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What Mountain Accord has to do With California Pistachios

One of the Mountain Accord tenants I am surprised no one is talking about relates to water. As part of the Mountain Accord, the ski resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons get more water for snowmaking. I’ve not seen documented how much extra water they are getting.

I was recently reading about the California drought and how agriculture accounts for 80% of the state’s water usage but is rarely talked about. That is starting to change where articles like this one in the Daily Beast are titled, “How Growers Gamed California’s Drought.” My favorite quote from that article is:

“‘I’ve been smiling all the way to the bank,’ said pistachio farmer John Dean at a conference hosted this month by Paramount Farms, the mega-operation owned by Stewart Resnick, a Beverly Hills billionaire known for his sprawling agricultural holdings, controversial water dealings, and millions of dollars in campaign contributions to high-powered California politicians.”

While it has been a wet spring, our winter in Utah was abysmal. I can envision a time when normal Utahns are required to ration water (like California today) but we’ve guaranteed extra water so that ski resorts can profit. We may look back and say”how did that happen? Only 5% of Utahns ski. There are scientists that say by the end of the century Park City will have zero snowpack.” Yet, we are willing to give up our most valuable resource…water… and for what? So that resorts can fight mother nature and survive as long as possible?

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that many times people have said that the Mountain Accord is all about the watershed. Yet, it appears we are willing to give some of that up (how much?) for the resorts. What if there isn’t much watershed in the future? Who gets what remains?

I think the question of water isn’t getting the attention it deserves. If we don’t start paying attention, in 10 years we may have wished we did.


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