To the Editor: Urges GSA to take action

It is easy to show, using consumption figures based on agricultural acreage and UC Davis-supplied consumption per acre for pistachios and alfalfa, that ag is the major consumer here in the IWV. In fact, it is easy to show that ag consumes about 2.5-3 times the amount of recharge. Using these numbers in conjunction with the state law that demands a sustainable water system NLT 2040, it is an astounding phenomenon to observe that the GSA being formed under the auspices of the Kern County Supervisors has had little if any real mention of reducing the overdraft.

The supervisors have even, after receiving criticism from the state, failed to establish a moratorium on new wells. They can’t possibly believe that their current procedures, continuing to ignore the increasing consumption of ag as the pistachio trees mature, will have the remotest chance of establishing any “sustainability” of the IWV aquifer.

There has now been a “water manager” selected. My question: to manage what? Even if we could zero out the ag consumption right now, we would probably be short of obtaining a sustainable supply without finding some way to import some water or produce some draconian methods for further conservation of water.

Several studies have implied that importing water is problematical and at best will require a lot of time and money to implement. Meanwhile, the people assembled to effect a solution apparently believe that the deadline for establishing a sustainable supply is a date on a piece of paper. This ignores the physics involved in the continuing overdraft of the aquifer. Those physics don’t care what deadline you put on paper.

Instead of going ahead with the needed significant consumption reduction, the assembled group is wasting more time trying to come up with an estimate of how much water is presently in the overdrafted aquifer. While that information would provide useful data, placing it as a prerequisite to action to “mitigate the overdraft” is at best flawed logic. How much water is in the aquifer is not the problem. The problem is that we are taking more out than is coming in, and that process will ultimately lead to the destruction of the IWV. That process needs to be stopped ASAP.

The current assemblage of people supposedly charged with producing a sustainable water system have found more ways to delay and sidetrack significant and direct action. They have been arguing over all sorts of political “rice-bowl” points, by-laws and meeting protocols and have generated more alphabet-soup-titled groups and now argue about what group is responsible for what generic area.

None of the meeting agendas that I’ve seen have yet to use the words “mitigation of the overdraft.” But the most recent focus was on obtaining grant money, which will be spent furthering their current unspoken policy of avoiding direct action to stop the overdraft.

Stuart Fields

Story First Published: 2017-11-03