Friday, February 01, 2013

Water - Matters of Import 2013

Thought I’d mention a few matters of import in my world this second month of 2013.  A year from now I’ll be interested to compare the status of these topics with 2014’s reality.

World issue reports I’ll leave to each in their own country, though our nations impact one another as I think about economies, the environment, social issues and all the many ways we interact.   What happens this year for those of us in the United States as a consequence of events elsewhere is yet to be known.  My desire is that we stay out of war!

Los Angeles area Catholics have been shocked today to learn Roger Mahoney, Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus, has been relieved of public duties for actions taken to shield priests alleged to have molested children.  Accusers have come forth as adults with their allegations stemming from when they were children subjected to abhorrent acts by priests.   Persistent legal efforts have forced the Church to finally release written records, 12,000 pieces of paper (available on the Internet,) documenting how those in charge failed to follow legal requirements in such circumstances.  

Californians have been informed our state actually has a balanced budget now.  Our overwhelming deficit has been significantly lowered with an expectation of more reductions.   This was accomplished by voters passing a tax increase recommended by our Governor.  He had also instituted significant budget cuts adversely affecting many areas and individuals for whom this was painful.  Likewise, increased tax on the most wealthy has not been welcomed by those individuals.  Voters gave one political party the majority in our state legislature which is now Democratic like our Governor.   There's always a risk when one political party has all the power, but given the problem previously with a state legislature that functioned as incompetently as our U.S. House of Representatives, California voters acted for resolution. 

Latinos are expected to be the largest ethnic group in California surpassing whites in 2014 according to demographic numbers released yesterday by the state Department of Finance.   

Jobs in our state and my area with new hiring opportunities are slowly increasing.   Still today's news says the unemployment rate has increased slightly -- so, many challenges still are present.

Housing is beginning to gradually rebound with gains evidencing in price increases, especially with a shortage of existing homes available for sale. 

Occupy Claremont has continued to focus on issues of specific impact in our community which similar groups may be doing throughout our country.  Members meet regularly as emphasis has been placed on addressing our city's local homeless issues.  Occupy and our local government working together when possible has included a re-assessment of what financial institution will handle our city funds.  Previously, Bank of America has been entrusted with this function, but was singled out for picketing at various times the past few years as an example of peoples outrage stemming from the national financial collapse and especially local home foreclosures.  

High Speed Rail between southern and northern California, though long ago authorized by voters who passed a bond issue to finance the project, continues to garner attacks as a colossal wasteful expense.  The latest complaint is that not one bit of land has been purchased on which to begin rail construction.  Strong objections have come from several sources including central Californian farm land owners whose property will be divided by the rail system.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station along the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego had an unexpected radiation leakage necessitating that it be shut down a year ago.  Seems some tubes that had to be replaced retained functional integrity for considerably less years than they were believed to be viable when installed only a few years prior.    There has been considerable controversy since then as a variety of issues and repairs were necessitated, more problems were found, resuming generating becoming highly debated.   Efforts to reopen San Onofre persist as some still question the wisdom and safety of doing so.   Lots of people live within a 50 mile radius.  My residence is at the outer edge of that measure. 

Water continues to be a volatile local issue with citizens in my city,  reaching an explosive level from residents long simmering anger over outrageous water rates.  Our rates have been significantly higher than the surrounding cities served by this for-profit water company owned by an even larger conglomerate.  There is also anger with the California Public Utilities Commission and their Division of Ratepayer Advocates for failing to meet their mandate to obtain the “lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels.”  

Studies are being made as the city moves closer toward a goal of taking over our water for the future generations to come who will most benefit from any savings.  The water company has refused to sell us our water rights.   Our city officials are exploring other options including acquiring ownership through eminent domain.  The company probably fears the latter and has recruited groups outside our city to make this a greater issue than just about citizens wanting fair, just and reasonable water rates instead of our lining the pockets of a far-removed corporation focused on excessive profit.  There are many facts that have bearing including residents responding positively to significant reduction in water usage for several years while the company profits increased as they sought even greater rate increases i.e. they want over 25% increase in 2013.   

Years ago I recall reading that water would be the oil of the future.  Also then, PBS broadcast a special documenting that large water corporations were quietly buying up water rights all over the world.  If we think paying outrageous amounts for gas, or not being able to afford to operate our cars is a calamity, car makers have finally begun offering us vehicles that use alternative energy.  Somehow, I think our bodies will be less inclined to tolerating too much water cutback if we want to continue living.  So far, I don't know of any sufficient water substitute.  

Here's a link to 10 videos about the world water situation.  I haven't had a chance to view them, but wanted to share them here.  You may be well-advised to explore your local water source, who owns it and what is projected for your water cost future.

For many years we’ve been conditioned, with erroneous information in many instances, to believe we should purchase bottled drinking water.  So, we are being slowly moved toward even more water commercialization.  An expectation of raiding what may seem now like an endless water source with desalinization of our oceans may need to be limited in centuries to come. 

Many of our fresh water streams, rivers and lakes are all too frequently under assault from pollution. Mining of various sorts, including coal, have contributed to this situation as have the deepest of underground penetrations such as with fracking.  We already have seen the devastation of oil pollution in Alaska and the Gulf accidents from which neither area has recovered.  Still we’re prepared to run an oil pipeline from Canada through a major water acquifer area. Water acquifers must be protected across this nation, just as ours here in my hometown need to be which this current water company wants to continue controlling.     


  1. This is really illuminating. Whenever water use in California comes up, I always think of that movie, "Chinatown." It seems as if those big Valley landowners continue to try to control everything, but they are having more trouble getting away with their schemes.
    What really pleased me was to learn how activist your community has become. We really do have better information these days and can be more effective.
    Knowledge is power!

  2. Your list of important issues seems right on. I was a bit shocked to learn that a municipal water supply was controlled by a for-profit organization. Throughout the West, water ndeed is the most important problem. The least expensive way to solve it in the long run is population control, but that takes a long time and lacks widespread public support. It is good to learn that folks in your area are getting together and doing what they can to make the future better.

  3. Locally, the municipal water company has spent millions of dollars developing water supply capabilities only to have the state legislature turn over the water rights to someone else. We shall see how many billions of population (people and their critters) can be supported by the fresh water supply, won't we?
    Cop Car

  4. DEar Joared, at least thirty years ago I was a member of the League of Women Voters and for one meeting I did a great deal of research on water and presented a program in which I gave statistics about water available, price, etc. in the 21st century. Everything that I research then is coming true. I think that it's really accurate to say that water is the oil of the 21st century. Peace.

  5. Dee: I love being a League member. Ever think of re-joining?