I'm going to send you to my favorite independent and accurate resources on the web for California water topics:
For this, they paid nada. Not only that, the 200+ golf courses of the Coachella valley and other areas lobbied against even having to report to local authorities how much water they are pumping out of local and shared aquifers. They cited privacy concerns.
I think that the 200+ golf course operators of the Coachella valley have to explain why the are more important than the survival of the endangered Desert Pupfish, who live in spring-fed pools in the same valley.
If groundwater was treated like surface water, the Pupfishes would have senior water rights and the golf courses would never have been built in the first place. Right now, it's the wild, wild west. Whoever drills deepest gets everything so the short-term opportunists are grabbing all of the groundwater before someone else does. The graphic in this Maven article explains how groundwater feeds natural desert springs.
|Desert Pupfish are so cute, but future generations won't know them.|
We lured Iris to walk the entire boardwalk loop with the admonishment, "Hurry up and see the pupfish before they go extinct!"My photo doesn't do Pupfishes justice. To see them is to love them. I really wish I was wrong about extinction.
The central valley farmers also lobbied against controls on how much groundwater they can pump. Sensing a lost battle, they changed tactics and successfully lobbied for time to 'implement' controls. Local governments have 5 years to form agencies to administer controls and then another 2 years to come up with a plan. In 7 years, the underground aquifers in California might not have any water left.
A farmer said, “Nobody’s fault but God’s.” I beg to differ. It is the farmers' fault for planting hundreds of thousands of acres of water-thirsty nut groves (even in the midst of this drought!) and irrigating wastefully.
In this video, I launched a weather balloon in a lot adjacent to a nut grove near Fresno. I did this in a couple of different places--once at night, once during the day. In a desert, in the middle of the summer, the farmers were saturating the air with their sprinklers fed by underground aquifers. The radiosondes registered saturated or near saturated air well above the groves.
They were using groundwater irresponsibly and unsustainably well before the drought. Do you believe this is "nobody's fault'?
BTW, the estimate that California has just one year of water left is based upon surface water supplies only. If the farmers and golf courses had been behaving responsibly, the underground aquifers could have held us over (with some conservation efforts). Instead, we are in a crisis situation.
If only a few people benefited from using up California's natural 'water bank', why should everyone else pay for their folly? The central valley is sinking at the rate of about a foot per year due to excessive groundwater pumping. Are they paying to fix the roads and other infrastructure destroyed by that sinking?
Enough hyperventilating. I give you some pictures of cool water in the Sierra high country in happier times.
|Iris with potable water and Sierra snowmelt.|
|Saying, 'hi' from the creek at Lair.|
I'm going to meditate with some soft yarn in a pretty color now.