Monday, July 29, 2013

News articles and links from July 29, 2013

Water Supply

From: Chris Fenstermaker, Sacramento Bee

Re "Vineyards gulping water" (Letters, July 24): The letter writer rightly worries about the impact on groundwater supplies as more and more land is devoted to vineyards near Galt. His estimates of water requirements for vines remind me of my concern for water every time I drive down Interstate 5 to Los Angeles.

Coalition response...Chris Fenstermaker needs to be more careful when he tries to compare one farming region in California with another. Water use on a vineyard in Galt is pretty much the same as it is for the orchards he complains about along I-5. The fact is for 20 years almost 4,000 farms on the San Joaquin Valley's Westside have faced water supply cuts from 40 percent, to 60 percent to as much as 90 percent by a federal bureaucracy that has dismissed the impacts of its decisions on the people who live and work there. The food-producing capability of the Westside is important to California consumers and to the state's economy. It provides jobs and economic stability. Perhaps Mr. Fenstermaker should be thinking more about the impacts on society of a large segment of the population being unemployed.


From: John McManus, Modesto Bee

Steve Knell and Jeff Shields of the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts miss some basic facts in their July 19 op-ed calling for predator eradication to help salmon ("Stop studying salmon and start doing something").

Coalition response...It is unbelievable that someone like John McManus who heads the Golden Gate Salmon Association could possibly ignore the largest single controllable force affecting the future of California's salmon industry.

He seems to think that predators will curb their diets if diversions from rivers are curtailed. I guess he assumes that the feeding frenzy in the Tuolumne River will go away if water delivered to cities and homes and to farms that grow the food we eat is reduced. A federal survey recently revealed that 93% of the juvenile salmon in the Tuolumne were eaten by predator fish. Not surprising, at a time when salmon populations reached their lowest, the numbers of bass that feast on baby salmon have skyrocketed (

Why isn't McManus talking to the bass industry about that?

Water Supply

From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

From the bathtub rings around our reservoirs, to the salty Delta lapping up against our levees, there is ample evidence that in the span of just two years California's water supply has shifted from wealth to want.

The state has not formally declared a drought, but water managers are using words like "dire" to describe the situation - particularly if next winter disappoints.

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

A little more than halfway through his term as president of the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, Matt Dessert is appealing for cooperation from the agricultural community, saying that time is of the essence if it wishes to help the IID tackle the many water-use issues it faces.

From: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press

If there was one thing that struck a chord with a group of cotton growers from the southern Plains states of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas touring California recently it was the incredible amount of regulations California farmers must deal with on a daily basis to produce food and fiber.

For instance, visiting growers heard about California's water woes and how farmers who depend on irrigation water from the California State Water Project receive a scant 20 percent of their promised allocation of water to produce crops. The result of that is no more evident than in the vast amount of fallow land tour participants saw along the western side of the San Joaquin Valley.

"Farmers in Texas wouldn't tolerate this," said Donald Kirksey, a cotton grower from Lorenzo, Texas

From: George J. Janczyn, Groksurt's San Diego

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has agreed to contribute funding in the amount of $1,025,000 in fiscal year 2013 for a San Diego Watershed Basin Study proposed by the City of San Diego along with two other local agencies.

There are uncertainties associated with Northern California and Colorado River water (regulatory restrictions and dry conditions, respectively) upon which the San Diego region relies for 70-90% of its needs. While previous work has been done to address the potential gap between supply and demand from the above causes, the potential climate change effects were not taken into account. The proposed watershed basin study would analyze those effects.


From: Staff, Bakersfield Californian  

FarmsReach, an online information-sharing and business platform for farmers, just launched a new Water and Irrigation Toolkit with resources recommended by successful farmers and specialists in water and irrigation.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Press Release, San Diego County Water Authority  

The San Diego County Water Authority's Board of Directors on Thursday provided guidance to staff on the scope of its proposed analysis of alternatives for fixing water supply reliability and ecosystem problems plaguing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta in Northern California.

To date, the Water Authority has not endorsed any specific project proposal for improving water conveyance through or around the Bay-Delta, which provides about 20 percent of the region's water supplies. In recent years, the Bay-Delta has become less reliable as a supply source and its habitat has deteriorated, increasing concerns over ecosystem viability.

From: Maven, Maven's Notebook   

At the July 23rd meeting of Metropolitan's Special Committee on the Bay-Delta, Dr. David Sunding presented the economic case for the BDCP to committee members, arguing that the benefits of the project far outweigh the costs. During his presentation, he discussed how the benefits to water contractors were calculated, addressed the differing baselines between the EIR/EIS and the analysis in BDCP's Chapter 9, and responded to some of the comments on the analysis by interest groups that have been received so far.

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