Greens: Pay more for less water

July 28, 2009

In response to the Pacific Institute’s new report calling for California farmers to pay more for less water, the farmers are saying that the water crisis is green-made and that the solution is more water.

According to ClimateWire:

Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, called the current drought “man-made” and the Pacific Institute’s recommendations “nonsensical.”

The group’s recommendation to raise water rates, Wade said, “isn’t based on water being more expensive, or it costing more to get it to consumer, or some use for this added cost. It’s simply raising the cost so that fewer people can afford it, and therefore less water is going to be used and it will be reallocated to some other use. We think that’s gaming the California water market to the disadvantage of people who grow fresh fruit and vegetables and nut products and things we’ve grown accustomed to.”

Pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are also not needed, Wade said. “We are facing a man-made drought, a regulatory drought and a situation where water is reprioritized away from its historic use to a point where tens of thousands of acres have been fallowed in the Central Valley and 40,000 people are out of work.”

Another farm group, the California Farm Bureau Federation, said increasing the water supply through recycling and desalination would obviate the need to cut usage or raise prices. “Certainly, improved water efficiency will be one of the ways that California solves its water crisis, but that water crisis is too severe to be solved in a one-dimensional way,” said group spokesman Dave Kranz.

“To sustain food production here in California and accommodate the growing population we have and environmental values we’re trying to maintain, we have to develop a package of water solutions that includes new storage, recycling, desalination — all of those strategies have to be part of the mix.”

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