Lame doesn’t begin to describe Governor “Big Oil” Brown’s failure! We have put together 3 editorials form different sides of the discussion to show how out of touch, bought off and arrogant this State leader is.
Mercury News editorial: Jerry Brown’s lame response to California’s drought
California is in a drought of historic proportions with no end in sight. Scientists and political leaders, including Gov. Jerry Brown, agree. The governor called an official state of emergency way back in January 2014 — but you wouldn’t know it from his actions since.
Lame doesn’t begin to describe Brown’s failure to show leadership on this threat to the state’s long-range future that’s easily as dire as the massive budget deficit he inherited in 2011.
A governor who was serious about conservation would be offering tens of millions of dollars in incentives to urban water users to replace water-wasting toilets, shower heads, dishwashers and washing machines with state-of-the-art, low-flow products.
Instead, Brown’s Water Resources Control Board is requiring restaurants to fill customers’ water glasses only if they ask and telling hotels to offer guests only one towel during their stay unless they request a fresh one. Oh, the pain of sacrifice.
A governor who was serious about conservation would be helping farmers finance drip-irrigation systems and ordering immediate restrictions on groundwater pumping to protect California’s long-term water needs. Only 40 percent of California farmers now use low-volume systems — and 80 percent of the state’s water goes to agriculture. Reducing the use of flood irrigation in the Central Valley is the state’s greatest water-saving opportunity. Instead, Brown last week offered up $660 million from funds approved nearly a decade ago to be used on flood control projects. Yes, that’s a drought response, since parched land combined with ground subsidence from overpumping makes some areas more prone to flooding — but it is not a water-saving strategy. It’s money that should have been spent by now.
A governor who was serious about conservation would have ornamental lawns in his cross hairs. The green expanses at corporate campuses, look-don’t-touch home lawns and other grassy places where no kids play nor families picnic are an embarrassment in a state where, even in wet years, it doesn’t rain from May to October. Parks, golf courses and ballfields should stay green, but using only recycled water.
Instead, Brown’s Water Resources Control Board is telling water agencies like the Santa Clara Valley Water District to limit watering lawns to two times a week or hit owners with a $500 fine — but allocating no money for enforcement. Agencies like this don’t maintain personnel or systems to deal with enforcement, and the governor knows it. He’s still relying on Californians’ goodwill. And we know how well that’s worked over the past year, when his 20 percent reduction goal was widely greeted with yawns.
Water experts and environmentalists are at a loss to explain the governor’s uncharacteristic caution, if not indifference. But conspiracy theorists are all over it. Try this out: If California’s urban and ag interests make major gains in conservation — which we all know are broadly possible — that will undercut their willingness to pay for the massive, $25 billion Delta twin-tunnels Brown wants to build to ship water to the Central Valley and Southern California.
More likely, Brown is distracted by other priorities and has been slow to refocus on something that’s not a flashy legacy project like the tunnels or high-speed rail. But this generally forward-thinking, environmentally aware governor — one of the smartest politicians in state history — has to realize that the longer we wait to get started, the more draconian limits on water use need to be, and the more development will take place with huge lawns.
He said last week he’s considering additional measures. Think fast, governor.
California Water Restrictions MUST Include Big Ag, Big Oil and Nestlé!
by Dan Bacher Editorial From Daily Kos:
The mainstream media and state officials have for years tried to portray California as the “green” leader of the nation. In reality, California suffers from some of the greatest environmental degradation of any state in the nation, since corporate agribusiness, the oil industry and other big money interests control the majority of the state’s politicians and exert inordinate influence over the state’s environmental policies.
California is currently in a state of emergency, with NASA scientists saying that California has only about one year of water left in reserves, according to Food and Water Watch. This is largely due to the gross mismanagement of California’s reservoirs, rivers and groundwater supplies, during a record drought, to serve the 1 percent.
California Governor Jerry “Big Oil” Brown’s recent water restrictions on cities and counties are woefully inadequate. Big agribusiness, oil interests and bottled water companies continue to deplete and pollute California’s precious groundwater resources that are crucial for saving water.
It’s clear that the severity of this drought calls for much more than just individual action like cutting back on showers.
Sooner or later we have to stop subsidizing corporate agribusiness, growing almonds and other export crops on toxic land, soil that should have never been irrigated, with cheap water and other subsidies. The idea of big corporate growers “suffering” during the drought is a classic example of the “Big Lie” that has been spread by agribusiness, the Brown administration and Big Ag Astroturf groups.
At a press conference in Sacramento on April 8 after meeting with water agency and agribusiness leaders, Governor Brown said that the “key is to get the water and not point fingers” during the drought.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, responded, “We have already sent a tweet asking him get the water for whom? Westlands? Paramount Farms?”
Natural Resources Secretary John Laird claims that “everybody is a soldier in the fight” to address the drought. Yes, everybody except those planting almonds in the drought!
According to the “On the Public Record blog (http://onthepublicrecord.org), almond acreage in California has expanded by 70,000 acres, a total of 280,000 acre feet per year of new water demand:
“I have marked the almond acreage at the beginning and end of the 2006-2009 drought (700,000 acres at the beginning, 810,000 acres at the end). At the beginning of our current drought, almond acreage was 870,000 acres. In 2013, after two years of drought, it was up to 940,000 acres. It looks like the 2014 California Almond Acreage Report comes out at the end of April (here’s 2013). I will be excited to see a new total acreage.
Let’s make this all explicit. Since this drought began, almonds have expanded by 70,000 acres. That’s 280,000 acft/year of new water demand for a snack that will be exported. That water will come from groundwater or from other farmers. At the same time, the California EPA is literally telling urban users to take five minute cold showers. If there is a lot of new acreage in 2014 and 2015, it is going to be difficult for the Brown administration to stay friends with them.”
You can take action NOW to stop corporate agribusiness, big oil companies and Nestle and other bottled water companies from depleting California’s precious water supplies during a record drought by going to: https://secure3.convio.net/fww/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2011&s_src=taf_sp&sp_ref=113679618.63.12411.f.50225.4
On March 20, environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m., effectively shutting down the company’s operations for the day. To read the complete story, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/27/1373887/-Activists-Shut-Down-Nestl-Water-Bottling-Plant-in-Sacramento
Dan Bacher Editorial From Daily Kos – http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/09/1376701/-California-Water-Restrictions-MUST-Include-Big-Ag-Big-Oil-and-Nestl
We are not in a drought, but we’ll be dinged for it
By Denver Nelson
The state of California is now in a multiyear drought. Since Humboldt and Del Norte counties are part of California, we are subject to the same mandated drought conservation measures as the rest of California or face fines of up to $10,000 per day. We will have to cut back our residential and commercial water use. Many rural municipalities get their water from wells and will have to decrease municipal water uses. The Humboldt Bay area gets its water from Ruth Reservoir and Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District will have to restrict water deliveries to the municipalities around Humboldt Bay. Irrigation of gardens, crops, pastures and lawns will either be eliminated or severely restricted.
The governor asked for a 25 percent reduction in water use.
The February report shows that we cut our use by about 7.3 percent and we use about 60 gallons per day per person. Palm Springs cut their usage by 8.4 percent, but they use 282 gallons per day per person. It takes more water to live luxuriously in a desert.
The irony of these imposed restrictions is that Humboldt and Del Norte counties have plenty of water. Ruth Lake reservoir is full and normal water deliveries could be made for the next several years.
The groundwater levels in monitored wells in the county have been unchanged since monitoring began over 20 years ago.
Unlike the Central Valley we are not depleting our ground water.
In the current water year we have received 27.99 inches of precipitation which is 84 percent of our normal for this time of year. Palm Springs has received 2.09 inches of precipitation which is 51 percent of their normal precipitation to this time of year.
The annual flows in our rivers as measured for the last hundred years by the United State Geological Survey have not decreased and in several north coast rivers have actually increased. The use of upland streams for irrigation purposes has changed the flow pattern of the rivers so that there is less flow in the spring but overall the annual flows of our rivers are the same for the last 100 years.
As we all know, the North Coast is different from the rest of California in many ways.
The $687 million aid plan proposed by Gov. Brown and the state legislators is using money left over from unused bond funds from 2006.
The aid plan allocates $549 million from the accelerated expenditure of voterapproved bonds for grants to local governments for water conservation projects, $40 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund — created by the state’s cap-andtrade law — for grants to local agencies to improve water- use efficiency, irrigation and pumping system efficiency and commercial water- use efficiency, $25.3 million from the general fund for food assistance to those impacted by the drought, $21 million from the general fund for housing related assistance, and $15 million from the general fund for the Emergency Drinking Water Fund to address emergency water shortages due to the drought.
If you think any of this money will come to the North Coast region, you need to reduce your dose of medicinal cannabis.
When we are forced to adopt the water restrictions that apply to the rest of California and receive nothing from the $687 million aid plan, our way of life and our local economy will be severely impacted unnecessarily. Get ready for your $10,000 shower.
Dr. Denver Nelson is a former Humboldt County planning commissioner, former neurosurgeon, Klamath River advocate and Cutten resident.