Billionaire Farmers Scheming To Privatize California’s Water Are Under Attack

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“Filed by a coalition of farmers and environmental groups in the Sacramento Superior Court, the twin lawsuits cut to the heart of the ongoing backdoor privatization of California’s water supply, which has allowed a handful of rich and powerful people to enrich themselves at taxpayers’ expense, without anyone getting wise. The litigants’ objectives are simple enough: to re-nationalize a vital asset and shut down an illegal water racket that has sucked rivers dry, fueled unsustainable real estate growth, and violated California’s constitution. But to fully appreciate the importance of these lawsuits, you have to understand the proportions of the scam that was perpetrated. And to do that, you have to learn a little history about the privatization of the Kern Water Bank.

The Kern Water Bank is an underground reservoir located about 300 miles south of San Francisco, in the hottest, driest, southernmost edge of California’s Central Valley. In the late 1980s, California’s Department of Water Resources began developing the water bank, which can now hold enough water to hydrate the entire population of the city of Los Angeles for nearly two years, as a safeguard against prolonged drought. During wet years, it would serve as a repository for excess water coming in from Northern California, and would be pumped out in dry years to make up any shortfalls in the water supply. California spent nearly $100 million developing the underground reservoir and connecting it to the state’s public canals and aqueducts. But in 1995, the state suddenly, and without any public debate, transferred it to a handful of corporate interests.”

Read more: AlterNet

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