Tuesday, July 30, 2013

News articles and links from July 30, 2013

Trinity River

From: Devan Schwartz, Klamath Falls Herald & News

The Bureau of Reclamation will announce next week whether it plans to release additional water to help prevent a Klamath River fish kill, prompting threats of legal challenges to the proposed action.

From: Editorial, Redding Record Searchlight

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is doing the right thing by the environment in planning to release a late-summer slug of water down the Trinity River to help ensure a healthy run of salmon.

But in the process, it's flushing millions of dollars downstream. It's drawing what will surely be a hard-fought lawsuit from increasingly thirsty irrigators. And it will further increase north state utility ratepayers' already rising electric bills. Is it worth the cost?

(The following comment is posted to the above articles.) 
Coalition response...The proposed release of water down the Trinity River is above and beyond the Record Of Decision for the Trinity River that specifies and limits the quantity of water dedicated annually to the fishery. That decision has significantly reduced the amount of water that was historically delivered to the Central Valley Project and farmers in the Central Valley who grow the food we depend upon. Action taken last year by Reclamation to send the additional water down the Trinity was also controversial and provided unclear benefits to the Klamath river salmon. A repeat of that action this year will reduce the water supply to farmers who have had their supplies cut by 80 percent. It is no surprise that water agencies are fighting on behalf of their customers to keep water flowing to their farms rather than losing more water for Klamath River salmon, a fish that is not listed as endangered.   


From: David Sneed, SLO Tribune

County planners have outlined a series of emergency steps county supervisors could take to minimize depletion of the Paso Robles groundwater basin.

Included are prohibitions of any new plantings of irrigated crops, bans on conversion of dry land farming or grazing land to irrigated crops and limitations on building new development if it is dependent upon the groundwater basin.

From: Julie Lynem, SLO Tribune

The way to replenish the Paso Robles groundwater basin is not to impose restrictions on the agricultural community, but to push for a California Water District that would have the power to establish short-term and long-term solutions to stabilize the aquifer.

That's the message from the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, a group of vineyard owners and other agriculturalists who want to establish a special district that could obtain loans to help people dig deeper wells, as well as fund projects to get supplemental water.

Colorado River 

From: William deBuys, LA Times

John Wesley Powell, whose legendary descent of the Colorado River in 1869 brought the one-armed explorer fame and celebrity, worried about America's westward migration. The defining characteristic of Western lands was their aridity, he wrote, and settlement of the West would have to respect the limits aridity imposed.

He was half right.

The subsequent story of the West can indeed be read as an unending duel between society's thirst and the dryness of the land, but in downtown Phoenix, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, you'd hardly know it.


From: Joe Scott, Western Farm Press

Farming in California's Central Valley has many advantages. Controlling the timing of applied water to thirsty crops is one benefit which growers in other areas of the world would like to have, versus relying on unreliable rainfall.

There are disadvantages too.

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