All across California, residents are being told to scrimp and save water because of historic drought conditions. Meanwhile, state officials are dumping freshwater into the ocean while intentionally depriving rice farmers of the water they need to grow food.
Colusa County in Northern California is the top producer of rice in the Sacramento Valley. The area generates more than 150,000 acres of rice in a normal year – but as you can probably tell by now, 2022 is anything but a normal year.
Officials there say that only a fraction of the usual rice crop will be grown there this year, delivering a massive financial blow to rice farmers, workers and suppliers.
“In April 2022, the water districts serving Colusa County were given their final allocation for the 2022 growing season – 0.4-acre feet per acre,” reads a statement from Colusa County officials.
“This allocation is not enough to support rice production, and estimates show that the Sacramento Valley will fallow 370,000 of 450,000 acres in the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors service area, primarily in Colusa and Glenn Counties. Currently, less than 7,000 acres are estimated to be planted in Colusa County, resulting in a direct financial loss to growers in excess of $270 million.”
Meanwhile, 50 percent of California’s water flows right out into the Pacific Ocean, a policy that was enacted for “environmental” purposes to save the Delta smelt, an “endangered” fish species.
“Water in California is shared across three main sectors. Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban,” revealed the Public Policy Institute of California back in 2019.