Farmers Appear Horrified At Proposed
Final Solution
Deemed Necessary To Balance Water Supply

      During hot summer days, and year-round, pivot irrigation systems drain the Newberry Springs aquifer.  Much of the water evaporates in the desert climate.  Some fallow fields in Newberry Springs are now being readied for production so overdraft pumping is expected to spike.  Much of California's grown alfalfa (and presumably our water) is now being exported to feed China's dairy farms.

October 4, 2014

    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 55% 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, are over!

    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.

Related recent blogs:
Planning Sustainable Water - Community Turning Against Farmers -  9/19/14
Angry Residents Call For Rampdowns And Pumping Tax -  9/26/14


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