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Re: E-M:/ Re: Granholm gets mixed reviews

Yes, it's important to distinguish "blue gold" (i.e.water) as a public commodity versus a corporate commodity. But they are increasingly overlapping. At heart, it's perilous when warer becomes an unregulated commodity in any instance. Here's an important article in yesterday's L.A. Times about what is happening in the American southwest when farmers sell their water rights to sprawling cities. Is anything like this happening in Michigan?

Water: A New Cash Crop
Strapped growers are selling their rights to thirsty cities and suburbs, a
transfer that can parch farmland, businesses and jobs.

By Seth Hettena
Associated Press Writer

>snip from a very long article. . . .

January 4, 2004

ROCKY FORD, Colo. - Ron Aschermann could barely eke out a living raising
melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and other crops on his 300-acre farm. But
quitting the business will earn him more than $1.2 million.

Aschermann and scores of other farmers on the high plains of southeastern
Colorado are selling water, which once produced melons, to the Denver
suburb of Aurora. The prairie will retake land that has long known the
plow.. . . . . . . . .

"It's much easier to go the mailbox and pick up a check than it is to go
out there and put in a 60-, 70-, 80-hour week," said John Pierre
Menvielle, a third-generation farmer in Heber, Calif., who has been
raising crops in the valley for 32 years.

Farm towns in California have gone under when they lost their water to
cities. The Owens Valley, in the high desert east of the Sierra, became a
dust bowl when Los Angeles quietly acquired its water and flushed it down
an aqueduct to the city 90 years ago. The 1974 film "Chinatown" was
loosely based on what's been dubbed the "water grab."

"Whoever brings the water brings the people," wrote William Mulholland,
the aqueduct's legendary creator.

Modern-day water speculators still stalk the waterways of the West.

"The bell tolls when you create water markets, because all this is going
to do is shrink the number of farms," he said. "What we're talking about
is a means of moving from farms to cities."