By Paige Gilligan
In my May 2021 article, I mentioned that “Whiskey’s for drinking…water’s for fighting!” However, everyone and (most) everything needs water to survive. There is no need to “fight” over a resource when people’s actions benefit the greater good and not just their own best interests. It is for this reason that I want to mention World Smile Day 2021. World Smile Day was the first Friday in October. The theme of the day was “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.” If everyone does one thing to make someone else smile, the world would be a much kinder and happier place.
It’s no coincidence that World Smile Day comes just before Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 3-9, 2021) where we raise awareness that mental illnesses are treatable medical conditions, and that there is help and hope for children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. So, what do these celebration days have to do with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)?
SGMA has caused a great deal of stress among farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. Many people have been dealing with “The Monsters Under Their Beds” since 2014 when SGMA was passed into law. The basins that were classified as critically overdrafted had to submit their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) by January 31, 2020. The Central Valley of California was mostly classified as critically overdrafted, so the GSAs (Groundwater Sustainability Agencies) in this area have already began moving toward reaching their sustainable yield within the basin. We have had the opportunity to learn and grow through the process. Now it is our time to do an act of kindness and help one person…with dealing with SGMA.
All other basins (not critically overdrafted) must have their GSPs completed and submitted by January 31, 2022. This date is quickly coming upon us and is only four months away. In the scheme of cooperation and getting opposing sides to compromise, 120 days feels like the last part of the sand flowing through the hourglass of time. Your friends and colleagues “up North” who may have not been worrying about SGMA previously, now are scrambling to review the effects of possible changes to their operations.
It’s now up to those who have already been through the first round of SGMA Stress to assist those who are experiencing the stress for the first time. If you are looking for ways you can do little acts of kindness, here are a few ideas:
- Give a heartfelt compliment to someone in your water/irrigation district about something they’ve done, made or achieved
- Leave kind notes (or emails) for people in another city to brighten their day
- Smile at everyone you encounter at the next community meeting and just see how many smiles you get back!
- Send a card to a friend or someone you met at the last conference you attended to thank them for being great
For those of you that are in a critically overdrafted basin, you may still be experiencing stress due to the fact that detailed surface water curtailment plans are not readily available in all (or even many) areas. An amazing thing that happens when you smile is that you are telling your brain that you are feeling positive and happy. In response to this, your brain releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, which are sometimes called ‘happy hormones’ because they help to boost your mood. You can think of your smile as the best free gift – giving a smile to someone makes you feel happy, and the person receiving it feels very happy too! www.SchoolofKindness.org
Even though growers have not received all the rules on how to play the SGMA game, there are ways to take some of the stress out of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Call, click or stop by Risk Mitigators & Advisors’ office at 2525 Alluvial Avenue, Suite 151, Clovis, California 93611 to discuss how we may be able to assist you with your water risk analysis during these transitional times.
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