From: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sacramento Bee
Flying over California recently on my way back to Washington, I was dismayed to see how bone-dry the state is so early in the summer season.
There was virtually no snowpack. Lakes and reservoirs are circled with rings of barren, dry soil. And plumes of smoke from forest fires dot the skies, something that will worsen as the fire season progresses.
The message is clear: We must do more to prepare for increasingly harmful dry years by capturing more water in wet years. In short, California needs a lot more water storage - and we need it now.
Coalition response... Senator Feinstein understands the dire situation water users in California face. Improving Delta conveyance by implementing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and adding storage to capture more water in wet years will help thousands of family farmers and millions of consumers through improved reliability. It will also help native fish species, such as the endangered Chinook salmon, by having more cold water in the rivers when they need it most.
The Senator is right in urging state leaders to act before the situation goes from bad to worse. We agree with Senator Feinstein that modifying the Endangered Species Act should be considered to help regain balance in managing our state's water scarcity. We don't know exactly what combination of actions it will take to ultimately resolve California's long-term water supply crisis but a lot of land devoted to food production is at risk without relief in one form or another.
Unfortunately, the Senator's statement that Reclamation may be able to achieve a water supply equivalent to 40% south of the Delta is overly optimistic. Assessment of Reclamation's current efforts to address this year's water supply shortages suggests that they may only result in a 1% increase. The inability of Reclamation to address this year's water supply shortage is sadly another demonstration of just how broken California's water system is.
Fortunately Senator Feinstein is willing to pursue all avenues that can provide immediate relief during this historic drought and, at the same time, look ahead to addressing what will continue to be extraordinary regulatory and water supply challenges in the coming months.
Bay Delta Conservation Plan
From: Mike Wade, Sacramento Bee
Re: "Delta tunnel plan repeats mistakes of 1960s" (Letters, sacbee.com, June 12): Much of California's water storage and delivery system was designed and built in the 1960s when our state's populations was about 16 million; today's population has jumped to 38 million. No one questions the need to modernize this water system and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the right project to do that.
From: DWR Staff, Baydeltaconservationplan.com
In October 2012 the DWR Agricultural Land Stewardship Workgroup (ALS Workgroup) distributed a paper called the BDCP and Delta Farmland Discussion Paper. The DWR ALS Workgroup is now beginning the next phase of the paper's development called the Draft Agricultural Land Stewardship Strategies Discussion Paper. Even with implementation of the mitigation measures and commitments proposed in the administrative draft BDCP and EIR/EIS, there will still be impacts to Delta agriculture.
From: Friant Water Authority, Friant Waterline
An about-face by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge may have cleared the way for the Central California Regional Water Quality Control Board to proceed with approval and implementation of its controversial southern San Joaquin Valley groundwater-related quality regulations aimed at controlling nitrate discharges.
From: Sentinel Editorial Board, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Considering the role agriculture has played in the history and identity of Santa Cruz County, it has been surprising the overall economic impact of the industry had not been added up.
Now it has -- $1.5 billion a year in 2011 and more than 11,000 jobs.
From: Rand Green, The Produce News
Total acreage planted and yet to be planted this season for cantaloupes on the West Side of California's San Joaquin Valley is expected to be similar to last year, with perhaps a slight variation up or down depending on the observer.
But what is apparent is that there has been some shift in where the acreage is planted, as water restrictions, particularly in the Westlands Water District, which supplies federal water to much of the West Side, has put some traditional melon acreage out of production.
From: Friant Water Authority, Friant Waterline
There is no denying that the current water year's conditions have been extremely dry but nature has provided the San Joaquin River with a welcomed supply surprise. As a result, Friant Division users of Central Valley Project Class 1 water have received a pair of water supply increases during June's first two weeks.