The phony Water crisis however, in most of the state “continues”.
But that’s old and continuous story [California Desert Water Story]. Anybody who spent there few years knows that drought in California may check out but never really leaves [while every 4-6 years rescinds somewhat]. However, roots of what’s actually going on in California are much deeper than the climate, arrogance, or ignorance of those in charge. It’s all about the malfeasance covered up by propaganda of water austerity.
It is true that we have the technical drought in California but overall it is not as bad as it’s being portrayed, if we consider that in California almost half of the area’s designated as permanent deserts and because of that the most advanced public water system in the world has been developed over the century ago enabling population growth in the severe drought conditions. The fact is that even now some water reservoirs are at higher level than a year ago and overall water crisis in Southern California is so far less severe than this of 2010.
May be that’s why seemingly desperate call by governor for additional saving of water fell flat. But why? Does anyone care? Well, all the threats to prosecute to full extend of city ordinance of those lawn-hosing criminals or water hogs, suspects with clean cars, house pool splashers, came up to nothing. Is there any real crisis felt by ordinary people in California, dwellers of urban conglomeration or is not?
Yes it is, well sort of. The only water crisis felt by everyone is the one stemming from exuberant water rates, fees and related services that drain people wallets in the midst of continuing economic struggle to survive. In desperation, the people not only in California, are trying to lower their utility costs by drastically reducing electricity, gas and water usage often by 50-70% but no longer through expensive technological upgrades but old fashion way by abandoning or drastically reducing usage of many appliances, washers, dryers, ovens, ACs etc.. Thousands of pools have been already emptied via secret midnight operation of draining pool water into street drains without a permit.
Consequently, more Californians simply enjoy dry swimming and going through their lives all too often unclean or unwashed, thing unheard of even 10 years ago in the body & fitness worshiping state. Already being green freaks, the residents of Golden State sold their gold to paws shops and now became so diligent that they recycle everything 100%, mostly not to save planet but to save home budget by recouping CRV. It is very little known fact that the state is the biggest recycling power house in the world, achieving record of recycling 106% of all the bottles and cans, 6% of the bottles coming from neighboring states. Often additional savings, desperately needed to repair hurting household budgets, are obtained by reducing the social engagements and entertainment and other desperate efforts trying to mask awful smell of rapidly decomposing standard of living.
Moving-in few in-laws who lost their homes or cannot afford the skyrocketing rent and food prices while working for minimum wage or unemployed, do not improve water usage in contrast to what Wall Street overpaid analysts planned for and expected. Instead, the densification of human dwellings promotes the efforts to further reduce usage of the water and other utilities by means of manual household labor as well as drastic measures such as flushing toilet once per ten uses, recycling of urine liquid for further chemical processing or utilization of post washing water for other household uses. Things that proud American/Californian would not like to talk about.
Tens of thousands of the empty, abandoned, foreclosed or bank owned homes completely forfeited they assigned water quota, making propaganda of the responsible citizenry of California in the face of the state water emergency an unequivocal success, reverberated by utter “silence” in the MSM. Yes, residents of California did their duty whether they wanted or not. Dirty/dusty cars – check, yellow lawns – check, stinky clothes – check, empty pools – check, body dehydration in desert climate – check.
Unfortunately, the whole household water usage by the regular people in California amounts to barely to 12% of all demand so the desperate struggle to achieve war-like 50% cuts amounts to roughly 6% overall reduction of the water deficit that overall likely exceeds 40%. While in the overall picture, it is marginal, the collapse of residential water usage is so dramatic that impacted significantly financial situation of the urban water utilities and contributed to some infrastructure failures, resulting in the depressed revenues and increased cost, as always mitigated by rapid increase of the basic rates and/or introduction of rate structure focused solely on severe penalizing of previously normal residential usage levels, levels that are continuously being reduced to entrap not so careful water customers as well as users of other types of utilities.
Some of the utility companies in the effort to entrap their customers, set up daily variable water quota, for basic rate, which when exceeded results in doubling or tripling the rates, and to make it more complicated the quota sometimes quota depends on weather verified daily, making the weather prediction skills a must since you better correctly predict weather before you take a shower, otherwise you’re out of luck.[ In the summer 2015 many local water districts following the state regulator guidance, cut the base rate allocation to half of the previous volume (feet-acreage) and eliminated all but level 3, highest water rate designed to penalize the waterhogs and wasters of the water.]
Further plans for gauging public are in works. See: http://abc7.com/news/water-fees-may-triple-for-some-la-county-residents-who-dont-conserve/742331/
Rapidly expanding practice of placing signs “ no shaving or hair washing in the restrooms” in many chain stores cannot be solely explained by rapidly increasing homeless population, but rather as the individual water conservation effort by the residents of the overcrowded dwellings. However, all of this desperation and sacrifice has no significant impact on the water demand.
One may ask what is actually the cause of the supposed water crisis? Is it the drought or something completely different?
Again another year NASA apologized to the people of California for the forecast miss as they mixed up El Nino with La Nina already three years in the row. The patterns of the ocean surface heating of equatorial Pacific are violently shifting making most of longer term weather prediction models a complete failure and exposed severe lack of any deep understanding of the complex global weather processes within the American community of climatologists or atmospheric researchers.
The fact is that the climate change happens but any attempts to adequately quantify it ended up so far in failure. Instead of incorporating the climate change into ongoing, continuous, decades long plans to readjust the agriculture and urban areas of the most severe impact in order to slowly mitigate the real consequences of volatility of the climate, the issue is used as a propaganda and political ploy to confuse and divide people with no real progress on the ground.
So what we left with at this point is the fact that California entering fifth year of drought condition putting the state at the edge of three to five year normal drought cycle which makes the situation difficult but not yet a disastrous on the scale as it was in Texas just few years ago. What’s interesting that almost a quarter of water designated to the scenic areas, frequented by the affluent tourists, used for fresh water sports are still mostly untouched by the restrictions despite the drought hysteria. More than half empty surface water reservoirs are something to seriously worry about but it’s not catastrophic yet especially since about 34% of California water is drawn from the, unfortunately overused, underground aquifers.
And the prognostics for the 2016 winter seem to be much better now or even the best El Nino year for decades, as some predict, ending technical drought perhaps even next year.
El-Nino confirmed in October 2015 to be of historic proportions [mostly those predictions punned out as of 02/02/2017]:
In fact the true climatic effects account only for a third of a problem of water deficit in California, two-thirds of the problem is related to the feudal-like water rights and abuse of the system for water subsidies supposedly helping small farmers but actually loading water moguls with cash. Even now, there is enough water available in California for everybody’s needs, including the small farmers, but there is not enough water for moguls’ greed. That’s the problem.
I visited area of the Central Valley late in 2012 and was shocked by the devastation of fertile fields belonging to small to medium farmers due to the shortages of water, or more precisely the unaffordability of water, while the drought was, at that time, overall not as severe.
Almost daily occurrence of hundreds of “dust devils”, small twisters, dominated dry landscape of the large swaths of Central Valley. They were continuously raising dusty soil several hundred or even thousands feet in the air drifting east into the Sierra Mountains. Politicians were blind and deaf to repeated warnings from the local air quality control agencies and environmental activists that demanded action several years ago, fearing not only local adverse health effects but that accumulating dust is high Sierras may increase the sublimation rate of winter snows and hence collapsing the snow pack levels. The effect so dramatically visible today.
Protesting California farmers, over last few years placed thousands of banners along the highways and freeways, painted signs “HELP US” and many other so appropriate to the situation expletives describing the role of politicians in this crisis placed on the farmers’ fences, barns, water tanks and vehicles, in order to bring attention to this man-made crisis. Except for few notes in the local newspapers and few posts online, MSM as usual, fell silent on the subject, since their corporate sponsors had no problem buying water with the FED’s printed money so there was no problem.
The fact is that there is no lack of the water in California for Californians as of yet; there is lack of affordable water for the small to medium farmers as well as the rest of population already pauperized by the ongoing severe economic crisis. It is gauging of the price of water, under the cover of a drought, by those who hold, established before 1915, feudal-like rights to it, the rights so entrenched that they cannot be even amended by the law, or lifted in the state of emergency.
These rights are presented as the God’s given rights never to be changed by a mortal man. It is not an exaggeration. The California State, when their own resources are exhausted and price-contracted volume is used up, has a choice to pay up the exuberant prices for water from the sources controlled by water moguls, and resell them to the farmers at subsidized price increasing budget spending or do nothing.
And that’s exactly what is happening for three years now since the governor, after serving his political cronies with plentiful water, would not upset his wife or JPM bank or both who threaten California with another credit rating downgrade if spending balloon.
Who are those moguls who concocted this fake water crisis on the back on the real drought? Mostly those are major cities of southern California, so-called public utilities, theme and water parks owners as well as private interest of huge landowners and the Wall Street run mega farms.
It is little publicized fact that much of the water in California is not what we would call commons but is owned by different kind of entities mostly public, private and government agencies, most of which are useless to public except for gauging prices as much as they can.
Most of the water rights in California i.e. much of Sacramento river delta, Owens Valley, San Joaquin and Colorado river watersheds are held by LADWP and MWD and the other huge shareholder owned water and electric utilities and they vehemently oppose any equitable solution which would mean loosing some of their water rights, afraid that drastic limits imposed on the water will drive business and population out of the (Southern) California and other areas even faster than is happening now.
Another group of the water moguls i.e. water right holders constitute huge corporate, drinking water producers, individual as well as Wall Street backed landowners such as hedge funds who over last almost 10 years widely speculated with land and water rights abusing ZIRP. They are happy to export precious water out-of-state at lower rates while refusing to sell it to the small California farmers and nobody can do nothing about.
There are multitudes of small utilities which often are just fronts, agencies of the private water interest, often with no infrastructure or storage facilities or even their own rights to water. They do not serve communities but the specific financial interests of the few in very obfuscated ways often drawing attention of the law enforcement due to blatant cronyism and corruption. Promoted by such agencies, green Ponzi schemes, under guise of the renewable resources mantra, using taxpayer backed private loans, develop so-called breakthrough technologies like turning sewage into drinking water exclusively in poor or black communities for double the rate of plentiful available fresh water.
There is no doubt that under guise of the severe drought we are facing another fake crisis, fueled by the propaganda of austerity instigated by the California public utilities and other speculative interests. This time the water utilities instead of electric utilities as it was in 2001 are a conduit for this extortion scheme. Back then the electric utilities conspired with Enron to steal billions of dollars from the California ratepayers and for that received over 10 billion dollar bailout from the state taxpayers. Now it is turn to kill small farmers, backbone of the California’s sustainable agriculture and increase profits by gauging the water and food prices for everyone else. Are we gonna let it happen?
It’s been over 100 years since the public California water system, a marvel of civil engineering, human ingenuity with vision reaching far into XXI century, has been first established making fresh, life-giving water plentiful and affordable in midst of a desert. It is also a sober monument for thousands of sacrificed workers lives for the noble cause, for the benefit of all Californians. Despite many attempts to neglect or destroy it, to corrupt or divide people and/or instigate fake crises supported by massive propaganda, it has survived and enjoys overwhelming support of the California population. Every Californian understands that water, as part of commons owned by the people, precious renewable resource is what makes California possible. Thanks to that California became Waterworld of Desert.
More on California water wars and corporate banking involvement can be found at:
and latest CWA meeting at: