Over the past 18 months the misinformation regarding California’s drought has been nearly as bad as the drought itself.
From farmers use 80 percent of the state’s water supply to Mitch Brown’s gravel plant off of Road 384 causing East Porterville’s water problems, misinformation has been spread by some people.
Agriculture has taken the biggest public relations hit in this drought, yet we were encouraged to see a poll found most people support farmers getting water to grow their crops. Fact is, ag does not use 80 percent of the state’s water supply. According to the state Department of Water Resources, 200 million acre-feet of water a year on average falls in California. Of that, 100 million acre-feet flow unchecked out to the ocean. Of the 100 million acre-feet left over, roughly half of that is allowed to flow into the ocean, released from dams. That leaves 50 million acre-feet and of that, farmers use about 80 percent, with cities and industries using what’s left.
As to Mitch Brown’s quarry, it has done little to reduce the underground water table in East Porterville. What is different from 40 years ago and the last mega-drought is East Porterville now has a sewer system and instead of all water used being kept in septic lines and leech lines on every person’s property, that water and waste is collected and sent to the City of Porterville’s wastewater treatment plant. Good for the residents of East Porterville, but it means millions of gallons of water a month is no longer being put back into the ground.
There has been far too much misinformation and finger-pointing going on in this drought. Bottom line: a lack of rainfall and snowfall has taken its toll, as well as decisions made over the past eight years to reduce the amount of water sent out of the San Joaquin Delta to farmers in the Central Valley. Those hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water would not only have kept farmers from using the underground water supply, it would have actually helped to recharge the underground supply.