In an appearance on Russia Today’s “RT America,” the California Director for Food and Water Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based environmentalist NGO, Adam Scow, accused Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) of exporting the majority of California’s water in the form of foreign-purchased almonds, then punishing the people during the drought by rationing what’s left.
“It’s a fundamental crisis of governess from the governor and state water board,” Scow said. “In California, we have a state water board that’s in charge of managing and allocating our water rights. Water rights is the system we use to grant cities, farms, other interests the right to use California water. California’s water belongs to all people. It is a public trust resource. However, over the years, California’s water board has simply allocated way too many water rights. And now demand is much higher than the real supply, This has lead to really poor decisions about farming in certain places. In particular, we have seen an almond and pistachio empire spring up in the hottest, driest part of the central valley. Most of these crops are exported. They do not feed Californians. So it actually amounts to a virtual water export of our water overseas.”
“Our almond production has doubled in just the last five years and now we are supplying 80 percent of the world’s almonds,” Scow added.
He explained private citizens, who are responsible for less than 20 percent of all water use in California, are the only ones getting water rationing with potential fines.
“The governor has not yet demanded agricultural or the oil and gas industry, which also is a big water user—he has not required them to make any cutbacks,” he said. “He has solely focused on everyday Californians. So that’s unfair. It’s a double standard. And it’s not going to be adequate to deal with the water crisis.”
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