Earthjustice’s feature on the The California Drought: Who Gets The Water And Who’s Hung Out To Dry? presents multiple perspectives on the crisis. The article shares a range of voices including independent farmers, ranchers, and fishermen in the Bay Area Delta, a water policy expert, and a Native American tribal leader in California. Earthjustice raises concerns about the interests of industries such as commercial agriculture and fracking in California as the drought continues:
“That wasteful, polluting practices like oil and gas exploration are allowed to continue in the midst of an acute water shortage shows there is still a long way to go toward rethinking the management of such a precious resource. That massive, taxpayer-subsidized farms are planting water intensive crops like almonds in the middle of semi-arid regions that, even in a wet year, don’t naturally receive enough rainfall to sustain the crops should force a similar rethinking of California’s agricultural practices.”
I thought this article effectively demonstrated that the question of water rights, especially in a time of scarcity, cannot be resolved simply. Oftentimes, the people who are most severely affected by the drought also depend on water in some way for their livelihoods, and ensuring equity can become a problem when it’s individuals against industries fighting for the same limited resources, for survival.