Craig Newmark ("No, Farmers Don’t Use 80 Percent of California’s Water"):
Since I've seen the "80 percent" figure used in a number of places, this piece is timely and useful.
To be clear, whatever the figure, California farmers are using too much water, water whose costs exceed their benefits. But that is because of government subsidies and those subsidies are obtained partly through the farmers' political clout. It's another example of how government often actually works, as opposed to the Liberals' fantasy of how it always works.
David Zetland at Aguanomics is using the 80% number and I put more trust in Aguanomics than the National Review. But, I agree that the actual number doesn't really matter so I'm scratching my head at the title of that post.
Being a tie-dye wearing hippie I think I have the authority to comment on liberal fantasies. Yes, money corrupts politics and government. I don't think liberals, or anyone who suggests government intervention when there is a market failure, are naive about this corrupting force. Blaming liberals for California's water problems seems to be a knee-jerk reaction rooted in partisanship, not economics.
For the record, my liberal fantasy is that farmer subsidies should be removed (and I'm OK with paying the true cost of strawberries) and water should be priced more efficiently for every water using sector of the economy.