to. Mother Nature will be doing that for you.



Besides... you have a lawn there in JT, Locker? Thought it was more in lines of a Rock Garden.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 01:48pm PT
F*#king drought, man!!!



In a year from now, when the ceaseless rains of El Nino come, you'll be whining about being flooded out. As well as all the others. Just like they all did back in the Springs of 75' and 83'.

Sad thing is when those rains do come, over 60% of all that rain water throughout California will go straight to the Pacific Ocean. As it always has. Typical.

What ever.....

A couple of weeks ago you were all 'mega-drought' now you're all El Nino. Whatever, indeed.

The water is supposed to reach the Pacific. That's why there are rivers.

DMT
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:49pm PT
Here in the Big Raisin, I love watching our SF Senators get in on the act. The hypocrisy of their environmental politics stands out in bold relief.


Funny how the Toulumne naturally flows into the San Joaquin River which flows into the Delta, yet no Hetch Hetchy water gets cut to increase Delta flow and "restore" the San Joaquin. Any threat of that makes them sound like a GOP congressman, and suddenly admit that the highest and best economic use of water should determine how we allocate it, rather than religion.

Groundwater is a mineral. It is no different from petroleum in that regard, except that the water table gets replenished. Your suggestion that we end private ownership of it has some merit, since right now we have the equivalent of common ownership, and "The Tragedy of the Commons" is playing out before our eyes. What is not clear to me is that government ownership of the aquifer will lead to a more fair or efficient allocation of the water rights than private ownership using mineral rights doctrines already established.

All law remains in development, but Western water law seems even more so. Yours was a good post and will, I hope, start a good discussion. I hope Wes is lurking in a way that he can contribute, too, but I think you've given us a good start.

John

The Chief

climber
From the Land of the Mongols
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:50pm PT
The water is supposed to reach the Pacific. That's why there are rivers.


So stop whinning then Dingus.


Let Mother Nature take it's course.


PS: More Reservoirs. Dah!
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:51pm PT


"Oh, you won't need to. Mother Nature will be doing that for you."...



You do not believe that we have CHANGED our environment with pollution???...

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
Thanks John I was hoping you'd post.

DMT
The Chief

climber
From the Land of the Mongols
Feb 12, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

WTF does that have to do with the huge amounts of water that will come in deluge proportions when EL NINO commences?
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