Monday, August 1, 2011

News articles and links from Aug 1, 2011

Water supply

Surplus water flowing to state’s farms, reservoirs


From Sacramento Bee – Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coalition response...The premise of this article seems to be that farmers and other water users are not paying enough for “surplus” water. If State and federal agencies did not offer the water, what would happen to it? It would flow unused to the ocean; not benefitting farmers, urban folks or the environment. Before you go ballistic and claim that the environment can always use more water, think about what this water represents. Both State and federal agencies have ruled that this water is considered “surplus” because it is not needed to fulfill any required need.

These same agencies realize that there is a beneficial use for the water by farmers and urban folks and to convince their suppliers to purchase the water the price is lowered.

Would it be better to let this water flow away with no beneficial use? Or is it better to receive some benefit from it? The answer seems simple.

Price Matters – Water Conservation and the California Farm Bureau


By Barry Nelson,

From NRDC – Friday, July 29, 2011

Coalition response...This blog leaves the reader with two thoughts: (1) Some California farmers receive highly subsidized water; and (2) farmers who use flood irrigation must not pay much for their water. Both of these thoughts need further understanding than what is presented in this article.

What is “highly subsidized water”? Water in California is free for all users, both farmers and urban is the cost of delivery and, in the case of urban users, the treatment that the users pay. Congress granted farmers receiving water from the federal Central Valley Project a waiver from paying the interest charges on the construction of the project, including Shasta Dam. These farmers pay all other costs, including the annual operation and maintenance of the system. Farmers receiving water from the California’s State Water Project pay all costs associated with the water. Farmers who use groundwater, regardless of their location, pay the power costs to lift the water to the surface. So, where is this “highly subsidized water”?

Farmers who use flood irrigation practices do so for a myriad of reasons. The irregularity or availability of the water may be such that it prevents a pressure system such as micro-irrigation from being employed. The availability of power to run the pressure system also may not be available depending on location. It is important to recognize that when flood irrigation is used, the water that seeps into the groundwater aquifer benefits the aquifer. In rural areas, communities near these flood-irrigated farms receive a benefit from the recharged aquifer.

The author is right in claiming that price matters for farmers in deciding their irrigation practices. Water, just like the power to pump it from the groundwater aquifer, are factors that determine the profit/loss of the farm. I know no farmer who ignores their bottom line when deciding how to irrigate their crops. If they can find a way to increase their use efficiency and reduce their costs, they will do it. In fact, many already have.


Imagine a Yosemite with Hetch Hetchy open to all again


From Sacramento Bee – Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

Mexico might receive Colorado River water via the All-American Canal


By George J. Janczyn

From Groksurf – Monday, Aug. 1, 2011


Review of Delta Plan includes myriad alternatives


From Chico Enterprise-Record – Sunday, July 31, 2011

Delta is highly vulnerable to climate change


From SJ Mercury News – Sunday, July 31, 2011

Forum stresses critical future of the Delta


From The Record – Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lengthy report, lengthy meeting


By Alex Breitler

From The Record– Friday, July 29, 2011

Delta Plan Must Create Value for Those Financing It


From ACWA – Friday, July 29, 2011


Comprehensive groundwater rules are needed


By M. Rhead Enion

From Sacramento Bee – Saturday, July 30, 2011


Cardoza and Costa announce $9.5 M in federal funding for state farmers


From Merced Sun-Star – Friday, July 29, 2011

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