Donald Trump’s a con man trying to con wealthy conservatives who constantly rail about living within our means, except when it comes to water. We’ve been there, done that 125 years ago with gold miners who wanted to drain our rivers. The Sierra watershed belongs to all California including the aquifer. Riparian water rights are part of common law back to the Middle Ages.
Our “drought” is really showing the West as much, much drier geologically than we previously believed. We designed water policies during the 19th and early 20th centuries on the heels of the Little Ice Age, a geological anomaly.
My grandmother grew up in a mining town on Henness Pass Road, south of Downieville, at about 4,500 foot elevation, 125 years ago. They had at least six feet of standing snow all winter completely burying the first floor. Their winter door was in the gable. California rarely has permanent snow at 4,500 feet anymore.
Most of the west side by Interstate 5, and other locations should have remained dry-land farming. Our watershed belongs to more than those up river. We need to live within our means and accept that current precipitation is more the geological norm in the west.
Never miss a local story.
Keith Ensminger, Merced