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    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    Backed By New Research, Environmental Groups Demand End To Corporate Water Abuse

    Sacramento, CA – 48 organizations have signed on to a letter demanding Governor Newsom address California’s water crisis with specific actions targeted at the corporate abuse of public water resources. While drought ravages the state and freshwater supplies dwindle, more than 1 million Californians lack access to clean drinking water. Wells in dry and under-resourced areas like the Central Valley are predicted to go dry at astonishing rates. Yet unsustainable amounts of California’s water are being allocated to multibillion dollar industries like fossil fuel production, industrial dairy operation and almond crop cultivation. Read the letter HERE.

    “California’s antiquated water policies favor the corporations that contribute to the climate crisis and drain our water supplies,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy. “We can no longer afford to distribute water based on wealth and prioritize corporations over people. It is unthinkable that serial water abusers like Big Ag and Big Oil can reap billions of dollars in profits while thousands of wells around California go dry and our environment deteriorates. Already one million Californians lack access to safe, clean drinking water. Governor Newsom has taken steps to guard frontline communities against the predatory incursion of oil and gas drilling. Now he must begin prioritizing the water security of those same communities.”

    The letter draws on its demands from new research by Food & Water Watch that highlights a water system designed to favor corporations over people. Among the paper’s findings are:

    • 80 percent of the state’s water goes to agriculture, including heavy water users like almonds. In 2019, more than 60 percent of almonds produced in California were exported, rerouting 910 billion gallons of water out of the state for corporate profit.
    • It takes 142 millions of gallons of water every day to operate California’s mega-dairies. That’s more than enough to supply every resident in San Diego and San Jose with the daily recommended amount of water. 
    • Between January 2018 and March 2021, the oil and gas industry used more than 3 billion gallons of freshwater — enough water to fill 4,570 Olympic-sized swimming pools — that could otherwise have supplied domestic systems. 

    Among the letter’s chief demands for Governor Newsom:

    • Declare using groundwater to grow almonds and alfalfa in the southwest San Joaquin Valley not a beneficial use. 
    • Ban new and expanding mega-dairies in the state. 
    • End new oil and gas permitting immediately.


    Contact: Jessica Gable, (202) 683-2478, [email protected]

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