Wednesday, June 19, 2013

News articles and links from June 19, 2013


From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee

Growers jammed into the Westlands Water District field shop Tuesday to hear bad news: Expect a zero percent water allocation next February if winter doesn't start out stormy.

A leader with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which sells water to the farmers, described a bleak situation, but stopped short of predicting zero next year. Westlands general manager Tom Birmingham didn't hesitate.


From: Pamela Martineau, ACWA

State and federal agencies have made progress in major planning and regulatory actions in the Delta, but their efforts lack integration, which has led to polarization, according to the 2013 report card on the Delta that was released June 18 by the Delta Vision Foundation.

From: Albert Kammerer, Sacramento Bee

Re "State has been slow at spigot with millions in U.S. water aid" (Capitol & California, June 17): It is a sad state in which any percentage of the population must go without drinkable water.

If this governor wants to leave a legacy, there are many more rewarding projects than rail or raping the Delta to the benefit of Southern California water barons.

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee
From: Matt Weiser, Modesto Bee

California water officials are moving to store large piles of rock and sand in key locations throughout the Delta, including Brannan Island state park, as part of a broader effort to improve flood response.

The California Department of Water Resources was directed by 2008 legislation to stockpile "flood fight" materials at strategic points in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This includes large rocks up to 2 feet in diameter, known as riprap, and the conveyor belts and cranes necessary to move it.


From: Jerry McNerney,

"I have long asked that the people of the Bay-Delta region have a seat at the table when it comes to any plan related to the BDCP.  I was pleased to have the attention of Governor Brown's administration today and look forward to our meeting tomorrow; however, I will only be satisfied when I see concrete results.


From: Phyllis Ehlert, Sacramento Bee

Re "Wave of suits hits Delta Plan" (Page A1, June 18): Finally, people are speaking up. Some of the biggest Southern California water users are farmers. Read history to understand that irrigated farming is a delaying tactic. Babylon had fertile fields and a greater population than modern day Iraq until its agriculture collapsed.


From: Julie Lynem, The Tribune

Richard Sauret never studied viticulture at a university, but after decades of working on vineyards in his native Paso Robles, he said it doesn't take a college degree to understand that grapes do not need tons of water to produce quality wine.

For years, Sauret, former president of the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area, has dry farmed zinfandel wine grapes on his 40-acre property off Drake Road. He relies on annual rainfall and plants vines less densely so that their roots have to search for water.

From: Robert Hargreaves, Bakersfield Californian

The headline in the June 13 Californian read "Chinese demand for dairy products has a big environmental impact on California," but most of the full-page story had little to do with China. Instead, it was devoted to telling everything that is supposedly wrong with California dairies.

The authors, Susanne Rust and Serene Fang of the Center for Investigative Reporting, obtain their information from second- and third-hand sources.

From: Jeannette Warnert, Western Farm Press

Will berries taste like colored Styrofoam if water supplies for farmers are cut? Or will a reduction in irrigation only intensify their flavor?

To find out, farm advisors around the state are comparing strawberries, blueberries and blackberries grown under four irrigation regimes - one that reflects the normal practice, one half the normal amount of water, one 75 percent of normal, and one that is 25 percent more than normal. The studies are being conducted in Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Fresno counties.


From: Contra Costa Times, AP (Previously appeared on,

Environmental and fishing groups have filed a lawsuit against a broad, long-range plan to manage the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The lawsuit - announced on Monday - is the fourth lawsuit filed against the Delta Plan over the past month.

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