Will Parrish, ANDERSON VALLEY ADVERTISER
The North Coast wine industry has long acted out a pathological conviction that it is entitled to virtually every single drop of water in every watershed it touches. As in the case of Sonoma County’s recent frost protection ordinance, which I detailed in the December 14 Anderson Valley Advertiser, the industry routinely rises up as one — along with their local government allies — to quash any restrictions on its ability to draw water with accustomed impunity, though that particular ordinance is now threatened by disagreements, it seems, about the degree of non-regulation the big corporate growers find acceptable. Yet, there are few industries more in need of restrictions on their water use.
In the past 20 years, the North Coast’s alcohol farmers have dried up countless creeks and streams, while choking off rivers and filling in their spawning pools with monumental amounts of sediment (entire hillsides worth). They have, moreover, poisoned what water remains with the full menu of chemical fertilizers, soil fumigants, growth hormones, herbicides, defoliants, fungicides, pesticides, and systemic poisons most growers use to ensure the bounty and sterility of their crops.