Tag Archives: Water War

cedar city water grabbers

In the grip of a water grabber

Cedar City Utah’s, Central Iron County Water Conservancy District Pine Valley Water Supply and Conservation Project is worth our thinking about before we go out and cause all kinds of irreversible natural world hell. Southern Utah is one of the fastest growing regions of the United States and I mean horizontal suburban sprawling housing projects that are being thrown up just as fast as a hammer swinging beer drinking football fan can manage. Water is a vital, scarce, hard to come by necessity out here, every squirrel, rattlesnake and icemaking machine from the Mexican border to the Boise, Idaho needs more water.

To be on a planning commission, supervisory board, or to become mayor means you have got to talk fast and find answers to impossible problems. You can’t win without support, and you can’t win support promising to shutdown businesses, slow down growth, and throw your voters out of work. Until now there has been enough water for Cedar City to get into the mess they are in today.

Backwaters of Baker, Nevada

Iron County Water Conservancy is doing its dead level best, but push has come to shove. Seventy miles northwest is located Pine Valley. I been through this region, land is owned by the Federal Government. A proposal to pump groundwater from Pine Valley back to Cedar City is under consideration. That’s all you need to know is that otherwise good civil servants in cahoots with real estate developers want to go from Iron County up to Beaver County and grab the water from a pristine untouched immaculately conceived ancient aquifer. I’m am nothing if not objective, fair and balanced and through and through unbiased.

Let’s wrap our heads around other solutions. Before we begin you should understand taking another track could come back to bite or sting a politician right in the butt end of the ballot box. Best we understand reality before casting about for solutions.

I haven’t crunched the numbers but by aerial photographic investigation it is plain as day that there are a few thousand farms that are going to need to surrender their rights back to Cedar City for the common good.

Water Rights Reassigned

Rescinding a farmer’s water rights is like coming home drunk, lipstick on your collar, a night out two-stepping at the local honky tonk, knowing full well that there are no undiscovered artesian gushers or marriages that can’t end in divorce.

First thing we might want to try is just conserving what water we use now. That rankles contemporary Americans, “I ain’t sacrificing one single inch of my entitled ass for you and that stink eye you are trying to water shame me with.”

Mayor Mobile

That’s one vote losing suggestion right there. Second, every means of water conservation is going to be required to be fully exhausted to slowdown the flow of water from every home and business in or near Cedar City. Low flow showerheads, low volume toilets, drought tolerant landscaping, condemning golf courses, and installing recycled water commercial carwash facilities. That all sounds like some kind of nightmare liberal utopian gateway to socialism. I know, I know, but time has come.

Mule, Jeep or on horseback

Baker, Nevada is a town of 56 good souls. Men and women from this community sit at the foot of Wheeler Peak home to the Great Basin National Park. Not that you are supposed to know or even understand how underground aquifers can all be interconnected, but now that you do know you might just be wondering if Cedar City pumping water out of Pine Valley might potentially cause harm just ever so slightly west to the aquifer beneath Snake Valley? Look at that, just like that, those Cedar City water grabbers have put at risk all that is right and mighty in White Pine County, Nevada.

Wheeler Peak, Nevada 13,065 Above Sea Level

Water grabbing is a big, tangled mess, makes Los Angeles freeway gridlock seem like an almost solvable problem compared to this venomous pit of Great Basin water moccasins. Men, real estate developers and ranch hands are wanton creatures and know more about a 12-gauge shotgun than they do about modern-day birth control.

Drought has the Southwest by the neck. Our swelling population, all the booming communities have arrived just in time for a climate emergency civilization changing reckoning. Business friendly politicians are about to leap into rhetorical obfuscation and pretzel misshaped solutions even the dirtiest devils will regard as even harder to scrub off than a tattoo.

Downtown Baker on a busy day

Timidity will buy time, but it won’t get you what you don’t have. Crystalline materials, powders called metal organic frameworks, can now harvest water vapor from the air. This device comes from Yaghi Laboratory at UC Berkeley. This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air, and enough water each day to supply each and every happy home in Cedar City.

Lithium mines, geothermal electrical generating stations, Gigfactories, and for the love of God and all of creation you mean to tell me that there is a thing called a solar powered residential water maker in our future? I know it’s hard, but this is where our struggle to coexist with the finite resources found on earth have brought us to. So, dear Cedar City water grabbers, deal with it.

We Don’t Drink the Water, We Take the Water

The Lightness of Neoliberal Being
The Lightness of Neoliberal Being

 

It may well be a mistake to read The Sixth Extinction. I’m susceptible to dour outlooks. Rather prefer a cheery point of view. Once in my Haight-Ashbury days my cosmic optimism came psychedelically amplified.

Replacing countercultural adventurism for this four decade long experiment in neoliberal economics is morphing into a rolling planetary disaster.

Case in point is the Loon Star State of Texas going bat crap crazy. Detention centers in abandoned Walmart Stores? People in Texas if you are going to be deluded do it Texas style and go King Sized.

Last Tuesday’s election Alberta, Canada tosses out their 44 year old rightwing for some newfangled progressive adventure. No wonder Texas is frightened and I’m tickled ‘commi-pink’.

Then, last night David Cameron and the City of London have got Scotland so worked up by their rapacious behavior that they birthed a full-on secessionist impulse among people that were once known for manufacturing fuddy-duddy woolen products and barrel aged booze. Good going boys. The Torres (conservatives) may well rule in Britain, but it may turn out to be a vastly diminished kingdom that they are left to despoil.

California’s drought has got everyone’s attention. With 400 different water boards scattered chaotically across the state the overlapping contradictory allocations of water rights deeded and lawfully recorded has been done in such a byzantine convoluted manner that no one and nobody can make heads or tails of it all. And you got to remember this is over water that did not fall and has not fallen for four years now. It is turning water rights into a theoretical conundrum.

Big multinational conglomerates have descended upon Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Like lumber barons of the past they plant vines like Douglas Fir- cheek to jowl- while praying for rain and pumping groundwater at homo-ignoramus rates.

Not to be outdone by the states antiquated water board’s the various county supervisors have bent over backwards to embrace the overdevelopment of the wine growing region. You take a deeded absolute right to the water, toss in a multinational corporation, add a bought and paid for county supervisor and out of their mouths pops things like, “this is still a free country” and these businesses have an “absolute right” to the water deeded to them. For Christ’s sake we are talking about the ‘blessed sacrament’ itself. Christianity could learn a thing or two about capitalism and faith.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Big agriculture in Northern California is driving its inhabitants to the nuthouse. You’d think that water from the Russian River was meant for the people that live there. Where in the name of Wall Street did you ever get that idea from?  Huge flows of capital are rushing in sucking every last drop of water on a crop they are exporting to markets overseas. They take the water, ship the crop and pocket the money into an account in the Cayman Islands. This is God’s good work, capitalism at its very best. Tax breaks for everyone!

Who the hell has time to do anything about climate change? I was standing 40 feet above sea level in the heart of the Napa Valley in the hamlet of Rutherford a month back. Forty feet sounds pretty good don’t you think?

For the moment the San Francisco Bay extends north beyond Vallejo and spreads out upon a magnificent wetlands system that comes right up to the edge of Napa. Antarctica is now melting at a rate faster than ever measured. And you know where that water ends up? Oh come on… forty feet of sea level rise? That isn’t even possible is it? Not in our lifetimes.

And that my friend’s is the beauty of the neoliberal economic model. You don’t worry about tomorrow you keep your eye on today. That’s all there is to it. Sometimes we can be so oblivious to the economic benefits of free trade.