Governor Brown Urged to Overhaul California’s Water Allocation System, Last Updated in 1914

Governor Brown Urged to Overhaul California’s Water Allocation System, Last Updated in 1914

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

An online petition calls for Governor Jerry Brown to review water allocation rules that were last updated a century ago. 

An online petition from the Courage Campaign and the resource advocacy group Food & Water Watch urges California Governor Jerry Brown to overhaul California’s water allocation system, regulations for which have not been updated since 1914.

Among the campaign’s goals, the united groups have urged Brown to revoke permits to bottle the state’s spring water, end the unsustainable irrigation of heavily water-dependent crops in dry regions, and put an end to the “catastrophic overuse” of groundwater.

“This outdated, byzantine system, spurred on by the profit-making hunger of Big Agriculture, has led to a simple problem: demand for water vastly exceeds the supply,” said Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the Courage Campaign. “To make up the difference, California’s current regulations encourage the agriculture sector to suck up precious groundwater supplies that took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. This is our water savings account, and once it’s exhausted, the underground spaces will collapse and cannot be replenished.”

The governor recently instituted a mandatory 25 percent water reduction, but many have urged Brown to institute much stricter guidelines and, especially, shut down Nestlé’s water-bottling facilities in the state.

“We believe your executive action to reduce urban water use is in the right direction, but it is not enough,” the petition states. “Industry demands and outdated water rules have contributed to an unsustainable system that allocates more water than our state could ever possibly supply. This is your chance to write your legacy in the history books as a drought hero who took bold action to realign our water needs with our water supply and create a new water system that can serve the state for the next 100 years or more. Please have the courage to fundamentally reform our water system.”

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