Liberty Chronicles

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink - Part 5 of 5

Delves into California Water Issues. Water is now a Crypto currency. Corporate farmers are not Family farmers. State climate change policy is the man made crisis.

By Ed McKervey
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Originally published in the Porterville Recorder's 6/7/2023 issue. Part 5 of 5.

Returning to the subject of water I want to ask the reader to think about the scale of this grift. We started in part 1 with the Kern County example because it is close to home but there are many, many, more examples out there. When reading about water it is easy to get lost in the complexity of it all so I am trying to tease out the premise of the argument and some of its corollaries.  When I did the math on Kern County it seems like a great place to make a real comparison that might help the reader understand better the scope and scale by describing an area close to home as a case study.

I’m trying to do the math and it looks like at least a 36 fold increase in water demand over the past 100 years in Kern County alone mostly farming but some from population.  Now that we had used all the surface water and pumped another million acre feet per year out of the ground we have the hubris in the media and the government to try and put the blame on God and the very people who paid to bring an abundance of water to the south valley. For some reason we have been completely ignoring the demand and blaming climate for our current situation. 

The false premise that we don’t live in a drought flood arid climate and its climate change that has led us into this cave is preposterous. Blame shifting began in the garden and what was true then remains true today.  Human nature does not change and neither does the Holy Word of God.  There is nothing new under the sun they say in Ecclesiastes and that is true for all time. Once we stop and think about what is really going on we can see clearly that big government, big farming and big media are trying to pee on our legs and tell us it’s raining. 

We have added 6 million more acres of farmland to production to the valley in the past 100 years. The additional farming is trending towards tree’s that requires water year round putting extreme demands on the aquifer in dry years. Sustaining tree’s year round uses at least 3 times as much water as other crops simply because they are tree’s and while they bear only seasonal fruit they require water year round. 

We drained the natural wetlands where the water used to settle to the aquifer and draw abundant life to our natural drainage which clearly is a rape of the land and an environmental disaster. Few know the history and few remember that salmon used to come to the south valley not so long ago before we damned the rivers and dried up the wetlands for farming.  We need to go back in history and revisit what happened in 1947 when the last Salmon run to the South Valley occurred before we turned the San Juaquin River into the Friant Kern Canal.

For perspective I would like you to do a little thought experiment.  Lake Success (Schafer) will now holds just less than 100,000 acre feet of water.   The farmland from the Wonderful Company for example, to pick a giant farmer at random in the south valley of which there are many more we could compare, requires about 300,000 acre feet of water per year to operate.  A single company that is highly profitable and relies heavily on international export for its profits uses the amount of water that can be held in Lake Success THREE times over in a single year. By contrast and for simple understanding that single company uses TWENTY times more water in a year than our city

The bottom line is the resident pays TWENTY times more per gallon than Corporate Farmer & the people paid for most of the Water Infrastructure. This is why they want “smart” water meters. Water has been turned into a profitable currency that heavily in debt cities and government are very interested in controlling.   If we can remember how to do math we might begin to understand the scope of the problem we face and the reality that we use more water than we have, not because of global warming, not because of small farmers, not because people don’t conserve enough but because we have Global Farming.  

Alright let’s do another thought experiment through the prism of an average bottle of water. The average bottle of water that folks drink is 16.9 ounces or 500ml. That’s if you even understand the anti-American metric labeling of half a liter. On average each case of 24 contains just over 3 gallons of water.  There are roughly 326,000 gallons in an acre foot of water.  The quick and dirty math is that there are about 109,000 cases of water in an acre foot. Basically at the supermarket price today water is sold in a bottle for more than a half a million dollars and acre foot.   At $5 per case of water that is about $543,000.00 dollars an acre foot for bottled water.  I’m starting to think I should go into the bottled water business.

Furthermore if you buy a bottle of water at an event for $4 you would be buying water at the rate of 2 Million dollars for an acre foot.  Typical city water is purchased at about $200 dollars an acre foot and the city sells it through a water meter at the rate of about $3,000 an acre foot. This makes selling water through a water meter seem like a huge discount and cannot even be compared to wholesale water used by agriculture which can be delivered at less than $15 an acre foot and in flood years much of it is given for free. 

Cities enjoy a very lucrative windfall here even after treating the water and dealing with the sewage output.  Don’t fret the state will be happy to limit your consumption to 55 gallons of water per person through a water meter by 2030. That is less than 30 cases of water per person per month.  Can you imagine taking a shower from bottled water?  Remember water conservation is a “Growing” concern.  The state is going to help you conserve by forcing you to use less than 50 gallons per day per person by 2030.  They care so much for you they will force you to do the right thing.  Something that never ends well and will likely cost a lot of money to support the “Growing Concern”.  Not for growing people but for growing agriculture.  It’s all for the greater good of agriculture and municipal profit margins throughout the state.

Any objective view can clearly see hedge funds (retirement dollars) are buying up the properties chasing profits at an ever increasing rate.  Thousands and thousands of acres were added to production during every year of the meteorological drought only slowing when water deliveries dried up and soon after wells started to dry up. Only in the later years of the recent meteorological drought did we see the big farmers remove trees when they couldn’t get the water to keep them alive and they had pumped wells dry. The very people that paid for the water delivery systems will be asked to pony up again to fix the sinking canals in this forever socioeconomic drought the government enabled and also profits from. 

It’s a growing problem offsetting the shortfall’s caused by hedge fund profit motives not by availability of actual water. Is it not a coincidence that most of the new water rules went into effect in 2020 during the pandemic? The water rates went up sharply during the drought to make up for less consumption and city pension shortfalls. Our own conservation led to higher rates and everyone bought into the lie hook line and sinker. 

Moreover the mindless continue to drone on about climate change blaming your neighbor and God himself for both drought and flood as a scapegoats for this man caused disaster.  Don’t worry the more people conserve the higher the rates will need to be in this growing problem. It was fascinating to read in the state documents how in 2022 they claimed there would be less and less snow for ever and ever then we saw the most snow ever recorded in 2023.  Ooops! 

The word sustainability is a floating signifier. To the earth worshipper sustainability means your lifestyle is causing the drought and the flood. To hedge funds, corporate farmers, and city governments sustainability means profit. California has 14% of the population and 34% of the welfare of the entire US and they harp about sustainability constantly in the biggest welfare state in the union. What does the word sustainability mean to you?   To me the word sustainability is a word used to manipulate, cajole, coerce, persuade and deceive.  All of these floating signifiers are akin to pharmakeía in the good book.  Those welfare numbers don’t include the water welfare we talked about in this series. 

We have traded the natural for the fake because it’s easy profit in the short term enabling our continued decadence. At some point we will have to ask ourselves if the trade-off was worth it.  If we exported 40% of what we grew with this water did we also export our water to line the pockets of Big business enabled by big government?  We have to ask ourselves what we need to do to solve the problems we created. 

We have to ask ourselves if REAL sustainability is the goal returning some balance to this equation or are we being manipulated again to accept higher prices and less freedom as a sustainable solution.  What folks need to wake up to is that sustainability is never applied to our family income or well-being. We are being asked to sacrifice our freedom for sustainability and the greater good.  Whatever that means. This word sustainability is never applied to families and their income that’s how you know it’s a weasel word. 

It looks like watering the dessert has reached apogee and we would be wise not to continue digging the hole we find ourselves in.  We created this path that leads to scarcity and less freedom that supports all things big at our own expense. Why exactly are we trading freedom and abundance for all things Big? Do we really want to continue to sacrifice our future for the present and keep our heads buried deep in the sand of dry wells? 

Looking back would we have traded Salmon runs, wildlife and natural marshes for industrialized nuts.  I guess we could say we have all become a little nuts in this day and age.  Somehow we have come to believe an alternate reality that has nothing to do with what’s really going on in California.   Bad Leadership does not lead to prosperity, balance, freedom, stability or sustainability.  One thing that gives me hope about American’s is that we seem to always do the right thing, we just seem to do it last.  It looks like we are up against the wall again and its time we faced the reality that there is water everywhere and it’s still a drought, or flood and always a reason to grow government.

Blank Person

Ed McKervey

Liberty Chronicles presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of the editors, Blessings of Liberty, or its Board of Directors.

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