Skip to content

Groups Unite Urging Gov. Jerry Brown to Overhaul California’s Broken Water System

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :
Sandra Lupien: 510-681-3171:

Groups Unite Urging Gov. Jerry Brown to Overhaul California’s Broken Water System

California’s Outdated Water Regulations Have Not Been Updated Since 1914, State Allocates 5 Times More Water to Industry Than Is Available in a Wet Year

CALIFORNIA — The California-based Courage Campaign is teaming up with Food & Water Watch, a national advocacy organization that champions healthy food and clean water for all, in a new push urging Governor Jerry Brown to fundamentally overhaul California’s broken water system in the face of the historic drought currently plaguing the State.


Food & Water Watch and Courage Campaign argue that while water allocation has bedeviled California since before its founding, the historic crisis provides an equally historic opportunity to develop an equitable, environmentally sound approach that balances the State’s water use with its realistic water supply. Under California’s current system, researchers have estimated that the State gives away rights to five times more surface water than exists in a wet year — due mostly to antiquated regulations that have not been updated since 1914.

Together, Courage Campaign and Food & Water Watch are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to take the following bold actions to overhaul California’s broken water system and create a 21st century water policy for the State:

  • end the potentially catastrophic overuse of our groundwater;
  • halt the poisoning of California’s aquifers via fracking;
  • revoke permits to bottle precious spring water;
  • and ensure the long-term health of our agriculture industry by ending Big Agriculture’s irresponsible and unsustainable irrigation of water-guzzling crops in dry places.

“This out-dated, byzantine system, spurred on by the profit-making hunger of Big Agriculture, has led to a simple problem: demand for water vastly exceeds the supply. To make up the difference, California’s current regulations encourage the agriculture sector to suck up precious groundwater supplies that took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. This is our water savings account, and once it’s exhausted, the underground spaces will collapse and cannot be replenished.” explained Eddie Kurtz, an Oakland native, and executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign. “This is crazy. This is unsustainable. And unless California’s leaders step into the breach and take on this problem at the scale required — our economy and environment may never recover.”

“California’s water crisis is as much about poor management as lack of rain,” said Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch. “Now is the time for Governor Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board to take historic action to stop the over-allocation of our water and to protect our groundwater from depletion by corporate agribusinesses.”

For more information, or for interviews with Courage Campaign please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at For interviews with Food & Water Watch, contact Sandra Lupien at 510-681-3171 or

# # # # # fights for a more progressive California and country. We are an online community powered by more than 1,000,000 members.

Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.

Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.


Angela Chavez