Does truth matter?
These ranchers, fighting for their livelihoods, sure hope so.
“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” Some people credit St. Augustine of Hippo for this quote. Whoever said it, small family farmers and ranchers in far-northern California are sure hoping it’s true. A group of them have banded together to tell their story: the State of California is turning off these farmers’ and ranchers’ irrigation pumps.
Groundwater Turned Off
Yes, you read right. On July 14th, in one remote corner of rural California, the State turned off farmers’ and ranchers’ groundwater. It’s unprecedented and shocking, even considering this prolonged drought and the many gut-wrenching tales of water restrictions we’re hearing from across California.
While most of the restrictions by the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) are on surface water deliveries, the agency has now ventured into a new legal territory: it is turning off groundwater.
Aquifers Are Not Overdrafted
This is not happening in a part of California with large corporate farms or vineyards, but up in rural Scott and Shasta valleys in Siskiyou County, where multi-generational family farms and ranches grow mostly cows and hay. There are no massive public water projects storing and delivering water, no water imports,