02 April 2015

Memo #2 for Governor Brown: compensating farmers

In my haste to push for action yesterday, I forgot to elaborate on how to re-allocate water from farmers to cities.

The quickest move is to seize the water -- the property of the People of California -- under eminent domain, but that process would lead to lawsuits.

Given that almond crops produce a profit of $1,500/acre with the consumption of 4 acre feet of water,* it seems reasonable to pay $375/af of water, but let's be generous and say $1,000/af. I'm pretty sure that that offer would probably get so many volunteers that the Gov wouldn't even need to condemn the water.

How would this action undermine California agriculture ("one of the world's great food producers")? I don't know, but I bet that plenty of farmers -- the ones happy to export crops all over the world for profit -- would jump at the huge profits from "farming water."

It's been done before and it will work again.

Go ahead, Gov, try it.

* That statistic is from this article, which is worth a read in its own right. The title? "How Growers Gamed California's Drought" for fat profits...

H/T to MF

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