California now a water police state: State orders farmers not to water crops, violating century-old water rights

Thursday, August 20, 2015
By Paul Martin

by: J. D. Heyes
Thursday, August 20, 2015

As California’s drought worsens and the availability of potable water continues to decline quickly, regulators in the state have become increasingly strict in imposing rules and fines in order to conserve what water remains.

To do so, state drought regulators have gone to the extreme in recent days, proposing a first-of-its-kind fine of $1.5 million on a group of farmers they insist took water illegally.

As reported by The Associated Press, the fine, announced July 20 by the State Water Resources Control Board, is the first time a fine would be levied against an individual or district that retained senior water rights that are more than 100 years old, and which have historically provided them with immunity from mandatory water conservation requirements.

In other words, the state board is now insisting that historic water rights – which these farmers have owned for a century – are no longer valid, and any use over what the board has imposed is now, suddenly, “illegal.”

As the AP further noted:

The fine follows months of unprecedented cutback orders to communities, businesses and the powerful agriculture industry during the fourth year of the devastating dry spell in California.

The state is fighting off court challenges to its authority to control water use and doubts over whether it has the resources to enforce its orders.

Being punished

The Rest…HERE

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