Op-ed by Arthur “Gary” Dorall
Water is one of the two most important compounds needed for man’s and animal’s existence. Obviously, air is the other. Without either we would not exist. Water is so important, but we have taken it for granted. We need it to drink, cook, bathe, sanitation, irrigate our crops, build and provide for our animal herds and fire suppression. With 70% of the earth covered in water, only 3% is potable.
The use and consumption of water in California has been distorted and misrepresented way too much. Of the potable/fresh water we have, 50% is used /consumed/released in the name of the environment and ecology and is dumped in the sea, contrary to what some would like you to believe. A couple years ago, 9 or 26 steel-head fish (depending on what report you read), were inspired to go to the Pacific Ocean by releasing 30,000 acre feet of water (per Lake Tulloch Alliance). Is this getting ridiculous or insane? One of the more intelligent observers suggested he would catch them and drive/deliver them to the sea without dumping all that water. This amount of water would satisfy the needs of 120,000 households of four people, for a year based on EPA estimates. Sorry, this does not include lawns and other outside irrigation. Much of the motivation to dump stored potable water is to “save the Delta Smelt”. This is a non-native, non-sport and non-commercial fish of about 3″ in length. Are we really that stupid or do we just have a corrupted sense of values? This does provide insight into the mentality of certain “conservation” groups which hide behind the labels of “conservationists” and “Wild & Scenic”. The river is already Wild and Scenic – haven’t you noticed? What is left is CONTROL.
Of the remaining 50%, approximately 80 to 85% (40% of the total available), is used for agricultural needs which of course includes pasturing and raising animals for food. There are those that have represented that 90% of available water goes to agriculture – NOT TRUE. One must remember that water is even needed to fill the bellies of vegetarians and Vegans. One blog, “Truth or Drought” suggested that skipping a piece of Beef at one meal, saves 600 gallons of water. According to a local rancher, to raise one head of beef for 205 days to market weight takes approximately 20 to 25 gallons per day. This hardly adds up to 600 gallons for one piece of meat – 8 to 10 oz. More distortions.
Agriculture is one of the biggest and most important clean industries in California which supplies us and most of the other states with food. Agriculture needs water to exist and provides for much employment such as farm workers, processing plant employees, truckers, store clerks, etc. Amador County relies on agriculture as one of our industries.
Water shortage needs in California have been ignored by our representatives in Sacramento, (I’m hesitant to refer to them as “leaders”), for around 32 years in spite of growing needs and growing population. They have yielded to the liberal Enviros such as those in the Foothill Conservancy which presumably waves a banner of “Conservation”. What are they conserving? I forgot that in spite of a declared water shortage, they have somehow manipulated “special” water releases, which they have not relinquished, so they may raft down the Mokelumne River 6 to 9 times per year. The water released for their rafting might serve the needs of 1500 homes here in Amador County. If you examine their list of supporters, most are not residents of Amador or Calvaras County.
This rafting involves releasing about 600 to 900 CFS (cubic feet per second). Keep in mind that a cubic foot of water is about 8 gallons, hence 4800 to 7200 gallons per second. Using an average of 6000 gallons, this equates to about 5,184,000 gallons per day. However, the release must start a day or two ahead to prevent a “tidal wave” and possible damage to flora and fauna along the Mokelumne river and taper off for a day or two thereafter. Based on just 4 days of release, 2 days of rafting and one day before and one day after, that totals to about 21,000,000 gallons for one weekend of rafting multiplied by 6 times per year, 126,000,000 gallons of water dumped from our reservoirs. Add another 63,000,000 gallons if 9 times per season and you will realize what a horrible waste of our water resources. Per a PG&E official, Calif. Fish & Game only required a minimum release of 8 CFS, or about 64 gallons/sec. Not enough for the rafters but it is apparently enough for honest and legitimate environmental purposes.
Oh, did I mention that participants number about 700 per season, using Peter Bell’s numbers, and they pay $75 per head. That’s $52,000.00. Other than the OARS rafting company and Foothill Conservancy, where does this money go? Oh, did I forget to mention that Oars has member representation in the Foothill Conservancy? As the river runs on the border of Amador County and Calavaras County, and they receive none of the $75 fee or an event fee. Do all funds go to a special needs organization? Do they use these funds to file frivolous lawsuits against businesses, community water systems, the county, etc.?
Let’s see if I understand this. We are short of water but an environmental, conservation, non profit organization is partaking of OUR WATER for recreational purposes and making money from OUR WATER while others are being deprived of their water supplies or are being reduced. A member of this same organization stated in a public meeting “…we should stop agricultural growth in Amador County as it uses water” -yeah, we need it for rafting.
How can the Foothill Conservancy be a good neighbor when they are self seeking and are not interested in our needs, present or future. As Carly Fiorina stated, “…California is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology. It’s a tragedy.” It is interesting that people believe George Soros funds the Rose Foundation who in turn reportedly funds the Foothill Conservancy. Give that much thought. “He who controls the water, controls the people”.