Sep 22 2014
Water-The third Rail Part XXXIX Too Little Too Late for East Porterville
Two separate articles in the 9/21/14 UT are remarkable for their casual
approach to the on-going drought. The $7.5 Billion water bond is too little,
too late. If approved by the voters, none of it will address the current
drought. Vickie Yorbas’ well in East Porterville is dry, and no one is
Yes, there is recycling in the bond, but it is decades away.
Yes, California will begin to regulate groundwater, but here is what is
being said within the groundwater industry. “It’s too late. Prior to my
agency USBR and CAL DWR building the Central Valley Project, they used
groundwater to grow the crops. Areas of the valley settled up to 30 ft. from
the groundwater withdraw which slowed with the addition of our surface water
supply system. This next series of major pumping is going to result in
another round of regional ground subsidence that will show up over the next
5-10 years. And the laws won’t go into effect early enough to save the
public wells that are currently running dry because of the farm pumping.
They are drilling deeper out there! Sad situation…” –Jeffrey Farrar,
Geotechnical Engineer Retired.
And this comment by Robin Tremallo, Technical Data Coordinator at Edwards
Aquifer Authority on groundwater regulation: “It will take a very long time
to get all the water well users into compliance. The agency I work for has
been at this for over 18 years for a single aquifer, and we are still
finding users that have not come into compliance. The good news is that
we’re finding fewer and fewer non-compliant individuals, companies, and
irrigators. The bad news is that we’re still finding them. We’ve had shot
guns leveled at us, dogs let loose on us, and locked out of various places,
with the sentiment being that they don’t have to let us anywhere near any
wells they may or may not have (untrue). So, I say good luck to California,
and hope they fare better in a more timely fashion than we have here. A
quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “Whiskey is for drinking and water is
for fighting over. I think Californians will come to understand that quote
So the legislators in Sacramento marched up the hill, declared victory with
the passing of the $7.5 Billion water bond so it will be on the ballot in
November and hope to achieve groundwater regulation with the passage of a
bill. Then they marched back down the hill doing high fives for all of the
great bipartisanship shown.
Meanwhile California suffers from the effects of an on-going drought that
could extend for years. All of this smoke and fury in Sacramento can be
compared to Abraham Lincolns first General of the Army who made a great
show of marching and field exercises while the Souths army under General
Lee was advancing into the North in victory after victory.
What California needs is a General Grant to replace the leadership in
Sacramento, just as Lincoln replaced McClellan. Sadly, the prognosis is not
good. There appears to be no person or entity that has the political courage
to help Vickie Yorba, 94, in the picture in the San Diego UT standing next
to a water tank in front of her home in East Porterville, where she has
lived for 66 years. Hers is one of 290 East Porterville wells that ran dry
in the states historic drought.
Perhaps one way to get the attention of those that have the political power
to effect change would be to turn off the water to their homes until they
figure out a solution that will work for all Californians. Let them
experience what Vickie Yorba currently has to do to get water to her home.
About Alumni at the University of Montana