I want to particularly direct attention to an article in Seven Days that discusses the obstacles that stubbornly persist in Vermont’s quest to clean-up our #1 water resource.
The VNRC, and especially, Kim Greenwood, should be congratulated on last week’s passage of the clean water bill by the legislature.
It represents a long and challenging battle to bring about some measure of progress while respecting the fact that meaningful improvements will depend on a change in our farming culture. That will take time and a “buy in” from the farmers themselves.
The headline this morning in the NY Times was no April Fool joke, much as we might wish that it were.
For the first time in it’s history, the state of California is imposing mandatory water restrictions, slashing local water supply agencies’ alottments by 25%. The agencies serve 90% of households throughout the state.
It will be up to the individual agencies to determine how this reduced volume will be rationed to consumers, but ration they must.
Farmers, who rely on sources outside of those agencies, will not be subject to the 25% reduction, but new rules requiring their accountability for usage have been imposed.
As the drought worsened, Governor Jerry Brown asked consumers for a voluntary reduction of 20% in January, but without the fines that a mandate imposes, strictly voluntary measures were insufficient to reach that goal.
This should be a wake-up call even to people as far away as we are here in Vermont.
As populations and standards of living grow in new places across the globe, energy costs and shortages will not be the worst resource problem we will have to face; and climate change pressures will only serve to make water more difficult to manage.
We’ve been fighting proxy wars over oil for decades now; water wars lie ahead.
It’s time to think about protecting Vermont’s groundwater for future generations. It should be clearly established that water is a public resource and not for private exploitation.
If we don’t do that soon, we may live to regret it.