Opinion: Back Forty — A crash course in California water politics
When farmers turned the San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural powerhouse in the 20th century, they dammed and drained its central river … siphoned water from Northern California’s river systems and brought it south to thirsty farmland. … Released on streaming platforms earlier this month, [the documentary film] River’s End is an urgent crash course on the water wars that are shaping California—and, by extension, the U.S. food system. Viewers get a primer on California’s major rivers and salmon runs, then watch as agribusiness—and the city of Los Angeles—wreak havoc on them, with moneyed interests seizing water through lobbying and shady deals.
–Written by Teresa Cotsirilos, a staff writer and producer at FERN, where she covers food systems, labor, and climate change in the Western US.