Like any journalist in these days of escalating water prices amid growing scarcity, Deborah Rybak maintains a keen interest in agriculture. So late last December, when she learned 56,000 acres of farmland had changed hands on the island of Maui, her reporter’s radar went on full alert. Rybak writes for Maui Time, the island’s leading news journal. The selling price alone—$262 million—was enough to pique her interest. Anyone with that […]
Water, History, and the Environment: Part I
When local residents met in Knights Ferry last month to discuss the effects of the almond boom on their quality of life, the emphasis was on domestic wells running dry, but there were many other concerns. One that received little media attention was the effects of almond orchards on wildlife. “Your people are shooting the deer,” said one man who lives near orchards owned by Trinitas Partners. “We used to […]
Did Trinitas Buy the Irrigation District?
After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Robert Frobose’s great-grandfather rebuilt his grocery store, then sold it and moved to Oakdale, where he began farming. “I was born into the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID),” said Frobose recently. “We still have one of my great grandfather’s ranches.” A rice farmer, Frobose is keenly aware of his crop’s water needs. When he learned this year’s allocation of water for senior OID members would […]
Water for Free?
“It’s almost like you live in Fairyland,” said Steve Knell last Thursday in a meeting in the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) boardroom. Knell is the district’s General Manager. He was responding to repeated queries from farmer Bob Frobose about OID’s apparent willingness to deliver water to Trinitas Partners while cutting back allotments for farmers with more senior water rights. Trinitas Partners, a consortium of investors led by three Bay Area […]