Treehuggers International

New Surfrider Film Illustrates Cross Purposes of Water Agencies

March 14th, 2010

Spring runoff along Big Rock Creek, San Gabriel Mountains.

With World Water Day coming up on Monday, March 22nd, it’s a good time to think about the myriad of directions water agencies tend to go, with some agencies charged with the task of bringing water to thirsty Southern California, while others are charged with the task of flood control, flushing any rainwater the region may receive into the ocean as quickly as possible.

It’s not counter-intuitive to take a step back and ask why these agencies’ goals aren’t more in tandem. When rainwater falls in Southern California or a similarly dry climate, it would make as much sense to keep more than just what winds up in reservoirs and use it, rather than expel the rainwater into the sea, only to pull it from the ocean again in the form of a desalination plant, thereby burning more fossil fuels to extract the same fresh water which was just flushed away.

Enter The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water, a new, animated film produced by a team of activists from different chapters of the Surfrider Foundation, with Surfrider San Diego member and Know Your H20 co-chair Belinda Smith at the helm as Executive Producer.

As part of Surfrider’s new Ocean Friendly Gardens campaign, The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water discusses how the current management of our water supply runs counter to grade-school lessons about the water cycle, highlights controversial problems and solutions related to water management, and serves as a practical, good sense-driven outline for individuals curious about water issues.

And from one cycle of insanity to another, there remains Governor Schwarzenegger’s ongoing scheme to remove California State Parks from the state’s general fund, and instead fund the operation of all 278 state parks (and several other starving state institutions, including the U.C. and Cal. State systems) from oil revenues collected from a long-delayed, highly-controversial, twice-rejected offshore drilling plan along the Tranquillon Ridge in the Santa Barbara Channel.

In conjunction with the California State Parks Foundation, Treehuggers International was recently in Sacramento for Parks Advocacy Day actively lobbying against such a move, and pressing state legislators for support of the Parks Access Pass initiative, currently in the signature-gathering stage and expected to be on the November ballot.  By adding an annual $18 surcharge to all California-registered vehicles, state parks will similarly be removed from the general fund and fully funded from a regular, annual source of support, with the added benefit of EVERY Californian enjoying free access into all state parks, year-round.

Stefanie Sekich is best-known for her work in helping defeat the proposed Orange County toll road through the backcountry of San Onofre State Beach as part of Surfrider’s coastal campaigns and Save Trestles initiatives, and along with Belinda Smith, she stops by Treehuggers International for an update on not only the possibility of expanded offshore oil drilling in California’s coastal waters, but also in federal waters beyond the three-mile offshore mark of the state. While President Obama has been instrumental in the resuscitation of federal regulatory agencies and the creation of new wilderness areas with last year’s omnibus bill, he’s been reluctant to remove the option of renewed offshore oil drilling off the California coast.

From The Cycle of Insanity film to the ongoing parks-for-oil cycle of insanity, we cover some extra ground on this edition of Treehuggers International.

The San Diego Surfrider chapter is hosting the premiere screening of The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water on March 22nd at 4:00, 6:00, and 7:30 pm at The Loft on the UCSD campus. The screenings are open and free to the public, with a Q & A session following the 4:00 and 6:00 screenings.

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Headwaters: Scott Gomer Creek at treeline, Pike-Arapaho National Forest, Colorado.

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