California Lawmakers Want To Buy Up Water Rights And Cut Farming To Stave Off Drought

Zero Hedge – by Tyler Durden

In places like California, water is a hot commodity these days.  With a drought in play everyone is looking for someone else to blame, various cities are ordering cuts to daily use for families and individuals, and the primary target for now is California farmers and their legally protected water rights.  It is these same rights that legislators now want to “buy” in order to shut down or greatly decrease agricultural production. 

California, like most of the world, has a long history of intermittent droughts.  Such droughts are simply a fact of life and there is nothing abnormal or extreme about today’s conditions when taking past weather events into account.  If you ask the mainstream media, though, they will tell you this is the “worst drought in 1200 years” and climate change is the cause.

This is, of course, simply not true.  The California droughts in 1976-1977 and 1987-1992 were just as bad if not worse overall than the conditions of today.  That’s not to say that the current situation is stable, far from it, but the Chicken Little panic on display in the media is driven far more by agenda than by reality.  It has become a standard tactic these days to connect every single inconvenient weather scenario to “global warming” despite the fact that there is no evidence to support the claim.  There has been an endless array of droughts in CA long before man-made carbon existed.

Climate cultism has perhaps obscured the much bigger problem of water resources in one of the biggest produce growing states in the US, all in the middle of an inflationary crisis that is heading towards mass food shortages according to every single international economic foundation in the world and the Biden Administration.  Of course, these foundations helped create the inflationary problems we are facing, and diverting public attention over to weather events and so-called climate change is rather advantageous for them.

In the midst of this circus rages a longstanding battle between California farmers with “senior water rights” and the state government.  The majority of California farmland rests in the Central Valley with access to the Sacramento river and other tributaries, and water rights legally protect those farms and their access to these resources.  State legislators, environmentalists and people who don’t know any better argue that these farms use too much water and should be restricted while the state is under drought conditions.

Some of the more exaggerated stats suggest farms use up to 80% of the state water supply, but more grounded estimates place their usage closer to 40%.  Over 50% of California water is already protected and reserved for environmental purposes.  Already, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are idle and unproductive due to federal cutbacks.

California grows around 30% of America’s vegetables and 60% of US fruits and nuts, so it’s not surprising that these farms need large amounts of water to operate.  This is also the only major industry within the state (beyond shipping ports) that produces necessary commodities for the nation.  The tech industry and social media, tourism and Hollywood are not necessary when it comes to an inflationary crisis and are currently shriveling on the economic vine.  What matters are commodities that keep people alive and produced in large quantities in order to keep prices down.

The hostility towards CA farmers underscores a misunderstanding of the importance of the industry and in some ways distracts from the mismanagement of ground water resources within major cities.  Los Angeles is a notorious water hogging mess of a town, siphoning H2O from the Sacramento River, the Sierras and the Colorado River, and not producing anywhere near enough locally through wells and aquifers.  According to the Sierra Club, LA snatches 85% of its water from outside sources.

Essentially, the city should not exist in its current form if logistics are taken into account.  And, let’s be honest, California is run out of LA and San Fransisco, not Sacramento.  The rest of the state is treated as secondary or unimportant by these two population centers.

This has triggered a bit of animosity from many in rural areas and other western states towards California.  LA and its inability to provide for itself may have helped inspire a recent agreement reducing water usage from the Colorado River in December of last year.  These cuts affect LA the most and this is likely why the city and the state seem to be panicking even more than usual over supplies.

Water management and increasing local sources usually falls at the bottom of the list of solutions among state legislators.  It may be that farmers in the state could make some cuts; we have yet to see an analysis on how this would negatively affect crops.  But why should they?  At bottom, CA farmers are far more important because they actually produce something useful at a time when the country desperately needs to meet food demands and prevent further price inflation.  What does LA and San Fransisco produce, other than complaints?

Finally, we have to ask, what if legislators try to buy senior water rights but farmers refuse to sell?  What happens then?

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