In case you missed it…
From: On the public record Blog
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
My thoughts on Governor Brown’s reasons for not including agriculture in mandatory water restrictions.
Governor Brown lists three reasons in the ABC interview below.
- The lack of delivery from the water projects and water rights curtailments of junior appropriators is already sufficient cutback.
- It would end Californian food production and displace hundreds of thousands of people.’
- Our historical water rights system gives (some) farmers precedent.
1. This argument doesn’t impress me much, because we know that farmers are still getting water. They had a cheap surface water cutback, but replaced that supply with groundwater. About 500,000 acres out of 9,500,000 acres were fallowed. The remaining 9,000,000 acres used water to keep permanent crops alive or finished other crops. Growers paid more money for this water, or they increased their overdraft. Their actual cutback was 500,000 acres/9,500,000acres = 5.2%. I’d be happy to grant that growers deficit irrigated, or watered the very minimum to keep crops alive, so that percent might be higher, even 8% or 9%. That’s about in line with urban water conservation last year. The water right curtailments and lack of project water are not imposing a burden on agriculture whole disproportionate to the burden urban users shouldered last year. We will know that agriculture has matched the 25% cuts being imposed on urban users because 2.4 million irrigated acres will be fallowed.
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