The drought is real. But the only solution anyone is talking about is storing water so it “doesn’t run into the ocean.” That is a very circumscribed view to say the least. It certainly won’t help the Valley.
There are wildcat drillers from as far away as Idaho running around the Valley drilling into the aquifer. Unregulated drilling so that farmers can continue to flood irrigate is not the solution to anything. It is exacerbating the strain on the aquifer.
In most other states, when someone drills a well – even on private property – they must obtain a permit, and once the well is functional, install a meter and pay for usage. Underground water belongs to everyone sitting over the aquifer, not just to those who can afford to drill deeper, or punch in new wells.
The results of this pilfering are going to have dire effects, and not just on farmers. The ends do not justify the means when it comes to stewarding this resource. I still see farmers flood-irrigating orchards in Fresno and Kings counties, as if they are somehow exempt from conserving. Digging Delta tunnels and building dams will not save the aquifer.
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Timothy McKeever, Fresno