Poof! Behold Brown’s Emergency Drought Bill!

Governor Brown combined his shelved water action plan with new relief aid and Senate President pro-Tem Steinberg’s water efficiency legislation to become a rewrapped Emergency Drought Bill yielding support from across the aisle, farming interests and environmental concerns.

Included was permaculture, drip irrigation, phasing out water intensive crops like cotton for hemp, in situ Central Valley brackish water desalination, groundwater cleanup, water conservation, recycling, aquifer replenishment, reservoir storage, storm water capture, rainwater cisterns?

Some, not all of this is in Brown’s package.

Certainly we need to transition from monoculture agriculture to permaculture, from cotton to hemp, now.

No clear purpose has been put forward for any tunneling or burrowing water from upstream to downstream except to curry political favor with Central Valley farmers:

‘Some tunneling may be warranted, but a single, smaller burrowing could be sufficient and certainly would be less controversial.’

‘In the long run, what’s sorely needed in California is a reprioritizing of water use. Currently, agriculture claims 80% of the state’s developed water. And 55% of exported delta water goes to two irrigation districts in the southern San Joaquin Valley.’

Brown makes the sale on water program

“agriculture claiming 80% of state’s developed water” appears to be not accurate and even alarmist:

‘When you account based on net water use—meaning water that is lost to evapotranspiration or salt sinks and not returned to rivers or groundwater for alternative uses—this translates to 62% agricultural, 16% urban and 22% environmental. And some of that environmental water is used to keep water quality high enough for drinking.’

Water—Who uses how much?

Jeffrey Mount, UC Davis Professor of Geology, quoted above seems to be the authoritative breakdown of California water usage, not what Skelton quotes from his article on Brown’s ‘remaking the Water Action Plan as emergency drought legislation.’

It’s unclear whether Skelton got the percent of agriculture water wrong or Brown did. Or if Brown did knowingly or not. We need to determine that.

There are implications whether food production in California will continue on a level to provide for the country let alone California, and at what cost to already cash-starved working class folks.

Brown’s package feeds and houses 15,000 to 20,000 people who will lose their jobs. What happens if state subsidies stop? Will non-profits and individuals maintain civility and provide assistance?

Reported crime in Los Angeles is the lowest since the ’50s in an economic collapse worst than the 30s. Figure. Frugality is not austerity.

Then relocation expenses need to be added too. You cannot rob Peter’s water to slake the thirst of Paul. California is not going to be the same as before the corporatist-enabled 500 year drought. What was is over.


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