Water Strife in California: Rally Set for March 18; Petitions Filed, Fed Judge Rules for Fish Over People
March 16, 2014 • 4:23PM

Legal and protest actions are escalating in parched California, where strife does nothing to relieve water scarcity. The crisis can be solved only with taking emergency and long-term measures, through reinstating a Glass-Steagall credit regime, starting a crash "Nuclear NAWAPA" program, and meantime, banning biofuels, fracking and the other Wall Street/empire con jobs.

See LaRouchePAC's:Texas & California Drought: the Crisis & the Solution

On March 18, a Water Rally is set for Firebaugh, in the Central Valley, to be addressed by state and local lawmakers. (11 am, at the Andrew Firebaugh Community Center & Rodeo Grounds). Host is the Central California Irrigation District. A prior rally was held Jan. 16 by the Latino Water Commission and the NAACP. Protestors charge the State Water Resources Control Board with implementing measures that could eliminate water delivery for agricultural irrigation through 2015.

Local officials who administer the water (called "Exchange Contractors") had an emergency community meeting March 12. They castigated the State Board. They complained about the contingency that scarce water will be allocated for municipal and industrial users, and not for agriculture. "There is a crisis," said the executive director of the Exchange Contractors (officially, the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority). "The Water Board is trying to take the water. It's being done on a state board level."

To try to prevent this, a "Temporary Urgency Change Petition" has been filed with the California Water Board, by the two main agriculture water entities, the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. The Exchange Contractors group intends to file their own long-term plan proposal with the State Water Board by March 21.

Officials at the emergency meeting drew out the economic disaster underway. South of the Delta (of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers), lack of water means that 700,000 to 800,000 acres of farmland will be fallowed in 2014; if it happens again in 2015, the land is ruined. Agriculture accounts for 48% of all jobs in the region. The State Water Board is talking about allowing a 5% (of allocated) water delivery, but farmers say, this can't work at all.

A Councilman and dairy farmer Scott Silveira, told the Merced Sun-Star, milk producers can resort to buying all their feed from elsewhere, etc., but, "Do you know what that means to you at the grocery store? That's $12-15/gallon milk. That's $10-15/pound cheese. That's $10-15/pound butter..."

Slimy Bush/Cheney Judge Rules for Fish Over People

In the midst of this, on March 13, a California Federal Appeals Court upheld Federal guidelines that limit water diversions south of the Delta, in the name of protecting the Delta smelt. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a lower court decision, which would have allowed more water to go south.

Last year and this, more than 900,000 acre feet of water that could have been sent from the Delta to the two major aqueducts going south were withheld to protect the finger size, worthless, uneatable fish, the Delta smelt, which will die off anyway over the next few years since it is not evolutionarily fit to survive.

Of note, this decision was led by Judge Jay Bybee, whose previous crimes include—while serving as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Cheney/Bush Justice Department—having authored the memos justifying the torture of prisoners during the Iraq war. Water-boarding was the favorite method of torture that Bybee defended with multiple memos, spitting on not only U.S. law, but also international law.