It has been clear for decades that California has a water problem. There is much more demand than supply.
Solutions? Many have been proposed and tried but ALL have FAILED.
Why? Simple!! No state agency has done the most basic thing…actually quantified the reliable supply. And reliability is the key.
The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) did that work over a three-year period through Public Records Act requests and Freedom of Information Act requests and found that consumptive water rights claims are 5 ½ times more than available supply. UC Davis did a similar study two years later and came to the same conclusion. No wonder there is a problem. These promises and contractual expectations can NEVER be met. The water simply doesn’t exist.
Until this supply problem is addressed, no structural solutions (tunnels, dams or water banks) can actually work. Why? There is NO NEW WATER to put in them.
Real solutions will only come when the State Water Resources Control Board, the state agency with the fiduciary responsibility to grant and revoke all water rights permits in California (except Native American water rights which supersede all others), actually quantifies real available water.
And then comes the million-dollar question…whose water is it anyway?
The Public Trust Doctrine is law that supersedes all statues. It comes down to us today in California from Byzantine Emperor Justinian (300 AD) through the English Magna Carta (1215 AD) to our own US Constitution (1784 AD) and adopted in our own California Constitution (1854).
What is the Public Trust Doctrine? In simple language, it says that water and our other public trust resources belong to the people, to everyone; and can’t be privatized for private profit.
It is time for the people to invoke the Public Trust Doctrine and take back our water.
After all, it’s our water, our money and our future.
Executive Director, California Water Impact Network