Home
CA Water News
Water Laws
San Joaquin River
Public Responses
Board of Directors
Mission & History
Videos
Donors List
Donate
Public Relations
Newsletter
Search Our Site
About Us
Contact Us


Aug 27, 2015
Our Signs Are Everywhere
and they are also in newspapers like the L.A. Times. ... more

Aug 24, 2015
Voting for Climate Change
Can’t be a Republican because they do not understand or appreciate the ‘facts’ of climate change and the stupidity of building dams. ... more

Aug 18, 2015
A (Only In) California Water Story
So, instead of releasing the water for farm benefits which can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, they hold back the water for some speculative, maybe, can't-be-sure event in the future. ... more
Recent California Water News

Commentary: Groundwater and Secession in California

Jul 13, 2011

California Greening Blog

Martin Zehr

Groundwater in California is the focus of the latest water war between water users in the North and users in the South. Some 38% of water used in the state comes from groundwater mining. The battlefield of this war is the Central Valley of California and the Central Valley Aquifer. Norris Hundley estimated California’s groundwater reserves in his book, THE GREAT THIRST p. 527, amounting to 850 million acre-feet, with the caveat that less than half that amount was usable. Running from the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley this aquifer circulates roughly 2 million acre feet of water/per year. Withdrawals account for roughly 11.5 million acre ft. /yr. (Data supplied by the USGS: Groundwater Atlas of the United States ). In December 2009 satellite-imaging projected the loss of 30 cubic kilometers of water since 2003. This is creating an unprecedented political struggle in the state of California. Recently a bill was introduced promoting the secession of the Central Valley counties into a new state. http://publicceo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3092:is-california-on-the-verge-of-creating-a-new-state-some-say-yes&catid=151:local-governments-publicceo-exclusive&Itemid=20 The significance of this lies in the polarization that it demonstrates in the state between water users as represented geographically (between North and South) and politically (between Democrats and Republicans). As Greens we should review this situation in an appropriate context and recognize the validity of all people seeking representation of their ecological needs and concerns. It is most revealing that those who drew the map of this new state failed to include Los Angeles and other coastal regions in the south within the new borders.

The recent report of the Public Policy Institute of California, documented the frequent overdraft in the Tulare and Salinas Basins of the Central Valley. The study proposes the end of the overdraft which is causing subsidence and lowering of the water table. The report proposes the need to establish state infrastructure to measure and monitor groundwater. Its review of “A Way Forward" describes the road traveled as: “California’s failure to regulate groundwater has harmed fish and aquatic life in related streams, compromised groundwater quality, generated conflicts among water users, and hindered the development of groundwater banking and water marketing. Comprehensive basin management, which treats groundwater and surface water in an integrated, sustainable manner, is needed to improve economic and environmental performance of California’s water system.” Its description of the road forward proposes “comprehensive basin management”. It is unfortunate that the writers propose such management in order to “facilitate banking and related water transfers”. The idea that we will be able to map out the aquifers and quantify the groundwater resource would seem to be a long way from the current state of the science. I admit this statement is subject to challenge by those with more scientific background than me. The satellite-imaging data may provide such a capacity.

The hydro-political scenario of a California water secessionist movement is the product of a one party rule of California’s urban governing entities. It is the product of unsustainable population growth that neither party wants to address for their own narrow interests. No one benefits, so long as diversions end the argument. Like the budget deficit talks, both parties prefer to just “kick the can down the road”. Neither political party is prepared to address the structural reforms needed to address adaptive governance. Conjunctive management will happen but it will not solve the issues between Delta users and Central Valley users. Why? Because the concerns are different.

Those calling for secession are right. There will be no representation under the status quo. California water is not governable under the existing paradigm. What we are dealing with is a distinct population of millions, who are knowingly disregarded by a one party system. The sick joke is not the legislation to secede. The sick joke is the power monopolized by the urban centers of the state who manipulate government and public opinion. Groundwater is no different from the other aspects of the water resource- whether supply and demand, monitoring and measurement, water quality or establishing priorities. Until we truly govern together, we cannot manage by ourselves.

Join Our Mailing List


Aug 25, 2015
Dead Lawns Don't Help
Taking shorter showers and letting lawns die will have very little impact on the problem. ... more

Aug 21, 2015
Tearing Down the Dam
From a permitting perspective repairing an existing dam is expensive but possible. Building a new dam is virtually impossible. ... more

Aug 19, 2015
DiFi and Science
The easiest way of creating "advocacy science" that is actually a form of fraudulent science is to leave out a primary variable ... more

Aug 17, 2015
Climate Predictions
If you want to know why people pretend to be able to predict the future of climate conditions, just see what they are getting in return. ... more

Aug 16, 2015
49% to the Ocean
It's time to reprioritize spending on critical infrastructure rather than vanity ("bullet train") and social engineering nonsense ... more

Aug 16, 2015
Crisis Mentality
Building more water storage facilities and capacity would only lead to a lessening of the crisis mentality that works wonders for the state centers of power ... more

Aug 12, 2015
Committed to long-term solution?
If so...then cancel the, so called, high-speed train to nowhere and use those funds ... more

Aug 09, 2015
Feinstein/Boxer Drought Bill
Anyone that believe F& B would ever write legislation good for farmers probably voted for all the water bonds ... more

Aug 09, 2015
Using Water to Cool the Fish
In the states WORST recorded drought. Washington is asking to waste water so the fish are cool? ... more
Copyright © 2006 -   Families Protecting The Valley, All Rights Reserved.
Web Design & Hosting by Netricks