Dateline this week looks at California’s access to water resources, reflecting a similar water usage fight in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin.
After 5 years of drought, California has finally had a deluge of rain. But with much of the state’s water supply being sent to LA, people in drought-affected areas feel they’ve been left high and dry.
Across rural California, more than five years of severe drought turned lakes into dust bowls and made farmland arid.
The drought was declared over in April after heavy rains in January, but it hasn’t solved the water crisis across the state. A fierce battle is continuing over who has access to water, and how the resource is managed.
It mirrors a similar water usage fight in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. Here the issue centres around upstream irrigators taking excess water – water that is owned by taxpayers and has been earmarked for environmental use.
In California, the hub of the fight is the Owens Valley, three hours north of Los Angeles, which for more than a century has been the centrepiece of a heated conflict between the city and local farmers – after water from the Valley’s lake began being piped to LA in 1913.
9:30pm Tuesday August 15 on SBS.