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The Subsidence Myth

Don't get us wrong. Subsidence is not a myth. The myth is why there is subsidence.

Oct 25, 2018

George Skelton, Columnist, L.A. Times:  "First, the canals aren’t working right because they’ve sunk. And the land has sunk because farmers have over-pumped groundwater, causing major subsidence.  Growers caused their own problem. Now they want the whole state to pony up to solve it."

Don't get us wrong.  Subsidence is not a myth.  The myth is why there is subsidence.  George Skelton of the L.A. Times believes farmers are to blame.  We disagree.  Sure, farmers pumped water from the underground aquifers and the land sunk.  But why did they pump?  They pumped because of the continuous taking of water from the San Joaquin Valley to deliver for fish in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, namely smelt and salmon.  This was a human policy decision of the water bureaucrats appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board.  

As farmers received less and less water over the past 25-years they had to rely more and more on their underground water.  Were they just supposed to stop farming?  California law says the water under their farms is theirs.  They used it.  They didn't want to use it.  It's expensive to pump.  But they had no choice.

The blame for the sinking of the land belongs with the State Water Resources Control Board who are appointed by the Governor who is elected by the people of California.  Therefore the State of California is responsible for the damages incurred by the subsidence.  The State should pay for the repairs. 

There are a lot of things in the Prop 3 Water Bond and you'll have to make up your mind about whether you give it your support.  It's $8.9 billion.  All we know is that the $750-million in Prop 3 for canal repair due to subsidence is justified.  Skelton also argues that the State shouldn't be responsible for repairing the canals because they are a Federal project.  We disagree.  The State policies damaged the Federal canals and the State is responsible.  

The subsidence myth is that farmers are to blame for this.  They are not.


Skelton: No state oversight on spending $8.9B…

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