1 of 2 The battle over water rights has been playing out across the country for decades, as states seek to increase their supply of freshwater, and the federal government seeks to slow its rise in demand.
As the water war heats up, some industries and business groups are taking aim at companies that have long been critical of the government’s actions.
The war over water Rights in California, which supplies water to more than two-thirds of the state, are a key focus of a new campaign by California’s corporate water conservation organization, CalWatchdog, which has launched a new web campaign, “CalWatchdog: Water, Water, Everywhere.”
The campaign is based on a 2007 article by the environmental group Greenpeace titled, “The Water Wars,” in which the group argued that water rights were the source of global poverty.
A campaign that began a month ago in California followed by the states of Oregon and Washington has gained momentum.
The group’s chief executive, Mark Hosenball, told Bloomberg News that the new campaign was launched as a response to a federal judge’s ruling in favor of the California-based environmental group Sierra Club, which challenged the state’s water allocation rules in 2013.
Hosenball said the new initiative would target companies that “have a long history of supporting and profiting from the government and using water to advance their interests.”
The California-centric campaign, called CalWatch, will focus on two companies, one of which is a major water-rights advocate.
California’s biggest water companies, which include Southern California Edison, PG&E and Southern California Water, are among those who oppose the state allocation rules.
In a statement, Southern California said it was “disappointed by today’s decision.”
A spokesman for the Southern California-owned Los Angeles Public Utilities Commission, which administers water-conservation rules in Southern California, said the commission had “taken all necessary steps to ensure compliance with the law.”
PG&Es and Southern Southern California are among the largest utilities in California.
On the other side of the water-war is a new movement called Water Justice.
The campaign seeks to bring more attention to the water rights struggles of California’s water-consuming companies, as well as the struggles of communities that rely on those companies.
“We are here to make it clear that these water rights are not just about the corporations that are profiting off the water,” said Water Justice co-founder Robert Dreyfuss, an environmental lawyer.
As the water wars heat up, a new group called the Water Justice Coalition is also working to make its case, with its new website, CalWater, which will highlight California’s role in the water scarcity crisis.
It is also organizing a series of events, including a weeklong march from Oakland to San Francisco, which aims to highlight California as a state that is responsible for much of the environmental degradation.
Water justice activists have also called for a new kind of national water justice movement.
For now, the California water rights battle is focused on the state level, but other state governments are also taking up the fight.
The state of Michigan, for example, has announced plans to hold a statewide water conference, to be held later this year.
And in May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was in the process of forming a statewide Water Justice Council, which could have as many as 20 members representing a broad range of stakeholders, including farmers, environmentalists and others.
Statewide, the fight over water is being waged in many other states, too.
Several states are working on water plans to address water shortages, including Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.
In North Dakota, the governor said last month that the state will create a task force to investigate the state of water, noting that the drought has made the state “a disaster.”
North Dakota has a population of about 5 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
States with drought-affected regions include Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.
Last week, California’s governor announced a new plan to build an “aquaculture hub” to create jobs, improve infrastructure and expand water rights.
It will be built near the Port of Los Angeles, which serves more than 80,000 customers.
The project will include a 10-acre reservoir, and an aquaponics farm and wastewater treatment plant, according the announcement.