West side farmers sell their surface water rights to Los Angeles for hundreds of thousands of dollars and then install deep water wells to water their crops. A Merced County farm puts in deep water wells and mines the aquifer for tens of thousands of gallons of water per minute to sell to Merced municipalities.
Over a half-million acres of water-thirsty tree crops are planted in drought years. Seem far fetched? Well, all these are true.
Now two conservatives, Rep. Jeff Denham and Rep. David Valadao, complain about not getting a deal in which farmers get their water problems paid for by the federal government. It took over a thousand years to make the Valley’s underground water supply. It has taken only four years for greedy growers to decimate it.
We have no meaningful limits on underground water use in California, unlike other states. In the name of increasing crop values from $2,000 anacre to $8,000 an acre, we are seeing the Valley’s water supply evaporate faster than the drought could do. To compare the situation to a sailing ship, the corporate farmers say full-speed ahead and then put up full sails in a hurricane.
Nothing can go wrong … right?
Mike Enos, Fresno