2 Mar 2010

Bill to Stop Farmers from Selling Water

This article discusses the issue. My favorite line is:
"Very few of these sales are voluntary," said Don Mills, chairman of the Kings County Water Commission. "The economics are forcing the farmers to sell the water."
I'm at a loss for words with that statement.

The bill text is here. Essentially, it would prevent DWR from approving agricultural to municipal transfers of State Water Project Water for periods lasting more than 10 years. Perhaps Mr. Arambula is unfamiliar with the Monterey Agreement, which specifically allowed these types of transfers? Lots of work went into that agreement, so to propose eliminating one of the Agreement's provisions shows a lack of historical understanding.

As for the 10 year transfer limit - When I lived briefly in Washington DC, I rode the Metro to work. Metro sold two unlimited weekly passes and I bought the Short-trip pass which covered all rides in off peak hours and up to $2.65 of a ride for peak hour rides. My peak hour ride to work cost more than $2.65, however, so to avoid paying more, I would take the yellow line north to the city (I lived in Alexandria) and get off a couple stops later, sprint to the fare gate, exit (that trip cost less than $2.65), re-enter to start a "new" $2.65 trip and sprint back to the subway before the doors closed, if I were lucky, to continue into DC. So much for their policy that the pass was only good for $2.65...

If the government says no to transfers longer than 10 years, we will see transfer proposals for 10 years with an expectation to renew. And users will get around it in other ways too.

Bottom Line: California's water market does not need pointless hurdles like this.