The Fight for California’s Fresh Water: America’s Water Crisis (Part 3/3)

The Fight for California’s Fresh Water: America’s Water Crisis (Part 3/3)


EMERSON ROSENTHAL: The most
important thing to know about fresh water in California is
that there just isn’t enough. The second thing you quickly
find out is that the state’s no stranger to full-on
water wars. Basically, whoever controls
the water in California controls the future. Currently the dominant player in
the state’s big agriculture is Paramount Farms,
which is owned and operated by Stewart Resnick. Stewart’s goals have recently
aligned very closely with Governor Jerry Brown’s. WALT GRAY: California’s water
war is heating up. The governor has just unveiled
a new $14 billion plan to build two tunnels underneath the
delta, transferring water from northern California
to southern California. The governor says his plan will
create a reliable water supply and still maintain
a healthy ecosystem in the delta. Not everyone agrees. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: That’s
why we came out west. We wanted a firsthand look into
the newest chapter of California’s water works. So, our first job was to meet
Congressman John Garamendi, who has been fighting
Jerry Brown’s water proposals since the ’70s. JOHN GARAMENDI: This proposal
goes back at least 40 years. Jerry Brown, in the 1970s, when
he was governor, wanted to build this system, got it
through the legislature. I and several other folks
decided that was a bad thing and we fought it. We had a referendum. And now he’s back. He said it very clearly, I’m
going to do it this time. What are you going
to do, governor? You’re so determined to relive
your old life that you want to destroy this thing? You want to build a system that
would destroy the largest estuary on the west coast of
the Western hemisphere? Is that what this is
all about, just so you say I did it? It’s the north versus
the south. It’s the war of water
in California. It’s been going on since the
gold rush, and it’s continuing to this day. ADAM KEATS: This area right here
is the point at which the water leaves the public realm
and enters the private realm, so to speak. The equation is solely focused
on big, Southern California agribusiness. Huge mega-corporations that are
some of the largest farm interests in the world,
producing big-money crops. And that’s the primary thing
driving this thing. And no one has a right
to own the water. It doesn’t mean you can totally
deprive the rest of the state of its access
to the water– and when I say rest of the
state, that includes the fish and the birds and the animals. Early on, in the early 2000s,
mid 2000s, we noticed huge declines of fish species
in the delta. 6 million splittail were killed
in one count, and 14,000, 15,000 salmon. Instead of having the power in
one interest, the San Joaquin Valley farmers– and that’s
primarily one company, Paramount Farms– instead of having one big boy
controlling the whole game, have the state control it, and
have the state control with very strict rules, in terms of
who gets water, when they get water, why they get water. And include in that mix all
the birds and fish in the environment and ecosystem
up here. But you can answer all the
questions just by figuring out where the money is, who’s
making the most money off the deal. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: Moving large
amounts of water from one place to another
isn’t anything new. But the water from the San
Joaquin delta is already spoken for. By law, farmers who have lived
here in the San Joaquin Valley for over 250 years still
maintain priority rights over the delta’s water. They get it first, and their
livelihoods depend on it. RUDY MUSSI: My father
was a farmer. I farm with my brother,
and I’ve done that for the last 50 years. All this proposal does is just
steal the water from one area and ship it to another area. The reasoning changes
all the time. At first, it was to enhance the
aquatic species out here. Well, the Academy of Science
said the peripheral tunnels or canal won’t enhance
the species. So then they said, well, we’ll
do adaptive management. So, in other words, we’re going
to build this and then we’ll figure it out
how to work it. We fought this battle in 1982,
and I think my dad fought this battle in the ’50s
and the ’60s. It’s always been somebody trying
to steal our water. Anytime there’s a finite amount
of water, there’s always somebody that doesn’t
have it that wants it. And don’t get me wrong. We don’t mind sharing any
surplus water, but don’t take my water. I depend on it for
my livelihood. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: Right now,
we’re heading into Clarksburg, where we’re going to film where
they want to begin these new tunnels. Sacramento River, chilling
on a private levee. Snuck out here so we can
see it for ourselves. If Jerry Brown’s peripheral
canal proposal goes through, they’ll take two large tunnels
underground, right under here, and 9,000 cubic inches of water
per second will be taken from Sacramento River all
the way down south. And basically, all the farmers
out here are completely dependent on this water. Potentially, that could
all end as quickly as shutting off a faucet. John Herrick is one of a number
of lawyers working to stop the Bay Delta conservation plan from approval. Along with a number of
colleagues, John’s been on the job for about 30
years already. JOHN HERRICK: Their proposal is,
we’re going to improve the delta by moving our intake. So their plan is to make the
delta better by having less fresh water flow through it. It’s that nuts. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: Why does
the Department of Water Resources and the Department of
the Interior want them to have those water rights? JOHN HERRICK: That’s an
interesting question. I don’t know. One of the things that should
be separated, but isn’t, is the fact that the Department of
Water Resources is a seller to the contractors. So large amounts of money go
from the people who want the water, exporters, to
the department. That connection of buyer-seller
has resulted in the Department of Water
Resources following the desires of their clients,
their buyers. In our opinion, although we
haven’t figured out a way, there are people that
should be put in jail for these things. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: All right,
so basically, all of the proponents of the peripheral
canal have pointed us in the direction of the Department
of Water Resources. But unfortunately, after we
set up an appointment with them, they claimed that they
heard some things about us and decided to cancel our 2
o’clock appointment. So it is 10 o’clock now. We figure we might jump in,
because we have to hear from their side, and their reasons
behind wanting this peripheral canal. Yeah, we’re doing
an interview. How’s it going? -Oh, you know. I work for state parks. How good can it be? -This too shall pass. -It’s entertaining. EMERSON ROSENTHAL:
Uh, yeah we did. For 10 o’clock, originally. The secretary was sharp enough
to divert us away from the building and not let
us talk to anybody. But we got some good pizza recommendations, so we’re cool. Once we got back to New York, we
realized that after all of our appointments were canceled
with the Department of Water Resources, the Natural Resources
Agency, and the chemist who helped back the
proposal’s science, we didn’t have a single statement from
the proponents of the plan, let alone a positive one. So we tried again. OK, so I just found the list
of all of the supporters. This is everybody who
is a proponent of the peripheral canal. Let’s see if we can
talk to somebody. [PHONE RINGING] -Financial Resources Agency,
this is Kim, how may I direct your call? Hi there. My name is Emerson Rosenthal,
and I’m calling on behalf of Vice Media. OK. Can you hold for just
one second? Let me see if there’s
somebody available. Hi, this is Nancy Vogel,
director of public affairs for the department. Hi, you’ve reached [INAUDIBLE] with Paramount Farms, please
leave a message and I will return your call. We had someone here in the
office that covers Bay Delta. They’re not in right now, you
can leave a message– Were you the woman that
sent us to that really great pizza place? Yes. That’s me. OK. Oh good, you guys liked
Zelda’s, after all? Yeah, it was delicious. Just one second, let me see if
there’s somebody available. Will you please hold for
just one second? One moment. Thank you. One moment. [MUSIC PLAYING] EMERSON ROSENTHAL: The only
response we got was an email from the governor’s press
office, with a link to their press release. In the meantime, the governor’s
been hard at work pushing the proposal past a
legislative vote, in spite of the opposition. JERRY BROWN: This proposal
balances the concerns of those who live and work on the delta,
those who rely on it for water, and those who
appreciate its beauty, its fish, waterfowl and wildlife. EMERSON ROSENTHAL: So we’ll have
to go with that as their official statement. And with all lines of
communication cut off between the designers of the plan and
the people asking questions, the Bay Delta conservation plan
is quickly becoming an imminent reality in the haze
of California politics. Will governor Jerry Brown win
the water war he’s been waging since the ’70s? Is this a new precedent for
controlling water in America? In the words of Detective Walsh,
in perhaps the most famous film about California’s
water, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

100 Comments

  1. Capitalism, socialism or communism is bad for the planet and for humans in the long term. All this economical and political systems destroy us due to over-consumption, overpopulation and pollution . Humanity need to slow down , but i dont see it happening

  2. If you have a surplus of water, then you would be willing to share some.Ahhhh,that's not going to work,so,we're just going to take it ALL!!

  3. Everyone, please please please watch “Water & Power”. I know documentaries can be tolling, and often numbingly boring. This one though, is absolutely vital to anyone in California who can advocate for public water. Our state is dying at a nearly impossible rate and the amount of people that won’t have any water access in less than ten years is terrifying.

  4. What? No speedo! This kid is maturing into an adult. I thought he would jump into the delta! Greedy polititians make me sick.

  5. 50 years JFK proposed continental water resources management. 17,000 years ago core samples of San Francisco Bay reveal water wars occurring during drought conditions. State control is not a good deal; we need continental control! NAWAPA is the plan by Parsons engineering firm that will work for our blue planet.

  6. Well, vote for people who are not bought out by big companies like Nestlé. Of course you guys already know that Nestlé can take as much water from CA as they want cuz they payed of the politicians and Lobbyists. Wouldn't be surprised if Dianne Feinstein is on that list. Wake up!

  7. Can't we just use the green technology to produce fresh water and make the water shortage as thing of the past.Check out the new technologygofundme.com/solve-the -world039s-water-problem

  8. Fly over California and everyone has a backyard pool. Curb water use by educating people about catching rainfall, using grey water to flush toilets and water lawns and conserving by no pools. And build desalination plants like in Israel.

  9. This is why you should save the water
    Watch in this sensible video
    https://youtu.be/VViBISpdyOI
    Like share n subscribe

  10. water should not legally allowed to be privatized. the state needs to clean and distribute it with taxpayer dollars.

  11. California should have stopped trying to make the LA basin into an Oasis. It’s was a desert and always will be. Like Israel, California should’ve been pumping sea water, recycling their grey water and using that grey water for fruit trees and agricultural. For as liberal as they are and worried about pollution, they are decades behind in water use and conservation 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

  12. In February 2017, Oroville Dam's main and emergency spillways were damaged, prompting the evacuation of more than 180,000 people living downstream along the Feather River and the relocation of a fish hatchery.
    Heavy rainfall during the 2017 California floods damaged the main spillway on February 7, so the California Department of Water Resources
    stopped the spillway flow to assess the damage and contemplate its next
    steps. The rain eventually raised the lake level until it flowed over
    the emergency spillway, even after the damaged main spillway was
    reopened. As water flowed over the emergency spillway, headward erosion
    threatened to undermine and collapse the concrete weir, which could
    have sent a 30-foot (10 m) wall of water into the Feather River below
    and flooded communities downstream. No collapse occurred, but the water
    further damaged the main spillway and eroded the bare slope of the
    emergency spillway.

  13. Damn Delta smelt, feeder fish is in large part, to blame. Too much water wasted, out to sea, to save this useless fish. No state control.

  14. just start shooting whoever shows up at the construction site. bet nobody wants to come to work anymore then to build that plant

  15. Damn!!! It is all about MONEY!!! GREED!!! They don't care who will suffer and what impact it does to nature. Damn those corporations

  16. Carter power will soon go 'way
    I will be Führer one day
    I will command all of you
    Your kids will meditate in school
    Your kids will meditate in school

  17. You'd think a COASTAL state with ridiculously high taxes could build desalination plants. Nope. Let's spend our money on welfare for illegals. Let's worry about what bathroom people can use. Israel built a desalination plant called Sorek five years ago and it currently produces ONE BILLION GALLONS OF FRESH WATER EVERY WEEK. With California's 7.25% sales tax, state income tax as high as 13.3%, and crazy property taxes, gasoline taxes, and taxes on everything, you'd think they could build a few plants here and there.

  18. It would have been a good deal if when the Oil pipe company was building the pipe from Canada to Texas they could have added a water pipe and diverted water from the great lakes to the lower USA to put the Dust bowl back to work in farming. Then the US government would be doing something with the American Dollar instead of giving it to china.

  19. Sea water is supposed to have salt. It's unnatural to take it out. The West (un-civilization) has no respect for nature. Personkind is evil. California needs to pass a law to close farms by taking away their water… oh, wait, they did that. They need a law only allowing hard working illegal aliens, I mean illegal immigrants, I mean undocumented immigrants, I mean undocumented workers, I mean dreamers who only want to work hard and contribute to the America they love, the best and the brightest the universe has to offer, to be allowed to drink water and save California.

  20. Kudos. Watched all 3. Xcellent overview of ongoing and future problems of a thirsty country with limited resources. Water will be more valuable than oil very very soon, if not now. Thanks Vice for the reporr. Good filming, great reporter (cussing kuel), love it👍

  21. The new law is 55 gallons, per person, a day. This feels like a part of Agenda 21 (look it up its coming to fruition)
    LoL the Secretary asks if you have an appointment then reads the cancellation on her phone and proceeds to say that none of the executives are present….. Liar…..

  22. Come on Emerson, no wonder nobody is talking to you, you look like you are homeless. Shave that rat off your face and get a haircut.

  23. The fact that California sits astride the Pacific Ocean and isint taking the salt out and pumping it inland speaks volumes to the intelligent. Not only could they take water from the ocean to different watersheds depleted by humans and fill them back to brimming, it would help with the supposedly high rising sea levels.

  24. Funny how the liberals that like to play moral and identity politics are pushing some of the most corrupt and immoral legislation I have ever seen.

  25. What a waste. You guys were on the precipice. You had the chance to be not only a good news source, but a great one. When you got political, more to the point, when you went to the left, you literally flushed that chance down the drain. You can't be trusted to just lay out the facts. No matter how above board your videos seem to be, I just can't trust you guys.

  26. Honestly. Every video I watch the mountains and hills area always ignored. Stop looking down and look around. Those mounts is what feeds water to the valleys. Fix those and you will fix many problems.

  27. California you have too many Foreigners, you better start stocking up on food as they are eating California out of house and home. California is about broke, and you retires will not get your checks because of all those Foreigners you took in you are eating yourself out of house and home fools Y'all keep electing those Democrats! Even the Bible tells us we will not have enough food and water. get out of California before it is too late.

  28. We are not desert only Mojave not central valley. Simple stop selling land to farmers and oil companies that don't care for our lands.

  29. WHY NOT USE THE TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN DRAW WATER FROM THE AIR? THIS WILL AT LEAST GIVE ENOUGH WATER FOR DRINKING FOR EACH FAMILY.

  30. ISRAEL HAS JUST OPENED 5 DESALINIZATION PLANTS – THE US SHOULD BE BUILDING DESALINIZATION PLANTS ALONG THE COASTS TO ELIMINATE ALL WATER CRISIS IN THE US-

  31. Distilled from the ocean and salt , it’s the greedy like the oil corporations that keep clean free energy from us all.

  32. THERE IS NO FUCKING WATER CRISIS.. THERE’S PLENTY OF WATER OVERFLOWING IN AMERICA..THE NWO IS CONTROLLING US..
    NEW INFRASTRUCTURE COMING IN TO CHARGE US DEARLY$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$…WAIT THERE’S MORE…OXYGEN WILL SOON BE TAXED…MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY

  33. California is stealing America's freshwater. Stop irrigating the desert. You dried up the Colorado river. You run water out of the Concrete rivers, into the sea, like theres no end to the stuff. Your irrigation practices are criminal. GAME OVER. SET SOME LIMITS. Return Agriculture to the rest of America's Farmers. FUCK California's desert farmers. WE can live without California Almonds, and your flavorless GMO vegetables. Nothing worse than California Strawberries. Plant City , Florida grows the best….

  34. Typical Democrats: We're PRO something stupid. We won't tell you why. We hide behind closed doors and ramrod it through legislation.

  35. build desalinators. use black balls. and ration water. no more lawns and shorter showers. deport immigrants, combat desertification and reduce the population of LA and san diego.

  36. It’s California dumb asses that brought Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown back. He’s a friggin idiot. I bet speedo boy loves him!!!!

  37. That’s because it’s stolen from Sierra Mountains to water POS So Cal’s that insist on living in a dessert. Maybe start with abolishing anchor baby Citizenship, deport the millions of illegal aliens here in California and end legal immigration for about 100 years.

  38. What have changed in almost 7 years at 2019? I'm not playing stupid, I really am curious as Finnish guy. Has there been anything to the good or is it getting worse I'm afraid of…

  39. Yoal zombies water is now fully owned and controlled before ever leaving surface of the oceans into skies with chemclouds/HAARP and weather manipulation

  40. WATER IS LIKE GOLD IN SOME STATES SO THEY BETTER NOT WASTE IT OR ELSE THEY CAN BE IN ALOT OF TROUBLE IF THEY DRY OUT!! 💦

  41. You made a big goof at 5:24. You said "9000 cubic inches of water per second will be taken" There are 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot. So, 9000 cubic inches per second corresponds to a mere 5.21 cubic feet per second, which in turn equates to a piddly 39 gallons per second. That is nothing. You CLEARLY SPECIFIED THE WRONG UNIT OF MEASURE

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