Monday, July 15, 2013

News articles and links from July 15, 2013

Water Supply

From: J.M. Rademacher, Bakersfield Californian

As we contemplate future drought and potable water rationing, our state is uniquely situated with a vast coastline of Pacific Ocean sea water.

Visualize three desalinization (reverse-osmosis) plants situated at north, central and south shores of our state. These plants could be combustion and air-pollution free, and might require a relatively small amount of emission pollutants to construct.

Coalition response...Looking for new water supplies is always a good idea. Studies are underway on several projects---Upper Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River, Sites Reservoir in western Colusa County and raising Shasta Dam---that would increase the water supply for California. It is estimated that 120 desalination plants the size of the recently approved Poseidon facility in San Diego would be required to meet the 6 MAF requirements of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. With 840 miles of California coastline, a desal plant would have to be placed every seven miles and would still not connect to our current water distribution system. Plans already under, such as the above and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, would be much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than lining our coastline with desal plants.  

Water Supply

From: Wall Street Journal

President Obama says he wants to "redesign government" and deliver services in a "smarter" way. Terrific. Perhaps he could start by ensuring a reliable water supply to people living in the devolving state of California.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation this spring cut water deliveries to farmers and the two-thirds of Californians who live south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to between 20% and 35% of their contractual allocations. The reason? Because 300 three-inch smelt were caught in the pumps at the south end of the delta. Since the smelt is designated "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, it's being protected at literally all costs.

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

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two massive water diversion tunnels in the Delta has hogged the spotlight in the crowded theater of California water issues. But contract negotiations going on backstage could prove just as significant.

The state and federal water agencies that control most of Northern California's water are negotiating new contracts with their 279 farm and urban water buyers. These contracts will govern those relationships - and extend the government's obligation to provide water - for decades.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Editorial Board, Sacramento Bee  

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is in a unique position to influence at least a partial resolution of the brewing battle over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The question is: Can he use his leverage in a way that benefits both the district he represents and the state of California he serves?

From: Dan Ray, Delta Stewardship Council  

This letter presents the attached comments by the staff of the Delta Stwardship Council (DSC), working with our Arcadis consultant team, on the 2013 administrative draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) EIR/S.


From: Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio

Fish -- including endangered species like the Delta smelt -- are put in holding tanks then trucked to other parts of the Delta and released. From there, little is known about their fate. But most scientists agree it's not good. Predator often wait for what amounts to a daily feeding.


From: Becky Oskin, The Weather Channel

Severe drought parched the Southwest from Texas to California and heat waves set record-high temperatures. A New Mexico firestorm nearly killed 24 firefighters.

Sound familiar? Those were actually the events of 1950 in America, not 2013. In that year, natural cycles in Pacific and Atlantic oceans' sea-surface temperatures combined to create extreme heat and drought across the United States. And the pattern is repeating.


From: Associated Press, Contra Costa Times
From: Associated Press, Modesto Bee
From: Associated Press, Sacramento Bee

Members of a task force looking for solutions to the Klamath Basin's water woes should seize an opportunity that may not come again if they don't act, the natural resources adviser to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said.

The drought in the basin that has led to another irrigation shut-off this year underscores the significance of the panel, convened by Kitzhaber and members of the state's congressional delegation, the Klamath Falls Herald and News reported Friday.


From: Josh Abel, ACWA

The House of Representatives on July 10 approved a fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill by a vote of 227-198.


From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Beehive

Water experts, lawmakers and government officials will field questions from the public in a Delta Water Summit, scheduled 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Fresno State's Satellite Student Union.

I will write a story about it in the next week or so, but it's time to get the word out about the summit on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Public leaders, scientists, biologists and engineers have been working years on a plan to revive the declining delta ecosystem while providing a more certain water supply. The plan is slowly reaching critical mass, with state leaders focused on two large water supply tunnels.

Though the process has been contentious, the public has not followed it closely. This is an attempt to explain the issues and answer questions, according to the Latino Water Coalition, a Valley group that organized the summit.

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