Sunday Morning Fish Wrap: So Thirsty!

The Fish Wrap: a spasmodic caboodle of captivating bits and bobs, loosely grouped by subject matter around personal finance, investing, news, and maybe the odd rant or recipe.

California drought

Lake near San Luis Obispo, CA

“Whiskey is for drinkin’, water is for fightin'” ~ Mark Twain

Well, this is what happens when you live under a self-placed rock, you miss the story of California’s ongoing drought.

Not that I’m a stranger to this topic, having canvassed door-to-door for a Bay Area environmental group back in college years (hey, I needed the work, starving student and all that…). “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner was almost required reading, as training material for the squads of earnest young people who would cadge donations from enviro-shamed affluent suburbanites.

Back then in the mid-80’s, the Peripheral canal was a huge issue.  Taking Delta water and piping it down to those bubble-headed wastrels in SoCal, for the filling up of pools and water of lawns.

Today, the issue is… sending more water down south.

Of somewhat more pressing concern, is how an industry that utilizes 80 percent of the state’s water still manages to grow water-intensive crops like rice, alfalfa, cotton and hay with flood-irrigation techniques.   Well, it’s only possible if a farmer is only paying a fraction per acre-foot of water compared to a municipal water district.  Something like $20/acre-foot to $1,000/acre-foot, give or take a few hundred or thousands (depends on your district’s geographic location).   All this thanks to century-old water contracts managed by the US Federal Bureau of Reclamation.   Nothing like good old-fashioned government intervention to obfuscate and distort price signals.

According to National Geographic, drought in the western states is a long-term trend.  Maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t.  If it is, and with California being the nation’s greengrocer, there might be changes and opportunities to look out for.  Higher prices for lemons and almonds?  Limoneira (Nasdaq: LMNR) and Calavo Growers (Nasdaq: CVGW) good candidates for a big short? Wait and see, I suppose.


Other weekend reading…

On Ars Technica, a pickle chandelier.  In the UK, it’s “gherkin”.    In Oklahoma, they’d be fried.

Even if it’s only $10 bucks from your Paypal account, do your own due diligence (DYODD).  Even crowd-funding is ripe for fraudsters.

The number-crunchers at Don’t Quit Your Day Job, with a look at U.S. debt and the most recent Russian debacle.  First fun fact from the list of Treasuries holders helpfully posted by DQYDJ:  Belgium is the No. 3 creditor, behind China and Japan.  Second fun fact:  Turkey holds almost twice as much as Israel.

Did we say $1,000 per acre-foot? How about $2,000? That’s how much San Diego is willing to pay for acre-foot[1] of desalinated water.

On Make Money Your Way, Pauline expounds on internships vs. summer jobs.

Eat mor choklat, it’s good for your gut, in a non-adipose kinda way.

On investing, here’s Control Your Cash‘s coverage of Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs).  Yes, it’s more than two years old, and so what?  There’s no sell-by date on good information.  Uh, unless the laws on MLPs change, that is.

Rental property returns, from Sandy @ Yes, I Am Cheap.

Modern Graham has been cranking out those valuations. Here MG takes on an analysis of Microsoft.  Good buy, yes, no?  Maybe.  We’re holding 10 shares for Number One Son, purchased for him at his behest just in advance of the new X-Box release.    He was surprised to learn that SharePoint is MSFT’s fastest growing product.


That’s it for this week, folks. Irregularly published content is the norm around here. Travel, spring gardening, and most recently, F.I.R.S.T. robotics competition for Number One Son… all get in the way of regular posting.  Subscribing by Email and joining the brigade regiment company platoon squad of 101C loyalists is encouraged and appreciated.  Twitter is even better (according to the folks at Twitter).


[1] An acre-foot, by the way, is how much water is needed to create an acre-wide kiddie pool. Or, if you prefer, 325,851.432 gallons.

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  1. The drought is bad and isn’t getting any better. You’d think nothing would be blooming because the ground would be too dry, but things are blooming like crazy. And my allergies are going nuts. It sure was a short winter this year.
    Untemplater recently posted..Deciding Between A Full Time Job, Part Time, And Self Employment

  2. That drought lake is very scary, I remember before, there was one movie, all the people were fighting for a drop of water. All the lakes and even the seas were already dry.
    Marie @ Financial Debauchery recently posted..How Does It Feel to be Rich? Just Ask My Dog – He Knows!

  3. Thanks for all the interesting resources. That drought is promising to raise way too many prices for food and more around the country. Hopefully things will improve.

  4. Two thousand dollah per acre-foot? Seriously?

    That is not good. Not good at all.

    If farmers had to pay the same fare for water as city dwellers do, the price of those city dwellers’ food (and clothing…clothes are made of cotton) would go way, way up. Both are artificially depressed right now — food by government agricultural subsidies and clothing by outsourcing manufacture to sweatshops overseas.
    Funny about Money recently posted..KJG’s Irises!

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