Irrigation canal

Surface water systems in California has helped agriculture for decades keep from over drafting underground aquifers. Laws, legal decisions and policies have steadily taken this water from agriculture, forcing an unhealthy reliance on groundwater supplies, which experts say are quickly dwindling.

California's regulated drought impacts aquifers

Congratulations to the environmental community and the elected and appointed officials you’ve bought and paid for over the years. Human beings in California now have no running water while the fish you worship do.

Feel better now?

The Fresno Bee reports on an elderly couple living near Porterville, Calif. who recently lost their 20th Century access to running water and must now carry water into their home like they do in third world countries.

This is not only sad, it’s extremely embarrassing. How can a state that prides itself on building and exploiting the technology that brought us the personal computer, smart phones and the computer software that runs the world force human beings to go without running water in their own homes?

As climatically unprecedented in modern times that our current drought is, one fact remains: the cause of this drought is more regulatory than it is a natural phenomenon. This is exactly what we get when we view a subservient nature in higher esteem than the humans it’s meant to serve.

California, once the envy of the world for its ability to convey water across the ground through ditches and canals to places where it was needed – think William Mulholland and the state-of-the-art gravity-flow system he constructed more than 100 years ago in eastern California – is quickly succumbing to third-world status because of policies and the inability of elected leaders to do the right thing for the people they allegedly serve.

Instead, we’ve become servants of the leaders and they decide by fiat what’s best for us. Apparently, those decisions include having others bring us water in garbage cans and buckets so we can flush our toilets and wash our dishes while we drink water “bottled at the source” from underground aquifers elsewhere in the state.

The reason residents are left with no running water in their homes is appalling. Why is it acceptable to allow residents to go without running water while we feign offense at the notion that fish can somehow swim and relocate themselves when conditions reduce stream flows? What did those fish do during all those years they didn’t benefit from regulated stream flows because of man-made structures?

The grand irony in this current debacle is the notion that groundwater resources must now be managed by the same government that regulated us into the situation of over drafting our underground aquifers.

Had we been able to build the additional surface storage needed to meet agricultural needs, urban uses and river flows, and had we not placed fish and wildlife on a higher pedestal than humans, where humans once had first dibs on surface water resources, perhaps we wouldn’t be looking at the very real likelihood that what just happened to one Porterville couple will soon happen all over California as more wells run dry and groundwater resources dwindle to dangerous levels.


Follow me on Twitter @ToddFitchette email me at [email protected]

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