I keep thinking that readers are going to get tired of hearing of Westlands Water District and Stewart Resnick. Both have figured significantly in my posts regarding water and California's Water crisis. You might need to get prepared to hear more, as I will be tagging these two again and again over the next year.
Let's start by the simple fact that El Niño is not going to deliver the snow pack that everyone hoped for, especially after the very heave rains of early October. At the first measurement around Tahoe, we have only about 75% of water content for this date.
So what is going to happen to the water? That is not sure. Some of it will go into the Kern Water Bank, controlled by Stewart Resnick whose orchards are the largest users. Even now there are questions about how that water bank is being used and how much water is being pumped. Communities in the Bakersfield area are finding that the water table is dropping to unprecedented levels and the local squabbles have begun. Some are shocked.
Now, after having to put up with Sean Hannity on Fox News, and Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes of Fox News, telling us about the terrible conditions for the farmers of the San Joaquin Valley, we finally have a couple of journalists who have the knowledge to know where to dig for real information and not jut to repeat what some PR firm handed them... like Stahl appeared to do.
Dan Bacher does not have the national platform of a 60 Minutes or Fox News. He ends up publishing at IndyBay, but for factual information there is more here than in Stahl's report. Maybe that is because he relied on another old journalist, Lloyd G. Carter, and both of them understand what it means to fact check a story.
The "Astroturf" campaign by corporate agribusiness to build a peripheral canal and more dams to increase Delta water exports has relentlessly promoted the myth that crops grown on drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley "feed the nation" or "feed the world."When you take in all of the facts, fill the spreadsheet with the available economic data, it appears that the only reason the Westlands District agricultural lands are profitable at all is the fact that the water they use is subsidized and, for the cotton growers there, so is the product that they grow. Take away those subsidies and I wonder if any of them would stay in business. Even if they quit growing, it appears that we would hardly miss anything other than the noise they make.
The corporate media and even some "alternative" media outlets have bought into this myth in their coverage of the California water wars, portraying the conflict as one between hard-working farmers like those portrayed in the classic Grant Wood painting who only want "feed America" versus "radical environmentalists" who want to protect a "minnow" like the Delta smelt.
Of course, our two Senators would never vote to take away those subsidies and give all farmers fair access to markets. The only thing that keeps Feinstein and Boxer in office is that their perennial Republican opposition is awful to tolerate and so we take the bad instead of the really awful.