America’s Water Woes. It’s Not Mismanagement. It’s a Heist.

June 28, 2024 in Columnists, News by RBN Staff


Source: Substack

by Reinette Senum

The shocking truth behind the country’s manufactured water scarcity.

Read on Substack


U.S. water woes have long been a topic of contention, with farmers, environmentalists, and urban dwellers all vying for their share of this precious resource. However, as super-sleuth and citizen journalist Elaine Buxton reveals in a 2022 interview, the real issue lies not in scarcity, but in the convoluted web of “water management” and the deliberate obfuscation of the true state of California’s water resources. This problem extends beyond California, affecting other states across America, most recently including Idaho.

This is my 2022 revealing interview with Elaine Buxton, exposing California’s water deception.


Citizen-Sleuth Elaine Buxton Uncovers California’s Great Water Heist

AUGUST 23, 2022
Citizen-Sleuth Elaine Buxton Uncovers California's Great Water Heist

In this interview, Reinette Senum is joined by citizen-sleuth Elaine Buxton, who has uncovered where California’s water has gone, how bad laws make it “legal,” and how Californians need to wake up before the collective well goes dry. Through laborious research of public records, official documents, and government meetings, Buxton exposes what is happeni…

Buxton, who has dedicated countless hours to searching through public documents and government websites, paints a bleak picture of a system rife with complexity and deception. She exposes…

…how water is quietly shifted between reservoirs, aquifers, and even out-of-state, creating the illusion of drought while vast quantities remain hidden from public view.

You can expect the same is happening across the entire U.S.. It’s a massive water heist.

If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to watch this 2022 documentary on water, The Grab. It’s absolutely disturbing and is a harbinger of what may be coming our way:


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), a behemoth among water wholesalers, plays a central role in this shell game. With its extensive network of reservoirs and contracts spanning multiple states, MWD wields immense power over the allocation and distribution of water. Yet, as Buxton points out, their actions often prioritize profit over the needs of farmers and the environment.

One particularly egregious example is the draining of Lake Mead in 2022, a key water source for the region. While the public was led to believe that drought was the culprit, Buxton revealed that the water was actually being diverted to downstream reservoirs like Lake Havasu, which remained full and hidden from the unknowing public. This sleight of hand allowed MWD to justify restrictions and rate hikes while sitting on a substantial water supply.

While Californians were led to believe in May 2022 that this was Lake Mead and that the reservoir’s low water levels were due to drought, few citizens knew this was literally drained out to be the “poster child” of California’s water woes. In actuality, the water was obfuscated from the public’s view to justify California’s water restrictions and rising water rates.


This cannot be simply chalked up to mismanagement. The impacts are far-reaching, and they are designed to be. Farmers in the Central Valley of California, once a thriving agricultural hub, are left with little choice but to fallow their fields or/and sell their water rights to MWD and other powerful entities such as Blackrock, Blackstone, Vanguard, and our favorite, Bill Gates.

The fallowing of California’s Central Valley farmland.

Meanwhile, the environment bears the brunt of excessive pumping and diversion. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a delicate ecosystem, is being starved of the freshwater it needs to maintain the balance between saltwater and freshwater, preventing saltwater intrusion of surrounding farmlands.


Buxton’s investigation also unearths the staggering amount of money involved in these water deals.

MWD, for example, stood to make $648 million in 2022 from a single agreement to buy water from the Coachella Valley.

This profit motive drives the relentless pursuit of water rights and the disregard for the long-term sustainability of California’s water resources.

The situation is further compounded by the labyrinthine nature of California’s water management system. With overlapping jurisdictions and a myriad of agencies, each with its own agenda, it becomes nearly impossible for the average citizen to understand where their water comes from and who is truly benefiting from its allocation.

Buxton argues that this complexity is not accidental but rather a deliberate tactic to keep the public in the dark. By making the system so convoluted, those in power can continue to manipulate water resources for their own gain while the rest of California is left to deal with the consequences.


Source: —

Yesterday afternoon, the department cynically painted groundwater users as unwilling to “take action to avoid curtailment,” but this portrayal is blatantly false. From 2016 through 2022 groundwater pumpers, on average, conserved (through pumping reductions and aquifer recharge) over 312,000 acre-feet of water annually — much more than was required under the 2015 settlement agreement between canal and groundwater users. Groundwater users have offered, several times, to pay to modernize the Twin Falls Canal, but that offer has been repeatedly rejected. About five months ago, our groundwater district submitted a robust mitigation plan to the department that included aggressive reductions in groundwater-irrigated acreage, ambitious investments in system improvements, and other activities. Other groundwater districts also submitted mitigation plans to the department, but the director has ignored each one, refusing to even set a hearing date for them. This spring, groundwater pumpers worked with neighboring canals to maximize aquifer recharge. And in May, at no small cost, groundwater irrigators leased enough storage water to fully cover our portion of the projected shortfall. That mitigation water, ultimately, was rejected by the director. In short, groundwater pumpers’ mitigation and conservation efforts have been repeatedly blocked by the director.

It’s hard to understand why the department chooses to be so openly hostile to groundwater irrigators or why they decided to inflict widespread, massive curtailment on the state in a year when water is abundantly plentiful. This is not what sound resource management looks like. It’s time for Idaho’s elected officials to step up and demonstrate true leadership on this crucial issue. This is not how Idaho water law, which relies on both “priority of time” and “the public policy of reasonable use of water,” was ever intended to work.



According to Buxton, the solution lies in transparency and accountability. She calls for real-time data on water allocation to be made easily accessible to the public. This would allow citizens to see exactly where their water is going and to hold those in charge accountable for their decisions.

Furthermore, Buxton advocates for a more equitable distribution of water rights, one that prioritizes the needs of farmers, the environment, and disadvantaged communities. This would require a fundamental shift in the way water is valued and managed in California, moving away from a system that treats it as a commodity to be exploited for profit.

As Americans face the challenges of the climate change hoax, predatory nations, mining, data centers, water bottling, and more usurping America’s groundwater (as addressed in my video commentary at the top of this post), the need for a transparent and sustainable water management system has never been more urgent.

It is time for Americans to demand answers and to hold their leaders accountable for the decisions that impact all of our lives and livelihoods. Only by shining a light on the dark corners of the U.S. water management systems can we hope to build a future where water is treated as the precious and shared resource it truly is.

But perhaps most importantly, we need an informed and engaged citizenry willing to demand change. For too long, we’ve taken our water for granted, assuming it would always be there when we turn on the tap. But as Buxton’s investigation makes clear, complacency has allowed a small group of insiders and other predatory hedgefunds and nations to hijack our water supply for their own gain.

Defending our farmland and water from Wall Street and foreign ownership is paramount to our survival. We must demand that our legislators pass bills supporting this. We must also stand with our farmers and ranchers when they defend their rights to provide Americans with food.

The path forward will not be easy, as entrenched interests and powerful entities will undoubtedly resist change because, as George Carlin famously said, Water is gold. However, as Buxton’s tireless work demonstrates, the truth has a way of finding its way to the surface, like a spring welling up from the depths of the earth.

It’s our responsibility to act upon it.



California’s Water Woes. Where Our Water is Really Going.

JULY 27, 2022
California's Water Woes. Where Our Water is Really Going.

It’s-all-the-farmers-fault. We hear it all the time. The farmers. They use too much water. They don’t care about the environment; They are greedy. Their carbon footprint is killing us. Those damn cows. They won’t stop farting. A couple of months ago, I wrapped up six months of on-the-road campaigning for CA governor, traveling up and down the very long st…

Champion of “Primary Water,” the Late Pal Pauer, in Two Rare Videos

OCTOBER 15, 2022
Champion of "Primary Water," the Late Pal Pauer, in Two Rare Videos

The above interview with Primary Water Institute founder, Pal Pauer, occurred in 2021. In August of 2015, during yet another drought in California, I brought Primary Water Institute founder Pal Pauer to my hometown, Nevada City, California. Though I was not a sitting city council member at that time, I still retained my solution-seeking orientation. …