“Economic damages to San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties are significant, admits the state, but merely “unavoidable consequences.” And facts about the human toll don’t appear to matter:
Unemployment – There will be more unemployed citizens as agriculture and related employers reduce or close their businesses in our three counties. Many employers are already worn down from ever-expanding regulations.
Homelessness – We can’t meet our current challenges. The number of people living on the streets of each community will grow. Public assistance demands will grow as well, and local resources will be further strained.
Groundwater Management – This proposal is on top of a law passed in 2014 to sustain groundwater at current levels. At the same time we face losing an additional 20 to 30 percent of the clean water that has served our area for 130 years, 1 million residents of our region will be dealing with degraded groundwater availability and quality. Soon, we could see subsidence as the ground gives way.
These and many more facts were brought to the water board’s attention as public officials, farmers, business owners and many others testified at hearings. It does not appear any of their thousands of comments made a difference. Our voices were not heard; the facts were ignored.
If the state water board approves this 40 percent water reduction – which its chairwoman, Felica Marcus, has already vigorously defended – their actions will fundamentally change the place we live and raise our families.
To have this damage to our lives written off as an “unavoidable consequence” does not promote confidence in the people serving on this board.” READ MORE: