The circular firing squad

A good primmer in the Fresno Bee about the various sides in the water wars.

Our view from the Delta tends to be simplistic, north vs. south. But it’s much more complicated. Many of the farmers on the east side of the south Valley, for instance, have water rights. It’s the westsiders struggling to irrigate desert with junior water rights, rights that entitle them to water only in the wettest years, who are often the instigators.

“West-side farmers have periodically battled with those on the east side over water,” the story says. “A big regional conflict this time could involve the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors who farm in the west-central region between Patterson and Mendota. The exchange contractors, among others, have grown openly skeptical of the (San  Joquin) river restoration program.”

In other words, the east-siders settled for the river restoration in the historic lawsuit to restore the river. They have legal obligations. But Republicans such as Devin Nunes (R-Visalia) are seeking to sabotage the restoration in a grasping-at-straws effort to exploit the drought for political advantage.

One can only marvel at sort of human beings who would clamor to kill a river, or seek to block its revival. But the southwest-Valley water interests will trample environmental laws, and hurt their fellow south-Valley farmers, to say nothing of killing the Delta. And Roger Ailes of Fox News will support them, pushing the far right into the extremes, which is one reason I credit Fox with helping Obama get elected. 


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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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