I attended Assembly Woman Joan Buchanan's presentation on California's Water Woes Wednesday night. The presentation was held upstairs at the San Ramon Library. The turnout wasn't as big as I expected.
There were about 50-100 people, mostly in that same age range. There was more gray hair than a clowder (I looked it up) of silver tabby cats. I don't know why younger people aren't more interested in our water woes. They will suffer more long-term from it than us old folks.
Most of the presentation focused on water rights and water allocation and not what individuals can do to save water. As you can see in the chart below, state water is overallocated by as much as 8x the amount available.
Rene Wilber emailed me last week about a leaking hose at California High School that nobody in the athletic department took very seriously. The guys she spoke to just brushed her off . Rene told me, "I think if I were a man he would have just responded with 'Yeah dude, we need to get a new hose.'"
Some of my readers might remember that Rene was the person I accused of distributing anti-Walmart flyers under the name "Ganz Frank." The name was just a play on words, with the German word Ganz meaning totally and Frank meaning frank.
Well I finally apologised to Renae. I wanted to "expose" the mysterious Frank Ganz, but I can see now that it wasn't Renae. I gave Renae my lawn mower and edger last year, which she "took as a truce."
So what does all this digression about Renae Wilber have to do with Water Woes? Hold on I'm almost there. I brought up Rene's experience during the Q & A session of the Water Woes meeting.
Assembly Woman Buchanan went on about how so much water is wasted by big Agriculture, which gets 80% of the water but is only 2% of the state's GDP (I was surprised it is that low), Cal High's leaky hose seems small in comparison.
So I asked how much good it does to cut wasting water like that when so much is being wasted across the State. Buchanan said "It's both," but added "Home conservation alone isn't enough."
Buchanan is for increasing recycling, which the Dublin San Ramon Services District has been doing for the last ten years. I thought I saw Ed Duarte, one of DSRSD's Directors, on the other side of the room, but he left before the Q&A session.
Buchanan believes desalination of seawater is necessary and the new Water Bond (Proposition 1) will fund a desal plant in San Diego.
I spoke to Buchanan after the meeting to ask about home rain water capture and noticed a small bottle of Arrowhead Water on the podium. "Why do we allow them to steal our water and sell it back to us?"
"Water rights," she answered. Bert Michalczyk, Head of DSRSD, also mentioned that at another meeting. Water is a commodity, but it should be a necessity.
When rain falls on my property, I consider that rain mine. I own it and store it in tanks on my property. I'd be willing to give up my rights to the water that falls on my house and yard, and empty my water barrels, if so-called "water rights" were abolished throughout California.
Nobody should own the State's water rights. A leaky hose at Cal High can be fixed. In fact Rene later wrote back that she called the Superintendent of Schools, and the leaky hose was replaced right away. But a mega-corporation like Nestle, bottling our groundwater during a drought to sell it back to us for profit, is just plain wrong.