Friday, October 29, 2021

River's End

Using California, specifically Southern California's heavy irrigation and consumption of water pumped in from Northern California and elsewhere, director Jacob Morrison examines a growing water crisis involving far too many players fighting over far too scarce a resource.

At the heart of the film is the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta which provides water to much of the state including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and one of the largest (and most profitable) corporate industrial agricultural businesses in the world. The Delta also provides water to its existing area, including farms and an increasingly fragile ecosystem feeling the effects of decades of too much water being taken out of the Delta. The documentary offers examples of the ecological disaster of Lake Erie and the destruction of the Owens Valley as potential futures for the Delta unless changes are made.

The issue isn't new, and, as illustrated here, it isn't going away. A warning and call to action for people to understand where their water comes from, and be mindful of potential risks over overusing such a vital resource for profit, the documentary doesn't offer any quick solutions (although halting projects to pull out even more water is certainly a good first step).

In a state known for its eco-friendly stance on all issues, the issue of water in California continues to be a battle between those who rely on the Delta for sustenance and politics and big business continually demanding more of the water while ignoring possible long-term consequences that could leave millions without a sustainable water supply and lead to the destruction of an entire ecosystem and the extinction of multiple species already disappearing from the Delta. If California can't get onboard with protecting its own water supply, what hope do the rest of us have?

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