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Carly Fiorina on California’s Water Insanity

Carly Fiorina (Glenn Beck)

Fresh & Local

By Bryant Osborn

Culpeper – Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and she was interviewed by Glenn Beck on his radio program earlier this month. Ms. Fiorina lives in California, and during the interview she shed some rare light on California’s water insanity. What she said was both highly insightful and almost completely ignored by the lame-stream media, so it is worth revisiting.

If you follow the news, you have probably heard that in the last two years, constant water shortages have hit California’s Central Valley and decimated the $45 billion agriculture industry. More recently, Gov. Jerry Brown mandated a 25% cut in statewide water usage.

Ms. Fiorina told Glenn Beck, “It is a man-made disaster. California is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology. It is a tragedy.” And she is right.

Allow me to fill in some of the background on this story. Rainfall in California runs in cycles, sometimes with years of abundant rain followed by years of drought. As a result of the cycles, starting in the mid-1930s, California built the State Water Project (SWP), which is a vast system of aqueducts, dams and reservoirs designed to catch rain and mountain snow runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years.

SWP water (Google Sites)The SWP was originally designed to hold enough water to withstand five years of drought.

But in the last 40 years, no significant capacity has been added to the SWP. According to Victor Davis Hanson writing in the urban-policy magazine City Journal, “[I]n the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition.”

Instead, these moves essentially froze California’s water-storage resources at their 1970s capacities, and during that time, California’s population doubled.

But even worse than that, California has released most of its SWP water. California uses SWP water to “improve water quality in the [Sacramento–San Joaquin River] Delta,” and “enhance fish and wildlife.” So when the water in the Delta becomes brackish, the SWP, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, releases fresh SWP water to improve the water quality in the DeltaDelta smelt (public domain image). So over the past five years, California has released into the ocean 3 million acre-feet of fresh water (that’s 978 billion gallons) originally slated for farms in the Central Valley to supposedly benefit a baitfish called the delta smelt.

As a result, constant water shortages have devastated America’s richest farmland. Central Valley farmers have left an estimated half-million acres fallow because of the lack of water, which is boosting the prices of food nationwide.

The cause of California’s current water shortage is man-made, political and a direct result of the state wasting almost 1 trillion gallons of SWP water, and failing to increase its water storage infrastructure.

Devin Nunes represents California’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House. Mr. Nunes grew up on a farm in the Central Valley, and His district stretches from west of Fresno down to Tulare, also in the San Joaquin Valley. Rep. Nunes told Investor’s Business Daily, “It’s not global warming that led us to this problem, but math and engineering, because we let 3 million acre-feet of water go wasted over the past five years. If we had that water, we would not be in an unmitigated disaster. But that’s right where California finds itself now.”

“How is it possible that we don’t hear that story on the news at all?” Beck asked incredulously during the interview. “Isn’t that interesting?” Fiorina responded. Interesting, indeed.

Fiorina continued, “With different policies over the last 20 years, all of this could be avoided. Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”

Fiorina said that as a result, 70 percent of California’s rainfall “washes out to sea” year after year.

“In California, fish and frogs and flies are really important–far more important apparently than the 40 percent unemployment rate in certain parts of central valley,” Fiorina noted.

California stands as a shining example of what happens once government controls who gets a precious resource like water. But this is California. Why should the rest of us care?

In a move that ought to terrify everyone, last April the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposed rule that would amend the definition of “waters of the U.S.” and vastly expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. The proposed rule — called the Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act — was published in the Federal Register, and is open for public comment.

The EPA is trying to do to us what the SWP has done to California, and I will bet that you have not heard one word about any of this in the news.

Virginia Delegate Charles Poindexter, R-Floyd, has said, “My understanding is this will include every dry ditch, swale in your lawn, etc. as well as on farms.”

The federal government ultimately wants to control all the water in this country, including the water farms use for irrigation. California water insanity is about to go nationwide.

 

Bryant Osborn - Fresh and Local

Bryant Osborn – Fresh and Local

 

Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday. He can be reached at bryant@corvallisfarms.com

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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