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Era of 'Nice Little Green Grass' Is Over as Calif. Imposes Strict Water Rules


Era of 'Nice Little Green Grass' Is Over as Calif. Imposes Strict Water Rules

Jon Queally, staff writer

Standing on dry grass in an area that would typically be covered by at least several feet of accumulated snow in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains on Wednesday, California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday announced his approval of emergency measures, including mandatory water restrictions, designed to help the nation's largest state cope with a drought that has been described as the worst in a millennium.



We would be hard pressed to find a greater waste of water than maintaining lawns, especially in a region that is historically a desert. Extractive industries and backyard swimming pools could be just as wasteful.

I’m happy to be able to say truthfully that, for 30 years, I have not had a lawn. I have a yard which I maintain with a weed trimmer and not a mower.

One of my neighbors used to have a lawn of Zoysia grass. It seemed that he NEVER stopped watering it.

Can anyone say desalinization?



Floods and droughts are nothing but miscalculations of society.


Livestock production, which includes the irrigation of livestock feed crops, accounts for the greatest consumption of water in the West. Such a water-intensive industry is poorly suited to the arid West. Dewatering of rivers and groundwater pumping for irrigation is a major cause of species decline throughout the region, and water development for agriculture is costly to taxpayers.


Yeah, has he?

But of course if the gov were repub, you would not even be asking the question (even Arnold would be hardpressed to say no to the frackers).


Im sure the fishes will be overjoyed to hear of the steps to keep the water in the river , but its probably too little too late , and how much water is wasted on having all these new (and old) cars all washed up and shiny ?? How much water would be saved if the folks with the swim pools used the water to flush their toilets ? What about the overhead watering we see through out the farmlands , how much of that is wasted thru evaporation … ?? And finally who is going to enforce these rules???
My curtilage is usually green thru May , but it is turning brown as we speak .(write) . The river looks like July/August … the fish will be suffering come summer .


First, we need to stop factory-farming cattle, which uses the most water of any agricultural product. Gov Brown barely mentioned agriculture, and imposed zero restrictions on the sector that uses the lion’s share of water. and allowing golf courses and private swimming pools? Oh and how much water does the military use? NO info on that at all.
Let’s get real! Domestic use is a tiny percent of the whole


A petition was submitted to the Government of California asking that fracking be banned. As of yet the Governor has yet to respond to that petition and under the law has only a few days left to do so. It was established that fracking had contaminated existing water sources so one can only wonder at his lack of urgency in this regard.

That said this speaks to a larger issue , Libertarians, some few which exist on these boards, continue to advance the meme that if natural resources were owned by private individuals and corporations they would be “better managed”.

Firstly I would point out that the vast majority of water use in California is by a very small number of people/entities. These tend to be agri-businesses and other corporations. They have WASTED that resource. I would also point out that there are water reservoirs in the USA that are controlled by private individuals and corporations. The Government mandate can not restrict how those entities use water as it considered private property.

These Corporations are , can and will continue to sell that water to the Fracking industry or to those same Agri-businesses.

Under that so called “free market” a scarcity of water means enhanced profits. This means that said water will go to the highest bidder. If a farmer growing pistachios is willing to pay a higher price then is a person who needs water simply for bathing and drinking, then under the rules of that so called “free market” that water will go to the farmer growing Pistachios. If the fracking Industry is willing to pay a higher price for that water as compared to a community that might need it as a drinking source, then under “free market principles” and the “The government shall not interfere with the marketplace” mantra of those advocates of the same, then Fracking and contamination of the water supply will continue even as people do not have enough to drink.

This is the same thing that happened in Ireland during its Famine. Food was exported as people starved because a better price fetched elsewhere. It the same thing that happened during a number of famines in Bengal when the British controlled it. Food was exported for a better price as poor people went hungry.

The Kern reservoir in California was transferred over to private interests several years ago. The "Value"Of that water climbs as this drought continues. The owners can sell it to whom they please and it can be used for anything under “free market principles”


I hate lawns and the especially whole suburban culture that bred them - but according to DN this morning, agriculture - notably California boutique-crops like almonds and pistachios, use 80% of the water supply. These originally came from near-Asia and the Levant - notably Iran. Wealthy California (and Israeli?) ag interests nay be the major force in in this bogus nuclear bomb nonsense and preventing normal relations with Iran.


No. He and his fellow Democrats like the bribe money from oil companies too much.


Governor Brown admits there is a climate drought in California, but of course will not ban fracking! But I am sure the good Governor will ban water being served in California restaurants!


Factoring in feed and water, it can take around 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef.

It takes 50 gallons at 5 gallons per minute to take a 10 min shower.

1800/50 = 36
By giving up one pound of meat a month I could shower roughly 36 times.


Sadly, that in turn, is advanced by the bogus fabricated meme of “the tragedy of the commons” - claiming a historical account of the commons in old England getting ruined because every peasant tom-dick-and harry would graze their cattle on it - with the implication that it was the “enclosure” of the commons by the wealthy peerage (privatization by seizure - classic case of Marxian primitive accumulation) that led or will lead to better management.

This meme was developed by ecological writer Garret Hardin who in turn borrowed it from 1830’s British economist William Forster Lloyd. But there are three problems:

  1. There are no clear historical examples of such a “tragedy of the commons” happening.

  2. There are plenty of examples of privately-owned former-commons (all the coal, oil and gas and most of the land in the USA for starters) being badly abused - one airplane ride over the 100% privately-owned southwestern 2/3 of West Virginia shows that.

  3. Mr. Hardin never intended his meme to be an argument for enclosure and privatization - quite the opposite - he argued for more aggressive public management. He naïvely (maybe not so naïve in 1968) believed the privatization of air, water and other essential common property was inconceivable. This was a major dialectical blunder on his part - because the so-called “libertarians” have really gotten a lot of use out of this meme.


No, he hasn’t banned fracking, nor has he stopped Nestle’ (one of the worst corporations in the world) from
pumping water from Calif. at (presumably) very low rates, and re-selling it under the Arrowhead (and others) brand.
Call his office and remind him: (916) 445-2841.


You are assuming that most feed (corn and alfalfa) and grazing land requires artificial irrigation. Most beef and the feed for it, is produced in areas where no water is used at all - plenty falls year round from the sky. There are good reasons for limiting beef consumption, but water usage is not one.

Californians seem to think that the rest of the USA (or even world) is like California. Where I live, and over the whole eastern third of CONUS we average more than a meter of rain per year, falling year-round. Human activity does not even put a dent in the flow of rivers and streams where I live.


Yeah-but there are already 400,000 acres made fallow by the drought in the Central Valley, and 27,000 farm workers have been laid off. Mostly poor Mexicans. Farmers are drilling deep wells into the sinking water table, and there is massive salinization taking place. The farming sector has already lost 1.2 billion. Some farmers are getting no water at all, and the Feds have already cut off supplies.You’re right about one thing, though: California exports a lot of food-mostly to the rest of the country. I think some of your anger should be directed at Big and Small Ag for raising water-intensive crops like cotton,pistachios and almonds in what is essentially a desert.


Being an Eastern transplant now living in California, I think the best thing would be for serious agriculture to re-establish itself in the East.And I’m not talking about boutique farming, which is certainlydoing well there. We obviously can’t continue to rely nationally on the the California hothouse to supply us with the produce it did in the past. Such a transition would take a lot of time, and cost a huge amount of money.In the short term, the cost of a lot of our food is going to go up-maybe way up. Get used to it.


A fourth problem with the “Tragedy of the Commons” theory:

Written/developed in the 19th century, it assumes agricultural production, without adequately investigating the ‘state of nature’ (as it was understood and explained by many classical and enlightenment philosphers and theorists before Lloyd). Any examination of the state of nature should lead to the conclusion that the ‘tragedy’ could only manifest in the presence of agricultural organization, and even then the tragedy remains only a theory with no basis in reality. Tribal socieities studied as ‘subjects’ under the state of nature did not encounter the problem Lloyd theorized.

Lloyd (and later Hardin) assume ownership [of land and cattle]. But in societies where land is held in common and animals are not livestock, but game, (i.e. absence of private property), there could never be a tragedy. Animals will graze where there is food and water. Once those recede, the animals leave; the land lays fallow to replenish itself for the animals to return generations later. Once upon a time, humans considered themselves part of this natural system, not lords over it.


Actually, the “Tragedy of the Commons” was (aside from one obscure remark, was not a theory of the early 19th century, it was a theory made popular in the late 1960s by the ecologist Garret Hardin. Before finding that out, I had thought that it dated back to Adam Smith or something.


You mean suburban lawns. A proper compact and efficient urban area only has lawns in the parks and maybe some plazas - which don’t represent a lot of area compared to suburbia.