Friday, February 10, 2012

Duopoly's Diversions Drive Water in California

The oppressive character of a one-party system is that it does not incorporate input from other parties. There is nothing "supposed" about that circumstance. Greens know full well how it comes down. We are subjected to numerous administrative and legislative efforts to deny us ballot access in California. The record speaks for itself. Recent changes have further marginalized Green engagement.

The character of the water war in California is about allocations. It is demonstrated by various advocacy groups who have aligned with propositions that promote one group of users at the expense of others [see Pacific Institute's assertion linked below]. Los Angeles has taken water from the North for decades. San Francisco pipes its water from the east. The condition on the ground in California is that the drought is over and reservoirs are filled. The proposition for secession that was brought up by a Republican state legislator is based on lack of influence in the decision-making entities under the status quo. Now there is a move to restore Hetch-Hetchy coming from rural water users to increase their own base of support in the state.

The situation of the groundwater overdraft and the satellite monitoring of the Central Valley Aquifer presents a conumdrum to those who are hitting the bottom of the well as it were. (That would be the users east of the Sierras) The conflict over the peripheral canal is the same as has been addressed by the massive diversions to Los Angeles in the California Aqueduct and other projects including the Owens Valley diversion. Make no mistake about it, this IS a resource war. Notice the Delta would be included in the new state. This makes up the northern tip of the Central Valley Aquifer.

The largest metropolitan areas in California are located next to the ocean and yet continue to rely on freshwater sources from other parts of the state and have been financed through bonds. Even El Paso figured out how to access new supplies through desal of deep water aquifers. Their cry of poverty is inconsistent with their ability to utilize other sources. The state of Israel is looking to implement desal for 65% of its water supply. It CAN be done.

Population has increased throughout the state of California, including in the Central Valley. See the chart in regards to population growth in California . L.A.'s growth has been an exercise in failing to abide by even minimal restraints and it has long ago surpassed the carrying capacity of the bioregion. there is no question that these guys want all the gravy with none of the lumps.

California makes up about 17% of the U.S. population. Its crops also provide 17% of the U.S. produce. But there remains a belief, as Arnold himself put it that:"we CAN have it all". The Pacific Institute Report states: “The total volume of water withdrawn nationwide in 2005 was lower than it was in 1975, despite substantial economic and population growth. This is a significant achievement (my emphasis- MZ) that water demand can be successfully delinked from growth." (my emphasis) MUNICIPAL DELIVERIES OF COLORADO RIVER BASIN WATER, page 2-3 at . This sounds more like Arnold Schwarzenegger than John Muir.

The consequences of a state legislature that has a majority of urban users is the failure to establish and govern with the interests of others incorporated into it. California has manipulated its water law so that it means all things to all people. Public Trust Doctrine has been used to promote private interests receiving takings from other users as a result of state actions. Beneficial uses are so inclusive as to lack any real meaning in regards to distinguishing consumptive use. In California water law doctrine is inclusive of pueblo rights, riparian, prior appropriation and a separate one for groundwater. Fourteen Federal agencies and 15 state agencies (table 2.10, page 129, PPIC Report) put their hands in the waters of California and local authorities exist in nine distinct jurisdictional governmental entities (ranging from municipalities to flood control, sanitation and water districts).

The Department of the Interior under G.W. Bush that predicted regional hotspots and projected regions of conflict in the U.S. in the Water 2025. It remains to be seen if we are doomed to stay on the course that guarantees conflicts as growth proceeds unabated and resources continue to be depleted. No one can "have it all" when "it" is at the expense of others. It is long overdue for real prioritization of regional water planning to replace the continued expensive, massive aqueducts and diversions.

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