Dennis Del Corno: Is it my responsibility to care about my neighbors' water access?

January 23, 2014 

Depletion of the aquifer to irrigate nut trees, right or privilege?

People get mad at environmentalists for getting involved, but we wouldn’t have sequoias, the coastal redwoods or mercury-free streams without them. Farmers supply food, but these nuts seem to be an export crop.

The highway sign “Food grows where water flows” doesn’t fit here. What happens when deep wells affect others by lowering the water table?

Is there an ethical side to this? Did my deep well dry up my neighbors’ wells? Is it my responsibility to care about my neighbors?

I understand the draw to grow nuts – cash! How do we fix the aquifer if it is totally depleted? Should my neighbors just quit farming if their wells dry up? Should people come first?

If so, do cities that need aquifer water to survive come first? Can a balance come if we restrict nut farming, or limit deep-well pumping? What will we do if we have five more years of drought? Where I live, in Sonora, we have rivers flowing through our county and no water rights to any of the water. How can San Joaquin Valley farmers and towns survive if the aquifers are pumped dry? Just wondering.



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