California Water

April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Every time I go to California, I marvel at the lush green lawns, the gorgeous golf courses, vegetable crops, and fruit trees – all meticulously well-tended and growing green -- maybe not anymore.

Governor Jerry Brown of California has mandated a 25% statewide reduction in water use. After 4 years of severe drought, it’s time to do something. Farmers’ water has already been rationed. They are getting only 20% of the water they want. Even in wet years, they came up short, receiving only 45% of what they need. The Governor says that farmers have already been punished enough. 500,000 crop acres were left fallow last year. Farmers have already had water diverted to protect fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Everyone doesn’t agree with the Governor. Adam Scow, the California Director of Food and Water Watch said, “Everybody is going to have to do their part. What about the guys using all the water – the farmers? Governor, you’re not asking them to do their part. It’s dishonest.”

Haven’t we had droughts before in California? Yes – many. When Jerry Brown was Governor before – back in the 70s – they had a drought and he demanded a cut in the use of water then. Kevin Star at the University of California recently said, “Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live in California.” When you have 40 million people and a limited supply of water, you can’t keep “watering the lawns and taking long showers,” according to Governor Brown.

The fact is the farmers are using 80% of the water. I don’t think the other citizens of that state are going to allow their beautiful lawns to turn ugly brown. Unfortunately, the urban citizens have the votes. We will watch this thing play out. Maybe farmers could shift to crops that require less water. But, unless we get a lot of rain in the next year or two, your grocery basket may have fruits and vegetables from Mexico or South America.

This dispute should remind all of us how precious water is.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on- line to Have a great weekend. Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.