Paso Robles vineyard owners want new water district with authority to apportion water and recharge dimishing underground aquifers.
Whether Mark Twain actually said “whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over,” is a matter of debate. When it comes to the availability of water for everyone in California there is little debate. It doesn't exist to meet everyone's needs.
Of major concern in California’s ag-rich region is the ever-diminishing supply of surface and ground water for agricultural uses. Because of legislative and legal battles that have shut off major surface sources of water to farmers, to remain in business farmers are pumping more from underground aquifers.
Too many straws in the ground are sucking dry the aquifers not only available to farmers, but are draining the water sources used by cities and suburban residents. Now a battle wages in the Paso Robles area of Central California, where wineries, grape growers and their suburban neighbors share space in one of California’s more scenic regions.
It is there that vineyard owners and other agricultural interests want to establish a California Water District with the goal of stabilizing the aquifer in the region.
These kinds of battles are predictable given California’s abject failure to realistically address the water needs of nearly 40 million people and an agriculture industry responsible for feeding much of the world. These are the consequences of decades of buckling to fringe environmental group and a lack of real leadership at all levels of government.
If California fails in the next few years to get a handle on water availability with real common sense short-term and long-term solutions, nothing, not even an over-priced bullet train to nowhere, will solve California’s problems.