All farmers who irrigated their crops last year using MID are allotted a minimum 18 inches this year, not enough to bring a crop to the market place. MID has set a bounty on the water of Four Hundred Dollars per acre for not using the water and returning the water to MID for distribution to all farmers that apply using a random drawing. The reality is they set a base price for the upcoming private water auction for this year.
If the rate increase of 10% goes through the cost will be $32.50 for the base allocation of 18″ plus a ‘Drought Surcharge” of $11.91 which equals $44.14 per acre. MID is offering to give irrigators $400.00 per acre for their base of 18″ or $267 per acre foot if they don’t use the water and leave it with MID. A nice incentive to return something they haven’t received or paid for.
It Gets Better: Our self described city boys, yes John Mensinger used/coined the term referring to himself and Paul Campbell threw in a wild card. He made his point by saying, “they mostly represented people living in Modesto.” Their argument was that a farmer should be allowed to sell their water to anyone they wanted and not just to family as has been MID’s past practice for transferring water delivery rights. And by pushing the $400 incentive they created a ‘base’ price for MID water.
But The Water Isn’t Theirs: See the rub is the water is MID’s water and MID is owned by its ratepayers meaning you and me. So the two city boys along with Nick Blom, who reversed his earlier position, voted to place MID’s water up for auction to the highest bidder. Remember, this is water they haven’t paid for, don’t own, yet windfall profits are going to be allowed? What did these three eat for breakfast?
Mensinger and Campbell have been complaining about subsidies by the electric side: With all of the preaching that has been going on about subsidies you would have thought they would have suggested that MID hold an auction for any surplus water and then use the profit to support its budget instead of allowing a few special interest farmers to line their pockets using our water, which they won’t have to pay for until they receive their bill November.
We all understand the Modesto Chamber of Commerce donated $2,000 and Bill Lyons even more to each of the ‘city boys’ and that the Chamber is famous for using public money to help their ‘friends’ and they do expect a return on their money, but I would have hoped they would have refrained from passing out the largess for a couple of months more.
The sellers are guaranteed a MINIMUM profit of $355.59 per acre. And who knows where that will end up after the unofficial auction.
The bottom line is: We’re fronting them the water for at least six months at no money down or interest fees to allow them to find the highest bidder on our water for them to make the profit on? And this is the business acumen the two city boys bring to the MID Board? Just how did this help the 113,000 electric account holders? How did this help the small farmer who is barely making it bring his crop to harvest. How did this help us?