We also know that regulation to end this unsustainable, environmentally-harmful, economically-suicidal practice was gutted by irrigators in the Legislature.(We even know how it should have looked.)
Perhaps they preferred to overdraft and prevent regulation that would measure (and maybe, someday, regulate) their self-destructive practices, hoping that a Peripheral
Well, now we know (via Josh and several others) just how fucked they are (we are?) down in the Valley. According to NASA:
California's Sacramento and San Joaquin drainage basins have shed more than 30 cubic kilometers of water since late 2003.... A cubic kilometer is about 264.2 billion gallons, enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-size pools [or 810,000 af]. The bulk of the loss occurred in California's agricultural Central Valley. The Central Valley receives its irrigation from a combination of groundwater pumped from wells and surface water diverted from elsewhere.Now, I wonder what people are going to say about this. People who may be affected by the total destruction of the local water supply.
Initial results suggest the Sacramento River basin is losing about 2 cubic kilometers of water a year... The San Joaquin Basin is losing 3.5 cubic kilometers [2.8 maf] a year. Of this, more than 75 percent is the result of groundwater pumping in the southern Central Valley, primarily to irrigate crops
We encourage landowners in critically overdrafted areas to continue to devise and implement, under local control, groundwater management plans. We believe that local control over groundwater management is best accomplished through existing water entities or new water entities formed by local landowners for the purpose of groundwater management.Brilliant. Leave it with the local guys. They know what to do!
-- Policy 79, California Farm Bureau (2008)
I have two conclusions to draw from this additional piece of evidence:
- Groundwater has to be regulated by outsiders, by adults. The kids don't seem to realize they are breaking nice things.
- I will now be much more vehement in my opposition to the Peripheral Thingie -- it's clear to me that these guys are not only incompetent at managing their current water supplies, but that the PT will do nothing to rein them in -- they will merely take the additional water and mismanage it. It's happened before (many times!) and will happen again.
[Seems a good time for me to take a break from this dysfunctional mess. California is unique in its groundwater incompetence, and I'd like to be somewhere else -- probably with different problems :)]
Bottom Line: Things that can't go on, don't. The longer this goes on, the dearer the price we all pay.
* Supported, I am sad to say, by the passive acceptance of Richard Howitt (my adviser at UC Davis) who's done nothing that I can see to prevent Nunes from grandstanding on Howitt's disowned research.