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California’s Big Water Plans; The End of Private Water Rights?

 

California’s Big Water Plans; The End of Private Water Rights?

March 10, 2015 Photo: Tom Meyer

At a news conference on March 19, 2015, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon warned, “There is no greater crisis facing our state today than our lack of water.”

 

California’s Big Water Plans; The End of Private Water Rights?
Drought-stricken California, which just had its driest January ever recorded, smashed another dismal record last month: the hottest February. This will be the 5th year in a row of historic drought in California, breaking a 120 year old record.

 

California is the largest populated state in the country. One out of eight Americans reside in sunny, warming, no rain, CA. Our economy is recognized as the 8th largest in the world with Central Valley farmers producing some 42% of the nations food supplies for decades.

For the second year in a row the Federal Water Agency, which controls CA mountain snowpack runoff, announced that zero water would be allocated to the 3300 state water agencies that it has supplied water to from the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges for the past 54 years. Until recently the states “ice chest” had accounted for 44% of the state’s annual water budget.

Last year, many Central Valley farmers had to fallow their fields when their water allotments were cut to 5% of normal, by Fed and State water agencies. The only exceptions being for those with grandfathered water rights, who can take as much as they like and are making millions and millions selling to those without these exclusive water right privileges.

In a March 2 study last week from Stanford University, reported in the journal of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, scientists are suggesting that we have “entered into a new era where nearly every year we have warming temperatures we will have low precipitation.” The report goes on to say that “essentially all years are likely to be warm – or extremely warm – in California by the middle of the 21st century.”

The ski industry and supporting tourist business around Lake Tahoe is in chaos. Baseline snowpack and skier traffic are down some 75% of normal and the only thing frozen around Tahoe these days are real estate sales.

Californians aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of our collective “new normal” of hotter weather and little precious rain. In Colorado they have been consistently shattering record warm temperatures by some 5-15 degrees. Eastern Colorado had record high temperatures of 82 degrees in early February.

Alaska, again this year, is consistently recording warmer temperatures than Texas, up to some 20 degrees above normal so far this year. It has gotten so bad up in the once Great White North that this week the Iditarod dog sled race had to move 225 miles north. Snowfall in Anchorage was one-quarter of normal for the year.

In the forests of Mendocino County where I live we are seeing trees literally exploding from the inside out. Once majestic beautiful Tan, California and Scrub Oak trees have succumbed to increased pest manifestation and infestation due to lack of water root moisture and are just toppling over everywhere.

Strangely, our government officials are silent as to calling for an all-out effort by all to preserve and conserve what water we have in this major crisis.

Golf courses are still being watered with only voluntary cut backs “requested”. Non-reclaimed water car washes, some facilities using 100 or more gallons of water per car, are still going strong. Energy frackers are still being satisfied with hundreds of thousands of gallons of potable drinking water per well site.

Building permits are still being issued for new wineries in Sonoma and Napa Counties. New housing and other constructions projects the same. North Bay wine sales hit records again this year.
Manicured lawns in the bedroom communities of Marin have never looked better. Restaurants are still pouring water to patrons without request.

Business as usual. Business must grow. Nasdaq just went over the 5,000 mark, an all- time record high. The banksters are very fat, wealthy and happy while Central Valley farmers are readying to fallow more Ag land and try to figure out how they can stay in business again this year.

Yet behind the scenes, in the dark recesses of California State governance, there is much scheming, plotting and long-term planning going on for the protracted, decades and decades long predicted water shortages ahead for us all.

Governor Brown is quietly proposing bills and passing legislation to literally build many more damn dams throughout the state in low-lying basins. The cost estimate from the Governor’s office is one half a TRILLION dollars over the next few decades.

This is in addition to the $20 billion we currently spend annually for water management in the state. Last November, voters passed Propositions 1 & 2 to fund some $18 billion in additional bonds to primarily build-out two large dams each estimated to be one-third the volume of Lake Shasta. One proposed to the East of Lake County and the other near Fresno in the Central Valley.

Arrogantly and boldly, Brown announced these massive building and spending plans just a week before state voters approved Proposition’s 1 & 2, yet few local and state news services even carried this important announcement.

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/24/14:

‘California’s growing population and dwindling water require up to $500 billion in additional investment in water in coming decades, and new state fees for water users could be one way to pay for it’, a water plan released Thursday by the state’s top water officials said.

‘Currently, governments spend about $20 billion annually on California’s water supply, or $200 billion over 10 years’, said Kamyar Guivetchi, head of integrated water management for the Department of Water Resources.”

‘State officials are calling for another $500 billion in coming decades. That includes $100 billion in flood-control projects and $400 billion to fund a wide range of projects proposed by different regions of the state’, Guivetchi said.

The plan looks as far ahead as 2050, spanning a period when California will be dealing with everything from shrinking snowpack, rising seas and encroaching salinity in waterways to more frequent droughts under climate change.

The plan envisions growing cities increasingly taking more water, farmers using less, and water costing more in general. ‘It shouldn’t be a surprise’, Cowin said, that ‘water is going to cost more for Californians in the future.’

Included in these large scale projects are for two 30 mile tunnels long planned to take water from the Sacramento River to give to Southern California. (Governor Brown had said these plans were scuttled (read delayed) in favor of getting Prop. 1 & 2 passed last November.)

So the state is deep as to the planning for a new era of warming temperatures and little rainfall while informing farmers, both big and small, to expect much less water while residents of the state can expect continued rising water costs.

Central Valley farmers had been supplying some 43% of the nation’s food until last year. Now they are being told that no water is coming again this year and they can expect less water in the future as well. Expect food prices to continue to soar again across the country.

Private Water Rights being taken away as well?

In addition, a month before that announcement, Governor Brown also signed into law the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014”:

This three-bill state legislation, (AB 1739 (Dickinson), SB 1168 (Pavley) and SB 1319 (Pavley), requires the formation of new local groundwater sustainability agencies responsible for establishing long-term locally-based groundwater management plans and ultimately protecting groundwater quality within their jurisdictions.

‘A central feature of these bills is the recognition that groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally. Local agencies will now have the power to assess the conditions of their local water basins and take necessary steps to bring those basins in a state chronic long-term overdraft into balance,’ the governor said in his official signing message.

The new groundwater legislation also requires local water agencies to replenish underground aquifers that have been depleted. Farmers will likely have to meter their wells, and some may be forced to cease or dramatically reduce pumping, according to the new bills.

If local water agencies fail to comply with the new rules, state water officials will have the power to do whatever is necessary to enforce the legislation. ‘The cost of doing nothing is the biggest economic gamble,’ State Senator Fran Pavley said. ‘Thousands of homes and small farms cannot keep pace with the race to drill deeper and deeper wells.’

‘We have to learn to manage wisely water, energy, land and our investments,’ said Gov. Brown this morning. ‘That’s why this is important.’  (Source)

Also, according to the new groundwater law:

• By 2017, groundwater management agencies must be created across California.
• By 2020, groundwater basins that are “overdrafted” (meaning more water is being pumped than replenished) must have “sustainability plans.”
• By 2022, all other basins must have such plans.
• By 2040, all “high and medium priority” basins must achieve sustainability

According to the above bill legislation, smart meters will be required on all private water wells through newly created local groundwater agencies. If the local agencies do not provide adequate enforcement, the state is declaring that they will intervene.

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) will be formed in these priority basins and will be tasked with implementing the provisions of the Act. The GSAs are given broad authority  to (1) investigate and adopt management plans, (2) require registration of wells and monitoring/annual reporting of extractions, (3) impose extraction fees, (4) impose well spacing requirements, and (5) even limit extraction.

Note, however, that any domestic user that pumps less than two acre feet of water per year (or less than 652,000 gallons) is considered a “de minimis extractor” and will be exempt from reporting requirements. To put this exemption in perspective, the average household uses 400 gallons per day or 146,000 gallons per year. Thus, one would have to use over four times that average amount to be subject to the Act’s reporting requirements. (Source)

So why no laser like focus in the news about these huge critical news stories regarding all who live in California and a nation that has relied on more than 40% of its food supply from Central Valley farms that is coming to an abrupt and severe reduction in production?

According to Dane Wiggington, founder of Geoengineeringwatch.org., it is because we who live in California are regularly being targeted, using GE weather manipulation, to keep California arid, hot and very, very dry.

We are being sacrificed for a much larger agenda by covert forces to keep the Arctic from releasing megaton pools of Methane gases from the rapidly melting tundra up far North. (Source)

It is because those in power to manipulate the weather all around the Earth now for decades, are really, really scared and are acting out of sheer desperation to “re-Arctify” the Arctic with nucleated heavy snow mass, so they are maneuvering precipitation up North that would be going to California and other Western states.

Once these massive blobs of methane gas have been released into our atmosphere, akin to huge belches, the planet will heat up exponentially within one to two years, it is predicted openly by climate scientists.

Last year the U.S. Navy revised their estimates, by some 40 years, as to how quickly the Arctic was melting, and is now predicting a ice free Arctic by 2016. Yet we are not hearing about these planetary emergency stories on old school news or local rags. (Source)

Ellen Brown, author of “Web of Debt” echoes similar concerns:

On February 15, 2015, noted climate scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute for Science at Stanford asserted that geo-engineering was the only way to rapidly cool the earth. He said:

A small fleet of airplanes could do what large volcanos do — create a layer of small particles high in the atmosphere that scatters incoming sunlight back to space. Cooling the Earth this way, could be fast, cheap and easy.

That technique also suppresses rainfall. According to U.S. patent #6315213, filed by the US military on November 13, 2002:

The polymer is dispersed into the cloud and the wind of the storm agitates the mixture causing the polymer to absorb the rain. This reaction forms a gelatinous substance which precipitate to the surface below. Thus, diminishing the cloud’s ability to rain.

Suspicious observers ask whether this is all part of a larger plan. Christina Sarich notes that while the state thirsts for water, alternatives for increasing the water supply go untapped:

Chemical Engineers at MIT have indeed figured out how to desalinate water – electrodialysis having the potential to make seawater potable quickly and cheaply without removing other contaminants such as dirt and bacteria, and there are inexpensive nanotech filters that can clean hazardous microbes and chemicals from drinking water. Designer Arturo Vittori believes the solution to the water catastrophe lies not in high technology but in a giant basket that collects clean drinking water from condensation in the air.  (Source)

*****

Just this week several Northern California water agencies announced they are likely to be raising water tax bills by some 33% this year. They blame the need to hike fees on the successful voluntary cut backs made by residents over the past couple of years. “You do good, we tax you more” is the states reward for those who conserved. Residents are also to see water allotment restrictions announced as well. (Source)

Update ~3/24/15

“Monitoring and conserving groundwater is no longer going to be voluntary,” said Jay Jasperse, chief engineer and director of groundwater management for the Sonoma County Water Agency. “Some people were saying they’re mad, that it infringes on private property rights and water rights, but on the other hand, we’ve also heard from people who are saying it’s about time to regulate groundwater.”   (source)

While amidst the driest, warmest spring on record in California with worsening conditions looking forward, tee times are filling, businesses are a building and lawns are a-watering while the state’s only answer is to build more damn dams, jack up water fees and take away private resident water rights.

With mandatory vaccine laws coming to California this year along with the greatest prolonged drought in its history we can expect to begin to see people relocating out of the state this summer and further intrusion of our private lives by the police state.

And with the end of large scale farming in the state and water controls from the state to be put on private wells, we can also expect to see real estate prices head south quickly by summers end, especially in areas of severe water shortages like the Central Valley and those counties that rely on local reservoirs and mountain runoffs for their water supplies.

The California dream is fast become its own worst nightmare of realities for decades to come by not taking critical steps to save what water we have during this multi-generational crisis upon us now.

additional reading/info:

http://ellenbrown.com/2015/03/24/california-water-wars-another-form-of-asset-stripping/#more-9208

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/03/california-is-turning-back-into-desert.html#disqus_thread

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