Some great community commentary has been placed by residents
on the Newberry Springs Community Alliance's Facebook website
concerning the previous blog post regarding
Newberry Springs Residents Call For Strict New Water Conservation Measures.
One good commentary example comes from Debbie Farrington who expressively wrote:
"The farmers are not greedy. They are working for an income just like anyone else.
How much more should they have to give? They have lost 45% usage of "their" rights while
continuing to invest in water conservation. Something needs to be done but quit calling
our farmers greedy.
MWA will never follow thru with their promise to replenish our water.
Again, how many times have they put water into the reservoir over how many years?
MWA is the greedy one."
The answer to, "How much more do the farmers need to give?"
needs to be clearly placed onto the table. The answer is a painful one. And unless
there is an abundance of water that can be economically imported to Newberry Springs, there is
only one answer.
The farmers came to the arid Mojave Valley because of the ground water that
had accumulated over thousands of years; water that they have now depleted for many
decades. The question is, how much more of the precious water should they extract?
Farrington correctly claims that the dozens of heavy pumping farmers
have lost 45% of "their" water rights. Well, their remaining
is still taking the water rights from thousands of other people by lowering their water table.
The water table in Newberry Springs used to be near the surface; now it
costs tens of thousands of dollars to drill a well to reach it. That burden is upon
the non-farmer who did nothing to cause the massive depletion damage and who has not benefited
from the depletion. The greedy farmers have done little with their profits from the
community's water to benefit the community. None of their profits have gone to help
low income residents dig deeper wells to reach the water table that the farmers have
continued to lower.
The key question is, how much more rampdown is necessary to see a reversal
in the depletion?
The answer is with so little rainfall, the rampdown may need to go
an additional 30 or 40 percent.
The answer to the problem lies not in what the farmers can
financially accept; it lies in whatever it takes to correct the problem that
the heavy pumpers created.
Greater rampdowns will be necessary as more fallow fields are now
being returned to production.
The farmers came to the area knowing that it had very little rainfall; and
the farmers have been unsustainably pumping the water table down for decades. It is now
time to correct the mistake by whatever means is necessary; even if that means losing some farms.
If Farrington truly believes that the MWA will never replenish our water,
then the only solution must be to do it by much higher rampdowns. Initiating a
pumping tax would add muscle to good steward conservation.
We are coming towards the end of a foolish 5-year political compromise of
2.5-percent per year rampdowns that were started in 2010. This was done in violation
of an earlier court Judgment After Trial by Judge Kaiser filed on January 10, 1996.
This judgment includes an "Exhibit H" that requires 5-percent per year rampdowns
when the overdraft continues out-of-compliance. In part due to the influence from a
farmers' lobby, Judge Gloria Connor Trask has failed for years to arrest the continued over
drafting of the Baja subarea.
Most of Newberry Springs consists of undeveloped land. Land that is
privately owned by thousands of people for investment and retirement. A few dozen
farmers depleting the water under the land and making the water too costly to reach, and too
costly in power to pump the water to the surface, makes the land investments worthless for thousands
of innocent people.
The days of the ignorant thinking that farmers can pump as
much as they want because it is "their" water, and that water resources are unlimited,
All of the property owners have water rights; not just the farmers.
Newberry Springs needs to become a better caretaker of its natural resources.
Severe water pumping restrictions are necessary now to allow the aquifer to recover.