California is known for many odd or stringent regulations, but a new law signed in by Governor Brown has many people angry, as it regulates water use in the state and imposes strict fines for those who violate it:
Governor Jerry Brown is retiring but not before he passes a few draconian laws as parting gifts for California. Two bills were signed into law on Thursday of last week to “help California be better prepared for future droughts and the effects of climate change.”
The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, according to their wording, and not just for use in times of crisis. To make a long story short, now that these bills are law, it’s illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry in the same day because you’ll exceed your “ration.”
Here’s the wording of the new laws.
Senate Bill 606 establishes a “governing body” to oversee all water suppliers, both private and public and will require extensive paperwork from those utility companies.
Assembly Bill 1668 is where it gets personal. This establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years.
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
If you’re wondering how the government would know how much water your family is using, the utility providers will be obligated to rat you out of face massive fines. And they’re encouraged to spy in all sorts of creative ways. They “shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.”
Now, if you’re wondering where I get my assertion that you can’t shower and do laundry on the same day, here’s some math:
An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water
A load of laundry uses about 40 gallons of water
A bathtub holds 80 to 100 gallons of water
A dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water
There are also standards to be established for outdoor use such as landscaping, caring for livestock, and gardening, but those numbers don’t seem to be available at this time. Maybe Californians just get to wait in suspense to see if their chickens are allowed to have water on the same day as their vegetables. Back when I lived in California, we were only “allowed” to water our gardens two times per week, which, in that heat, as you can imagine, didn’t lead to very productive gardens.
Farmers on a larger scale will have to jump through numerous hoops and create water management plans which must then be approved by the people in suits because obviously, they’ll know more about the needs of crops and livestock than the farmers will
Oh, and don’t worry, rich people. There will be “provisions for swimming pools, spas, and other water features.” So you can still have your pretty fountains and pools while the rest of the peons take 2 showers a week. One might wonder if ‘variances” will apply to the wealthy for their landscaping needs.
“The State Water Resources Control Board, which will oversee local agencies’ progress, will also consider possible “variances” for some districts that need additional allowances due to specific local circumstances.”
Both Brown and his most-likely successor, Gavin Newsom, want to spend $17 billion to build a tunnel that will bring water from resource-rich Northern California down to bone-dry Southern California. This means, even the parts of California that DO have water will be restricted in its use. (source)
The text of the law itself imposes stiff penalties on those who violate its provisions. For individuals, the penalty is $1000 per day. For businesses, it is $10,000 per day.
These are stiff penalties, and the purpose extends well beyond water conservation (more on this later). However, what must be addressed is the reality of the water crisis that is facing the Western United States as well as the world.
In July 2016, National Geographic magazine did a special about declining water resources around the world, for due to years of mismanagement, abuse, and poor agricultural as well as civil practices, the amount of available fresh water has drastically lessened to the point that it is driving political and civil crises:
As regions and nations run short of water, Damania says, economic growth will decline and food prices will spike, raising the risk of violent conflict and waves of large migrations. Unrest in Yemen, which heavily taps into groundwater and which experienced water riots in 2009, is rooted in a water crisis. Experts say water scarcity also helped destabilize Syria and launch its civil war. Jordan, which relies on aquifers as its only source of water, is even more water-stressed now that more than a half-million Syrian refugees arrived. (source)
It is true that oil runs the world economic machine. However, without water the people who run the machine will die and quickly. Therefore, water precedes oil in importance.
In the USA alone, water has been an ongoing issue, especially in states west of the mississippi River. California is probably within that the most serious case because of her agricultural industry plus the largest population of any state at 36 million, or just over 10% of the total US population. California’s troubles are exacerbated because the state is a large part desert and the state’s natural water resources are few and must come from other western states such as Colorado. However, Colorado is also suffering because her water supplies, which come from the Colorado river as well as underground resources supply other states too and are being depleted at an equally fast rate:
Groundwater comes from aquifers—spongelike gravel and sand-filled underground reservoirs—and we see this water only when it flows from springs and wells. In the United States we rely on this hidden—and shrinking—water supply to meet half our needs, and as drought shrinks surface water in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, we rely on groundwater from aquifers even more. Some shallow aquifers recharge from surface water, but deeper aquifers contain ancient water locked in the earth by changes in geology thousands or millions of years ago. These aquifers typically cannot recharge, and once this “fossil” water is gone, it is gone forever—potentially changing how and where we can live and grow food, among other things.
A severe drought in California—now approaching four years long—has depleted snowpacks, rivers, and lakes, and groundwater use has soared to make up the shortfall. A new report from Stanford University says that nearly 60 percent of the state’s water needs are now met by groundwater, up from 40 percent in years when normal amounts of rain and snow fall.
Relying on groundwater to make up for shrinking surface water supplies comes at a rising price, and this hidden water found in California’s Central Valley aquifers is the focus of what amounts to a new gold rush. Well-drillers are working overtime, and as Brian Clark Howard reported here last week, farmers and homeowners short of water now must wait in line more than a year for their new wells.
In most years, aquifers recharge as rainfall and streamflow seep into unpaved ground. But during drought the water table—the depth at which water is found below the surface—drops as water is pumped from the ground faster than it can recharge. As Howard reported, Central Valley wells that used to strike water at 500 feet deep must now be drilled down 1,000 feet or more, at a cost of more than $300,000 for a single well. And as aquifers are depleted, the land also begins to subside, or sink.
Unlike those in other western states, Californians know little about their groundwater supply because well-drilling records are kept secret from public view, and there is no statewide policy limiting groundwater use. State legislators are contemplating a measure that would regulate and limit groundwater use, but even if it passes, compliance plans wouldn’t be required until 2020, and full restrictions wouldn’t kick in until 2040. California property owners now can pump as much water as they want from under the ground they own.
California’s Central Valley isn’t the only place in the U.S. where groundwater supplies are declining. Aquifers in the Colorado River Basin and the southern Great Plains also suffer severe depletion. Studies show that about half the groundwater depletion nationwide is from irrigation. Agriculture is the leading use of water in the U.S. and around the world, and globally irrigated farming takes more than 60 percent of the available freshwater. (source)
California produces 13% of all agricultural products for the USA. However, California produces up to or over 90% of some products such as peaches, walnuts, pomegranites, and raisins. By raw numbers alone, California’ earns an income of $47 billion per year from agricultural products, of which the second runner up is Iowa at $27 billion and then Texas at $23.5 billion, meaning that California earns almost as much as both Iowa and Texas combined from farming.
If the situation here sounds similar to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, it is correct because is was due to poor agricultural practices in combination with a drought that brought about the farm crisis and the migration to California to alleviate the same problem. The Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains was discovered and finally tapped by 1950, thus alleviating a part of the food issue, as well as California being developed at that time for food production and still having access to a large amount of water. However, the same problems of mismanagement and abuse have brought about the same condition as in the past, except this time without another resource to go to.
Therefore, there is something to be said about California needing to regulate its water use. This is a serious problem. However, there is going to be no real answer to this problem because, like with many problems in America, is is already becoming politicized.
From the law text, one will note that the law offers to “Provide flexibility to communities and regions in meeting the targets” and “void placing an undue hardship on communities that have implemented conservation measures or taken actions to keep per capita water use low.”
This is meaningless rhetoric, as it explains nothing other than certain “communities” will be allowed to have “flexibility”- which is not defined here- in how the policies are implemented.
I have a prediction for how this will work out, based on past experience.
First, the wealthy as well as the seriously impoverished classes- meaning the Silicon Valley people and the large numbers of poor (and many of them illegally arrived) people from Mexico in the inner cities as well as the largely black ghettos- will remain untouched. The rich either will pay the fines (because $1000 a day is meaningless to a billionaire or multi-millionaire) or have an exemption from them just as Google pays almost no taxes. The largely Mexican and black poor classes will also be spared or given some form of an “exception” or “subsidy” because, as somebody will likely argue, it would be “racist” to target “underprivileged” communities.
The communities that are going to get hit the worst- and the one’s which the bill seems to be targeting- are the California farmers themselves. They have fought for years with the state over water rights, given that they produce such a large quantity of food and as such need water for their plants.
A farmer cannot afford a $10,000 fine per day. Most people cannot, but farmers, while many are subsidized by the government (especially over the production of major commodity crops including corn and soy), even one $10,000 fine can ruin an entire farm. Many California farmers have been farming for generations and they are not about to lose their family’s inheritance over a bureaucratic regulation on water usage. The farmers will, if need be, reduce food production or allow fields that have been planted to die before risking a violation of the water regulations.
This will inevitably result in a decline in food production, which in turn will drive prices of food up. It does not affect imported or specialty commodities as much, but rather “staple” foods. Starbucks Coffee or Ghirardelli Chocolate does not have to worry, but any producer or vendor of grains, milk and cheese, vegetables, fruit, or all of the essentials that one needs to live such as ConAgra or Wal-Mart, will have to increase prices because the farmers will need to charge a higher price in order to live. The exception to this would be if the government intervened and set price controls forcing farmers to sell at a pre-set price, which would then drive down the farmer’s income. If price controls are placed, the farmers will still not produce as much because the investment into planting larger plots and the finances needed to maintain and grow the plants could jeopardize the financial solvency of the farm itself.
California is in a situation here where there is no good answer. Water usage must be reduced, but its heavy and over-concentrated population, location in a desert, and position as a premier producer of agricultural goods forces a large amount of water to maintain its economy.
Politicians cannot be expected to improve the situation for the people, because if anything the water crisis makes for an excellent political opportunity for government intervention, even in spite of how the government regulations regarding the water, while needed to a degree, are not going to address the farming issue but rather look to the farmers as a source of income through extortion-type fines. Just as politicians from over a decade ago are still talking about how “we need more jobs” in reference to the financial crisis that began in 2008, politicians will in ten years from now, even as the water situation worsens, say “we need real solutions to the water issue” without doing anything because it allows for a few to continue to milk the cow of an easy taxpayer-based salary even while the cow itself is dying from thirst.
The issue of water is also tied to the greater problem of eugenics. UN Agenda 21, which discusses “goals” for the 21st century, speaks of “implement(ing) urgent direct preventive measures in drylands that are vulnerable but not yet affected, or only slightly desertified drylands, by introducing (i) improved land-use policies and practices for more sustainable land productivity; (ii) appropriate, environmentally sound and economically feasible agricultural and pastoral technologies; and (iii) improved management of soil and water resources;”. The words sound nice, but what does this actually look like?
In practice, it means a further regulation of water by the government to the point where water will be used as a weapon by those in power against those under their rule in order to control them.
Water is more powerful than bullets or oil. You can’t eat bullets or oil. You need water to live.
In the name of “conservation,” water management policy will be used to increasingly spy on the private lives of people and regulate their behavior. Since water is a consumable resource, the government will in following with the tradition of eugenics in the USA use “conservation” as a way to either force people directly to have less children or provide penalties in the form of fines and restrictions on utility access to those who have more children than what they are told they should have. It is Chinese-style “one child policy” but with an American twist, for the Americans generally eschew direct violence at first contact and prefer to use “law” and “legality” as a shield to their actions, after which if they are still disobeyed they are enforced with state-sanctioned brutality to the veritably audible tunes of Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud To Be An American” while the rest of the nation cheers in “patriotic” union as the government mercilessly crushes a “law breaker.”
How does a person deal with a situation like this? Some will say to leave California, but many cannot.
For now, California does allow for rainwater collection. This should be used, as the law for now applies to public utilities only.
Men also need to embrace another concept, which is the idea of doing more with less, and using that which one needs.
It is true that resource usage is tied to economic productivity. However, at the same time, America is also known for being highly wasteful with her resources, abundant in her creativity but lacking in efficiency. This is a social problem in the USA.
These water laws are, as noted, highly problematic. However, they are not going to disappear because the water problem itself is not going away for scientific, economic, and political reasons. One cannot expect to fight all three groups and win, but neither can everybody flee to somewhere other than California.
What needs to happen is that individual Americans need to take responsibility for their own needs. This means using what they need, living more simply, and wasting as little as possible.
Americans are accustomed to abundance, but that has been changing for a while and will continue to. For most of world history, only a select number of wealthy people could live with the wealth the average American possesses, and even among the poorest, they still live better than people in many parts of the world. As I have noted before, the lowest per capita income in the USA is in Wheeler County, GA with an average of $1,355 per month or $16,267 per year, and yet this makes such a person richer than the average Mexican, whose average income is a mere $10,116 per year. This still does not compare with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, whose average incomes are so low they are nearly at the levels of the sub-Saharan nations of Africa.
Material wealth is good, but it is not absolutely necessary. Spiritual wealth precedes material wealth, and to that material wealth must be spent wisely.
In the future, the man who is able to manage his resources and reduce his dependency as much as possible on public utilities and other luxuries of modern life will be the most successful, because the difference in income he is able to save will he then be able to use to leverage himself into a job, business, or investment that will earn him a return of material wealth.
However, the time to start working towards such a way of life is now, since in the coming years it will not be done for mere intelligence, but for necessity as prices begin to rise and more income will by necessity be spent on essentials such as food and water rather than luxury.
While the water crisis is a real problem and does require solutions, and while there are no good solutions, the matter is that the problem is less about water, but about those who would seek to use the problems caused by water issues to push eugenics, depopulation, and increased control over the lives of the common man in their pursuit of absolute power with no moral authority to be accountable to.