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Tax organics to solve Ca water problem  RSS feed

 
duane hennon
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don't shoot the messenger
i'm thinking about Geoff's video "when organics go bad"

http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/18/economists-tax-organic-products-to-solve-ca-water-crisis/

Economists: Tax Organic Products To Solve CA Water Crisis


Environmentally-savvy economists have a novel solution for tackling the California water crisis that may anger some on the left: tax organic products.

Why tax organic products? Organic farms, for example, don’t use water nearly as efficiently as conventional farms do, argue economists with the Property and Environment Research Center and the Hoover Institution. Price the inefficiencies into products and consumers will use less of it, the economists say.

Economists Terry Anderson and Henry Miller wrote that “water-policy analysts agree that California’s thirst for water won’t be significantly reduced until consumers are faced with a more realistic price for the ‘clear gold.’”

“In that spirit, we propose a revenue-neutral tax on all organic products — food, linens, clothing, pillows, tobacco, etc,” they wrote.

“How will taxing organic products help to conserve water? the answer is that organic agriculture uses more of critical inputs — labor, land, and water — than conventional agriculture,” Anderson and Miller wrote. “Taxation would reduce the demand for water-wasting organic products relative to non-organic alternatives, and thereby reduce some of the pressure on California’s dwindling water supplies.”


might not be a bad idea to get the faux-organic out
but someone should point out there is a 3rd way other than "organic" and "conventional"
 
Nic Foro
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/fuoexrrd5p5d4og/IMG_20150512_101449_355.jpg?dl=0 Yes, I know its a picture of my dog but I'm not walking out to the fields to take a picture of the drip irrigation. Each tomato plant has its own drip emitter, the root and only the root get watered. Weeds have a hard time growing because unless it rains, the space between the plants is a dry rock.

I'm on an organic farm down in Texas and this article is more FUD from the left and or pro-GMO camp. Its one label after another, nutter, conspiracy theorist, uneducated hick, inefficient land waster, its all psychological warfare to drag you down, shut you up, or attempt to paint the targeted group in a bad light. I guess water waster is the new one, at least for California. It really doesn't matter what group it is, organic or GMO, capitalism or socialism, LGBT or traditional values, the mud slinging is all the same and never ends, one is socially and politically safe and the other isn't, and the money flows endlessly from both sides. That said, organics are more labor intensive and require one to work for a paycheck, however, it produces a superior and much cleaner product, it actually has flavor. I compare it to a corn fed vs grass fed steak, most people will take the grass fed steak.

Genetically altered varieties are not allowed in organics, however improve varieties are. Anyone can still increase disease resistance, yield, fruit size, etc, but it must be done naturally, without GM. Its not much different than grafting an improved variety of pecan onto a native tree, you get the benefits of both plants naturally.

I highly recommend studying about microbiome and how gut health affects the brain, its relation to illness, the pesticide content found in urine between a conventional and organic diet, etc. That is for anyone who wants to know what they are eating and why its good or bad for them, rather than letting the media dictate it for you.

On the subject of taxes, taxing one product more than another is nothing more than unfair social structuring and manipulation and no different than giving a private product a taxpayer funded subsidy to artificially bump it up in the marketplace. Its wrong.
 
Steve Farmer
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I can't accept the idea of taxing agricultural water "users" because we don't have a clear view of what "using" water is. If a farmer give his crop some water, has he "used" it or does the water still exist? Would the land be better as bare soil? Would the weather be better if all the land was bare soil?

Plants "use" water. If water "use" is bad then kill all the plants and see what happens.
 
John Wolfram
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As someone growing fruit in the water abundant Midwest, if I was starting from scratch looking for place to grow crops that could be labeled "organic" then without a doubt I would be looking for an arid/desert environment with abundant irrigation water. Many parts of California fit that requirement, or at least they did. While the organic requirements restrict out a lot of pesticides and fungicides, there are no restrictions on irrigation, so it makes a lot of sense for "organic" farmers to find areas where insects and fungus can be controlled with the water supply.
 
Blake Wheeler
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Typical California, all I'm saying on the matter
 
Nic Foro
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I only have to dig about 2-4 feet at the edge of my garden to reach rock and gravel so water isn't too much of an issue for me, trees by my garden likely tap directly into the water table. As for California, they need to rip up their almond trees before anything else because those are the most water consuming plants out there.
 
Blake Wheeler
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Nick Ford wrote:I only have to dig about 2-4 feet at the edge of my garden to reach rock and gravel so water isn't too much of an issue for me, trees by my garden likely tap directly into the water table. As for California, they need to rip up their almond trees before anything else because those are the most water consuming plants out there.


So almond trees are the issue?

I can think of plenty of things that need to change before almonds. Second, some moisture is retained in the nut, which is then consumed.

How much water do you think 38.8 million people use everyday to take a shower, or flush a toilet...and how many times do you think the average person flushes the toilet. Then add to it all of the people in that 38.8 million using old less water-wise appliances. I bet the number comes out greater than the 1.2 trillion gallons the almond industry is said to use.

Scapegoating the people providing others with food isn't the answer to the problem. Fix the gross misuse of water in our society and you fix the problem
 
John Wolfram
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Blake Wheeler wrote:How much water do you think 38.8 million people use everyday to take a shower, or flush a toilet...and how many times do you think the average person flushes the toilet. Then add to it all of the people in that 38.8 million using old less water-wise appliances. I bet the number comes out greater than the 1.2 trillion gallons the almond industry is said to use.

38.8 million people each using 84.7 gallons per day for a year would equal 1.2 trillion gallons. If you only include inside water use (no lawn watering) I would guess the almond industry is using more water.
 
Steve Farmer
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How much water given to an almond tree goes back into the water table? How much transpires into the air, raising relative humidity, lowering the dewpoint, increasing rain and condensation?

How much water used by a typical Californian toilet or shower or washing machine goes to the water table or atmosphere? How much goes into the sewers then the sea?

You can't compare water "used" by households with water "used" by almonds (or lawns).
 
gary reif
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unfortunately most almond growers harvest by shaking and then sweeping up the almonds which means they need to have bare ground. Water on bare ground evaporates a lot more then ground with vegetation on it so a fair share of water evaporates.
 
Blake Wheeler
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John Wolfram wrote:
Blake Wheeler wrote:How much water do you think 38.8 million people use everyday to take a shower, or flush a toilet...and how many times do you think the average person flushes the toilet. Then add to it all of the people in that 38.8 million using old less water-wise appliances. I bet the number comes out greater than the 1.2 trillion gallons the almond industry is said to use.

38.8 million people each using 84.7 gallons per day for a year would equal 1.2 trillion gallons. If you only include inside water use (no lawn watering) I would guess the almond industry is using more water.


Well the average water use per day of a U.S. citizen has been figured to be in the range of 80-100 gallons (and I personally believe that's conservative), so my example certainly fits the bill. I also know more people that don't water their lawn than those that do, my guess is that probably rings true for most of the country. Guess where the two highest uses come from? Showers and flushing the toilet.

I liken it to this, I'm not sure what you know about car racing, but the example fits I believe. It's generally the goal to make the most power you can in the lightest car you can get it in. Likewise, when lightening the car, there's certain things you HAVE to have. It's easier to take 100 pounds off a car iby taking little bits out in 500 places than it is to remove one single, 100 pound piece.

With that train of thought, it would be easier to cut water consumption in one small area 38.8 million times than to try to get one lump sum. Let's say you got 38.8 million people to only flush the toilet once a day, or to only shower once every two days. Imagine the amount of water that would save, and it would be easier to accomplish than expecting a multi-million dollar industry to let its investment die.
 
Blake Wheeler
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Steve Farmer wrote:How much water given to an almond tree goes back into the water table? How much transpires into the air, raising relative humidity, lowering the dewpoint, increasing rain and condensation?

How much water used by a typical Californian toilet or shower or washing machine goes to the water table or atmosphere? How much goes into the sewers then the sea?

You can't compare water "used" by households with water "used" by almonds (or lawns).


This is what's being overlooked by most people Steve. I'm currently having the exact same debate with people on treehugger lol.

People go on and on about the drought while they continue to pump water out into the ocean, then have the nerve to turn around and blame it all on almonds or fracking (a can of worms I refuse to open lol).
 
elle sagenev
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Nick Ford wrote:I only have to dig about 2-4 feet at the edge of my garden to reach rock and gravel so water isn't too much of an issue for me, trees by my garden likely tap directly into the water table. As for California, they need to rip up their almond trees before anything else because those are the most water consuming plants out there.


I think Kostas' thread has proven almond trees not to be heavy water users. At least that is true until we modify their environment and make them so.
 
elle sagenev
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Blake Wheeler wrote:
Steve Farmer wrote:How much water given to an almond tree goes back into the water table? How much transpires into the air, raising relative humidity, lowering the dewpoint, increasing rain and condensation?

How much water used by a typical Californian toilet or shower or washing machine goes to the water table or atmosphere? How much goes into the sewers then the sea?

You can't compare water "used" by households with water "used" by almonds (or lawns).


This is what's being overlooked by most people Steve. I'm currently having the exact same debate with people on treehugger lol.

People go on and on about the drought while they continue to pump water out into the ocean, then have the nerve to turn around and blame it all on almonds or fracking (a can of worms I refuse to open lol).


Ok but you brought it up. I'm in Wyoming. I'm on a well and septic. So we are pumping nothing to the oceans. No one in Wyoming is. We also suffer drought fairly often. Our problem is multi-pronged but one of those prongs is most certainly fracking. Farmers are pumping up water and selling it to oil companies for fracking use. You can't tell me all of that doesn't have a massive impact on our valuable and limited aquifers.
 
Andrew Parker
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Organics already pay a heavy penalty in generally higher costs (I think the primary reason you don't see many fat people in Whole Foods is their customers can't afford to eat a lot). Adding a tax on organic foods would be ludicrous, so I fully expect the California legislature to implement it.

Water flows to money. Agriculture can never compete with municipal or industrial use, without legal and economic protections. California's recent assault on agricultural water rights is unprecedented and may well prove to be the nail in the coffin of agriculture in that state, to the delight of developers and dangerously deluded environmentalists.

Water conserving methods are expensive. Many growers cannot afford to switch over to drip or subsurface irrigation. The margins are too thin and the risks too high. Before mandating expensive water conservation methods on agriculture, municipal users should look to their own wasteful behavior. This is nowhere close to being a fight between food and drinking water. It is a fight between food and turf. Mandate subsurface irrigation and drought tolerant varieties for turf, and municipal demand will drop by as much as 70 percent or more.

What is better for California, ten thousand acres of beautifully manicured lawn that is hardly stepped on or ten thousand acres of almonds? You can keep both, but it will take some investment. Municipal users are in a better position to choose between investing in water conserving technology or simply reducing the amount of turf being watered. If a farmer cannot afford the technology and water is cut, the farm disappears -- likely forever.

I think agriculture can benefit tremendously from implementing water conserving technology, but there needs to be a careful balance between mandates, incentives and subsidies, so as not to disrupt production or raise prices.
 
duane hennon
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http://www.demographia.com/db-state1900.htm" Population

State 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003

California 1,485,053 2,377,549 3,426,861 5,677,251 6,907,387 10,586,223 15,717,204 19,953,134 23,667,902 29,760,021 33,871,648 35,484,453


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owens_Lake#Current_management

Lake Owens

California had water problems as far back as the early 1900's

http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nuts/what-happens-if-us-loses-california-food-production
What happens if US loses California food production?



continuous irrigation farming, in the desert is not sustainable,
(as opposed to using it to get your system established)
especially for market oriented non native high water usage crops

having the best land and climate for growing (except for water!!)
does not make it the best place for growing
putting all your veggies (organic or not) in one central valley basket
isn't very smart
so the question isn't "should we tax organics?
but "should we encourage (subsidize) high water crops
with expensive short term water projects


http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/10/jerry-brown-worries-about-overpopulation-amid-ca-drought/
Jerry Brown Worries About ‘Overpopulation’ Amid California Drought

http://www.dailynews.com/environment-and-nature/20150610/gov-jerry-brown-take-spaceship-earth-approach-to-saving-water-global-warming

Gov. Jerry Brown: Take ‘spaceship Earth’ approach to saving water, global warming

Brown said Californians would have to be more frugal with water, the state’s most precious resource. Doing so would enable the state to absorb 10 million more residents above the 39 million already here, he said.


I guess it depends on his meds


 
Andrew Parker
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Folks have been moving water to places that will grow things better for thousands of years.

Irrigating arid soils can be a little tricky, but if you take the time to learn from other's mistakes, it can be quite sustainable. Sure, you will get a prolonged drought now and then, but most of the time, the system will work. The thing that dashes the hopes of desert agriculturalists is often not a lack of water, but a temporary overabundance that can destroy dams, canals, ditches, orchards and fields, as well as homes and other structures. (In Utah, flooding often came in pairs, one year after the other. It was too much for many to recover a second time in as many years.)

Nature is fickle. Even in well watered areas, rivers can shift course suddenly, sometimes by hundreds of miles. Climatic patterns are always shifting, though often imperceptibly, as it can take generations to see a significant change. It is the human ability to adapt that has allowed us to thrive in an ever changing and ever challenging world. Just like Javanese farmers lured to the fertile slopes of active volcanoes, irrigating farmers and ranchers in arid and semi-arid regions know that nature can pull the rug out at any time, but in the meantime, they farm.

It must be human nature to rise to a challenge as many of the first civilizations developed and flourished in harsh desert climates. It was irrigated farming in desert areas that allowed the surpluses that released parts of the population to pursue other specialties. (and it was water projects and irrigation that enabled some of the great tropical civilizations as well, extending growing through the dry season.)

Within today's context, in a period of water scarcity, decisions ought to be made with a mind to preserving agricultural capacity. We must not forget the agricultural abundance that enabled the rise of this civilization. A withered field produces no surplus.
 
Blake Wheeler
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elle sagenev wrote:
Blake Wheeler wrote:
Steve Farmer wrote:How much water given to an almond tree goes back into the water table? How much transpires into the air, raising relative humidity, lowering the dewpoint, increasing rain and condensation?

How much water used by a typical Californian toilet or shower or washing machine goes to the water table or atmosphere? How much goes into the sewers then the sea?

You can't compare water "used" by households with water "used" by almonds (or lawns).


This is what's being overlooked by most people Steve. I'm currently having the exact same debate with people on treehugger lol.

People go on and on about the drought while they continue to pump water out into the ocean, then have the nerve to turn around and blame it all on almonds or fracking (a can of worms I refuse to open lol).


Ok but you brought it up. I'm in Wyoming. I'm on a well and septic. So we are pumping nothing to the oceans. No one in Wyoming is. We also suffer drought fairly often. Our problem is multi-pronged but one of those prongs is most certainly fracking. Farmers are pumping up water and selling it to oil companies for fracking use. You can't tell me all of that doesn't have a massive impact on our valuable and limited aquifers.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning fracking in the least. Thats why I was hesitant to even throw the word in there lol, it tends to elicit responses :p

It uses less water than people paint it to though. California's issue is a long-running misuse of a resource, trying to narrow it down to any one thing overlooks and dismisses the myriad other things contributing. It's one of those "more than the sum of its parts" problems and I feel the underlying issue is how our society as a whole has been conditioned to view, and use, this resource.
 
elle sagenev
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Blake Wheeler wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:
Blake Wheeler wrote:
Steve Farmer wrote:How much water given to an almond tree goes back into the water table? How much transpires into the air, raising relative humidity, lowering the dewpoint, increasing rain and condensation?

How much water used by a typical Californian toilet or shower or washing machine goes to the water table or atmosphere? How much goes into the sewers then the sea?

You can't compare water "used" by households with water "used" by almonds (or lawns).


This is what's being overlooked by most people Steve. I'm currently having the exact same debate with people on treehugger lol.

People go on and on about the drought while they continue to pump water out into the ocean, then have the nerve to turn around and blame it all on almonds or fracking (a can of worms I refuse to open lol).


Ok but you brought it up. I'm in Wyoming. I'm on a well and septic. So we are pumping nothing to the oceans. No one in Wyoming is. We also suffer drought fairly often. Our problem is multi-pronged but one of those prongs is most certainly fracking. Farmers are pumping up water and selling it to oil companies for fracking use. You can't tell me all of that doesn't have a massive impact on our valuable and limited aquifers.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning fracking in the least. Thats why I was hesitant to even throw the word in there lol, it tends to elicit responses :p

It uses less water than people paint it to though. California's issue is a long-running misuse of a resource, trying to narrow it down to any one thing overlooks and dismisses the myriad other things contributing. It's one of those "more than the sum of its parts" problems and I feel the underlying issue is how our society as a whole has been conditioned to view, and use, this resource.


I understand. I know that irrigation for commercial agriculture has been pinpointed as the biggest stresser on our aquifers, though subdividing farmland has also been pinpointed as a problem. Many problems. One solution, people start respecting water as the limited and precious resource it is.
 
Michael Cox
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Problem with that is you are taxing the product, which is a poor surrogate for taxing directly the water usage.

If every form of agriculture faced a flat rate usage tax on the water then you would quickly see the farmers shift to practices which minimise their tax burden. Wastage of water is not solely the preserve of the organic farmer.
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