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.
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 residents...it 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.
From Sacramento Bee – Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
By George J. Janczyn
From Groksurf – Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
From Chico Enterprise-Record – Sunday, July 31, 2011
From SJ Mercury News – Sunday, July 31, 2011
From The Record – Saturday, July 30, 2011
By Alex Breitler
From The Record– Friday, July 29, 2011
From ACWA – Friday, July 29, 2011
By M. Rhead Enion
From Sacramento Bee – Saturday, July 30, 2011
From Merced Sun-Star – Friday, July 29, 2011