While reading The Tamarisk Hunter, I found it crazy how digestible and tangible this reality felt; fiction has a way of doing that. While the story depicts a future in which California has purchased significant water rights for the Colorado River, causing many upstream inhabitants to suffer, this story is but a hypothetical depiction of a reality that has already unfolded in front of our eyes.
The Owen’s Valley and the Mono drainage basin have already been subjected to these exact circumstances, so much so that the Mono Lake water level dropped so low that the Mono County Water Committee sued LAPD over misuse of the water from the drainage. Many inhabitants of the Owen’s valley have dry wells, and native American populations in particular struggle to acquire sufficient water because of the comfort necessities of the rich in LA. While this story depicts national struggles across state borders, we don’t need to look that far to see the present truth in this.
Being as anthropocentric as we are, we neglect to see the effects of the misuse of water rights that are already effecting ecosystems relatively uninhabited by humans, such as LA’s extraction of water from underneath the Mojave desert, an aquifer which is nearly the only water supply to many plants which sustain desert life.
For a couple years, LA’s misuse of water rights has been a fascination of mine which I hope to soon start combatting from a political side by joining the Mono County Water Committee. I have spent the last few years preparing to move to Bishop, CA to work to return sovereign water rights to its’ locals. This story is not fully a false narrative, it is a fictional depiction of present truth.