Delta smelt

Water is the gorilla topic of discussion in California these days, and as supplies keep drying up, just about everyone has an opinion about water use, waste, conservation and government policies.

Guess who the debate has finally dragged into the court of public opinion for their decades of waste and questionable "facts"? Environmental groups and politicians.

In an April 9 op-ed article in Time magazine, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was blunt with her assessment of the cause, calling the state's disastrous four-year drought "man-made."

In particular, she blamed "overzealous liberal environmentalists who continue to devalue the lives and livelihoods of California residents in pursuit of their own agenda."

Asking, "which do we think is more important, families or fish?" Fiorina said government policies that support those agendas are making droughts worse by allowing more than 300 billion gallons of water to wash out to sea in order to protect the tiny Delta smelt (2 to 3 inches long and pictured above, photo by Rene Reyes, U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation.)

"This is the classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other peoples' lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology," she said.

Meanwhile, environmental groups came under fire in the April 8 Washington Post and in the April 9 Bloomberg Politics, which said that claims made by environmental groups about water use by agriculture have been wildly overstated in order to support their policy agendas.

Among those is the practically urban myth "fact" that 80 percent of all water in California is used by agriculture. The Bloomberg article, however, pointed out that according to the California Department of Water Resources that figure is only correct if you do not include the massive amount of water used for environmental purposes, such as maintaining stream and river habitats, wildlife preserves, and wetlands.

How massive? According to the department, 47 percent of all water used in the state goes for environmental programs, versus 43 percent for agriculture.

"Activists intentionally distort agriculture's use of water to further antifarming arguments," said Joel Nelsen, chief executive officer of California Citrus Mutual in the Bloomberg article. "What bothers me most about the environmental community is its incredible hypocrisy, in which activists oppose everything except what makes their own lives more convenient."

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
April 20, 2015
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