Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bakersfield, Agriculture and the Green Party, Some Thoughts.

The figure we gave for water costs, industrial and public consumption, was incorrect. What is correct is that Central Valley farms, agribusiness in other words, receive massive subsidies for water use.  In 2004, the taxpayers were subsidizing industrial farms to the tune of $416 million a year according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. (EWG)

The study also found that Central Valley farmers “…..get about one-fifth of all the water used in California, at rates that by any measure are far below market value. In 2002, the average price for irrigation water from the CVP was less than 2 percent what Los Angeles residents pay for drinking water, one-tenth the estimated cost of replacement water supplies, and about one-eighth what the public pays to buy its own water back to restore the San Francisco Bay and Delta.”

Household water costs vary throughout the state:
“At the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which serves 1.3 million customers in 20 cities, including Oakland, the bi-monthly bill is $55.45. In Taft in Kern County, where 16,600 customers are served, the bi-monthly tab is about $26. The city of Santa Monica’s bi-monthly bill is $46.21. In Granite Bay east of Sacramento, it’s $41.92. In Costa Mesa, it’s $51.25, while Laguna Beach customers pay $82. Customers in Santee east of San Diego pay $105 bi-monthly, while those in Chula Vista and National City they pay $86. In Santa Clara County, Felton customers pay $148.84 bi-monthly, and in Aptos the bi-monthly tab is $36.90.”  Capitol  Weekly May 2015

Interestingly enough, as of 2015, water district’s records of individual industrial farms water usage (the Central Valley Project) are not available to the public as they are protected by state law.  See, it’s useful having a political party and legislators that write the law. Here is a pdf from the OECD about water costs in the US.

Richard Mellor
Jason O’Neal

1 comment:

Sean said...

Thank you Jason and Richard for your very interesting talk. Two things jumped out at me from what you said. California was always talked about as the land of milk and honey. It had the great central valley for producing food. It had the large oil resources. And of course it had the gold rush. What else could it want you would think. But look at it now. It is a race between whether the state will be burnt to a cinder as global warming increases or whether it will be drowned by breaking dams, or whether it will be choked to death by gas leaks. And in spite of all the resources capitalism imposes poverty and repression on millions of people. California is an example of how capitalism does not work. Sean O'Torain.