California has already implemented the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a major part of the United Nations sustainable development goals. This law claims that natural groundwater is a “shared” resource owned and controlled by the state.
California farmers no longer own the water under their land and cannot make decisions on how best to preserve their crops during times of drought. This is the first time that rural well owners will be required to measure and report their pumping practices. In the past, the state tracked electricity consumption and used aerial photos to monitor how much water was being extracted from underneath private farmland. Now the state is taking full control.
At least 140 groundwater basins will be monitored by the state to ensure the sustainability of groundwater supplies over the long haul. These new controls will limit the amount of water that farmers can pump from underground aquifers. By controlling the amount of water farmers can pump, the state will be able to engineer crop loss, food shortages and famine, while directing water resources where they want them to go. Farmers will have to plan their fields accordingly and limit their crop production because their access to water is about to be monitored and constricted by the authoritarian California government.
Some regions, like the Pajaro Valley, already rely exclusively on underground water sources -- and the government's management of them. Farms in the region are dotted with up to nine hundred water meters. These green cylinders are welded onto well pipes, where they monitor the amount of water that goes out to the fields of lettuce, artichokes, strawberries and other crops. A team of water management officers walk through the fields on a daily basis to measure flow rates and water consumption at eighty different sites. The government bills farmers $246 per acre-foot of water. Over the next four years, they plan to increase the price to $346 an acre-foot.
Regardless, the demand for these crops will continue through wet and dry seasons, so the amount of water consumption really doesn’t matter. The government, now claiming ownership over the groundwater, will continue to raise the price of the water to profit and control a natural resource that once flowed freely. Under the new law, water management practices will expand from Pajaro Valley to the rest of the state, as the government finds a way to be a parasite, control farming practices and take advantage of droughts.
In fact, farm owners now pay hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars for water that used to be free. Dick Peixoto is the owner of Lakeside Organic Gardens, a 3,000-acre farm that produces forty-five different types of organic vegetables. He says, “It’s not unusual for us to have between 30 to 40 bills for water show up on the same day, in a big brown manila envelope. That’s a hard check to sign.” He says he pays nearly $1 million annually for water that he used to pump from the ground freely. Even though rainwater helps refill the aquifer naturally, he now has to pay the corrupt and failed California government for it.