What water shortage? California farmers using oil field wastewater on crops


Oil field in Central Valley, California

A devastating drought has been plaguing the state of California for years. Governor Jerry Brown has called it “an unprecedented, very serious situation.” The circumstances are so dire, farmers in the Central Valley have resorted to using wastewater from oil fields to irrigate their crops. Ingenious solution? Or dangerous health risk?

Correspondent Mike Kirsch travels to the center of the state to investigate just what’s in the water. He visits farmers and community members and shows us the oil fields from where treated oil wastewater is being sent to farms and used to grow crops…

Growing numbers of citizens and environmentalists are accusing Governor Jerry Brown and the oil industry of being less than transparent about the health hazards from toxic chemicals in the water.

Mike interviews Scott Smith, the chief scientist for an organization called “Water Defense” that has tested the water. Smith tells Mike Kirsch “The chemicals we found cause cancer and negatively impact your health.”

Scott Smith is asking the oil companies to conduct joint testing with him on the wastewater to ensure accurate and transparent results. So far, he says, oil companies have declined his invitation.

CCTV video wastewater crops

Check out Mike Kirsch’s piece for “Americas Now” at the bottom of the article

One thought on “What water shortage? California farmers using oil field wastewater on crops

  1. Cassandra says:

    As state agencies move forward with plans to study reusing wastewater from oil and gas drilling, some environmental and community groups want the administration to slow down. They’re concerned about the working group’s quick schedule and lack of transparency thus far on an issue they say demands careful study. http://nmpoliticalreport.com/874082/concerns-about-oilfield-water-reuse-plans-met-with-silence-en/ Last week, Bloomberg reported that drillers in Texas and New Mexico within the Permian will “pull up enough water this year alone to cover all of Rhode Island nearly a foot deep.” It also estimated that spending on water management in the Permian Basin will rise to more than $22 billion within five years. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-29/drowning-in-dirty-water-permian-seeks-a-22-billion-lifeline
    Water challenges in the state will only become more pressing in the coming years.
    Severe drought conditions have gripped New Mexico for almost a year. Rivers are running at historically low levels, and the Rio Grande starting drying in April south of Albuquerque. Reservoirs are dropping, too, including El Vado Lake on the Chama River and Elephant Butte Reservoir south of Truth or Consequences.

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