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Water, water, neverywhere…. February 18, 2010

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

California has perpetual battles over its limited amounts of water. Snow or rain only falls for about six months, usually midOctober to mid-April. The south, with LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and all those millions in their suburbs wield political clout either through controlling the Legislature or through voter approval of propositions. They are in a drier climate than the north. The Central Valley and other agricultural areas (Imperial Valley being another) fight the cities or the environmentalists who want to preserve some waters for rivers and lakes and the woldlife that rely on them.

Now Senator Feinstein, originally from ecofriendly San Francisco, is trying to push for more water for agriculture. Coincidentally she gets lots of contributions from agribusiness. I have a funbdamental issue with a lot of California agriculture because it relies on limited water and yet many very water-intensive crops are grown here. Rice and alfalfa fit that bill, yet large areas are devoted to them (Asparagus is another, yet is only a truck crop so I’ll will not highlight those growers). I grew up in one state, Arkansas, that competes with California for the rice market. Another neighbor state, Louisiana, also grows a lot of rice. There is over twice as much rain in those states and they have the huge Mississippi River to pull water from. Why grow rice (or alfalfa) in semi-desert?

The Imperial Valley is out and out desert and has totally relied on water from the Colorado River. With the populations in Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado requiring more and no longer selling “surplus” to California agribusiness, Imperial Valley has tapped more into the water sent south to LA. Why grow strawberries, tomatoes, and lettuce in the desert>

Feinstein joins Boxer as a senator who will no longer get my vote come re-election time.



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