Note to my CA state reps on water conservation

Regarding: AB2175 (2008) (PDF)

Dear Senator Scott and Assemblyman Portantino,

I’ve recently come across AB2175, a bill aimed an improving water conservation in California. I am strongly in favor of the provisions it details, especially with the looming $10 billion water bond measure we face this fall. However, I am disturbed to see that it includes no real improvement of agricultural water use. As I’m sure you know, ~70% of the water used in California is used for agriculture, and it is not used efficiently, because it is sold at far below cost to farmers (and at far below the rates that residential and commercial water customers pay). No serious water conservation effort can leave agricultural water efficiency out as this bill does. Instead of a vague and unspecified target for agricultural users to be established in 2009, we need a hard number now, before we start investing tens of billions of dollars in new water infrastructure for our state. Agribusiness has had a free ride on water for long enough. If we really have a water problem now (and I believe we do) it’s time for them to do their part in the conservation effort, and footing the bill for new infrastructure.