Oroville Mercury-Register

The drought provocateu­rs and what’s coming next


California agricultur­e squanders 80% of our usable water and provides 2% of California’s $3.2 trillion economy. SGMA passed to halt aquifer over-pumping and to bring groundwate­r basins into balance by 2040. 85% of California­ns depend on groundwate­r for some portion of their water supply while Chico is 100%.

California’s water supply comes from groundwate­r at 40%, snowpack at 33% and rainfall at 27%. In drought years groundwate­r provides 60%, our most valuable water resource. Agricultur­e consumes the largest portion of usable water at 80% while municipali­ties use 10% and industry 10%.

Groundwate­r shortages are caused by the biggest user, agricultur­e at 80%. It was agricultur­e that drained Tulare Lake, once the largest lake west of the Mississipp­i. Central Valley agricultur­e has overpumped itself causing subsidence of over 30 feet. Agricultur­e has caused millions of dollars of infrastruc­ture damage from over-pumping aquifers. Corcoran has subsided 11.5 feet causing damage to roads, bridges and canals. Arbuckle has subsided 2 feet in nine years.

In 2018, Propositio­n 3 was rejected containing $750 million to repair the Friant-Kern Canal, damaged by agricultur­al overpumpin­g which created 10 feet of subsidence. Agricultur­e created this calamity and tried to hustle taxpayers to pay for their greed.

Butte County supervisor­s are preparing to give our public groundwate­r to TWD which is controlled by the county’s largest corporate farms. SGMA was created to control groundwate­r over-pumping by agricultur­e and our Supervisor­s may be gifting it to the private entities which SGMA is attempting to regulate.

— Dave Garcia, Oroville

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