Written by: Nathaniel Mannor
San Francisco is suing California for infringing on its ability to divert water from rivers and creeks to supply the city’s residents with drinking water. In addition, the suit states that the California State Water Resources Control Board is withholding water from farmers and agricultural workers even though they need water to provide food for San Francisco. These restrictions stem from the drought currently plaguing California, as 93% of California has been affected by the lack of water.
The lawsuit also shows that the board has no right to regulate water rights established in 1914. Instead, only the court can determine the validity of the water rights and judge whether or not San Francisco is entitled to its water draws. Doug Obegi, attorney for the National Resources Defense Council and opponent to the suit, explained that the lawsuit “is just the latest example of the privileged few with senior water rights wrongly claiming they are above the law.”
This lawsuit demonstrates a more significant drought problem facing the Southwest. Arizona and Nevada recently got permission from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to draw water from the Colorado River due to their water shortages.
So what do we do? During the first gubernatorial recall debate, John Cox mentioned one solution to use desalination techniques to create more freshwater from seawater. He takes his position from Israel, which uses distillation to provide their citizens with enough water that you’d forget they live in the middle of a desert. This strategy will keep California afloat and out of any drought’s danger.
Image from: Ruaridh Stewart/ZUMA