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California Cuts Water for Agriculture, Despite Plentiful Supplies

After record-breaking rainfall, a blizzard that left up to 16 feet of snow, and two “atmospheric rivers,” California has plentiful water, but is cutting supplies to farmers. In fact, the state is “awash with water,” but is in a drought for farmers, as reported this week by the Wall Street Journal.

Farmers in California’s Central Valley are being notified that they will see a 60% reduction of water from federal water allocations. Many of these farmers are already in crisis after a decade of crippling drought which caused an estimated $7 billion in losses. Every drop of water means local jobs and a local tax base. The nation’s largest agricultural irrigation provider, Westlands Water District in the southern Central Valley did a study in 2022 whose results documented a strong link between the availability of water and local poverty. Once prosperous towns now have closed businesses and suffer population losses.

This year’s announcement of 60% reductions of federal water allocations is caused by government response to a tiny endangered species of migrating fish called the Delta Smelt found in central California in the flow of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Ironically there are more Delta smelt this year because there is more water; however, since there are more fish, federal and state regulations require a reduction of water pumped for agricultural purposes.

Many farmers tried to take advantage of this year’s abundance of water to store water for future needs, but may be forced to use it all now. There is also a large underground aquifer, but due to sinking land, the state put limits on access to this water in 2015.

The best way to deal with this boom/bust cycle of water would be to adopt the 80 year old plans for the North American Water And Power Alliance that Lyndon LaRouche had promoted for decades.