Three new Bills were signed today by Governor Brown that put California in line with the rest of the states in the West to confiscate water rights from property owners and give them to the State Resources Water Board.
Property rights are a relatively new phenomenon in the scope of human history having come to play during the Renaissance in the 16th Century as Medieval Feudal Systems were replaced by emerging capitalist economies.
Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enshrines the right to property as follows:
“ “(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property”(Wikipedia)
But what does a property owner really own when government has the right to levy the property with taxes, in some states own mineral rights and now in all states in the West own the right to control the distribution of the ground water on that property? Oh and did I mention a little thing called Eminent Domain?
The loss of water rights will hit the Central Valley Farmers the most, who have depended on the California aquifers to keep them in business. They have already suffered the loss of ground water being diverted passed them to southern California via the California Aqueduct and environmentalists protecting fish over farms by sending water out to sea.
Those same environmentalists see this legislation as a much needed salvation to the future of California’s aquifers. But even they agree that these benefits will not be seen for many years to come.
Authorities in the most over-pumped basins would have to submit sustainability plans to the state by January 2020. Other basins ranked as a priority would have another two years to adopt a plan. The agencies would then have an additional 20 years to stop serious overdraft, which means the full force of the measures wouldn’t be felt until at least 2040. http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-groundwater-20140908-story.html
What is evident is the fact that the right of property ownership has been redefined once more by an overly intrusive government. The question becomes is the government turning back the clock and returning us to a Feudal System whereby our labors are no longer rewarded by true property ownership but property that is ours in name only while the true owner we labor for is the government?
John Locke argued that the safeguarding of natural rights, such as the right to property, along with the separation of powers and other check and balances, would help to curtail political abuses by the state.Wikipedia
But government has once again positioned itself to usurp those rights.