Thursday, August 1, 2013

News articles and links from August 1, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Frank Matias, Visalia Times-Delta

Water, water, water.

We all talk about water, but we do nothing.

Out-of-the-box suggestion: Build a huge aqueduct system from the east to the west.

Coalition response...While some may think this idea of building a canal from other states to California is ridiculous, at least the letter-writer is attempting to solve a serious problem confronting California. The best and much less expensive alternative to bring a more reliable water supply to 25 million Californians and thousands of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its proposed twin tunnels. Cost estimates to build the tunnels is about $14 billion and according to the benefits received water users will be paying the cost. Based on the per mile construction cost of the twin tunnels, a water conveyance facility from the Mississippi River to Central California could easily exceed $700 billion, or 50 times the cost currently under consideration.

Outside-the-box thinking is important. It helps frame the issue and makes sure we are on the right track for a feasible project.

Water Supply

From: Laura Bashar, Family Spice

A few years ago I convinced my husband to dig up some of our lawn so we could have a vegetable garden. I wanted to teach our kids that food doesn't magically appear at the grocery store. Last week I shared with you some of our successful summer harvest, but we didn't grow enough to replace the grocery store. This summer is our fourth year having a vegetable garden. It does not come easy to us. My husband and I grumble about the tomato plants failing or the blasted caterpillars. Hubby was so frustrated he expressed interest in putting the grass back in.

Last month I had the pleasure of touring several central valley California farms, hosted by the California Farm Water Coalition, who has the slogan, "Food Grows Where Water Flows." Let me be specific. This was a trip to Fresno in late June, where record high heat arrived the same day we bloggers did. Touring farms in 110ºF heat is not for the faint of heart, but our hosts were gracious and provided plenty of sunscreen, a van with a/c and a cooler filled will ice and water. We were set.

From: Matt Williams, ACWA

With support from ACWA, the Western States Water Council and the California Department of Water Resources are co-sponsoring a workshop in San Diego next week on quantifying drought impacts.


From: Maven, Maven's Notebook

The Delta Stewardship Council has responsibility for overseeing implementation of the Delta Plan, which makes several recommendations with respect to ecosystem restoration including prioritizing and implementing restoration projects, restoring habitat at appropriate elevations, and avoiding introductions or improving habitat for nonnative invasive species.


From: Staff, Modesto Bee

We're not alone. Around California there are multiple situations where some landowners are pumping so much groundwater that other landowners' wells are going dry or are producing only a trickle of water.

Here in Stanislaus County, the biggest concern focuses on wells drilled for the massive new almond orchards on the east. In the Paso Robles area, a similar conflict has surfaced; only the issue relates to large vineyards.


From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

The nation's largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer has been deemed legal and valid, closing another chapter in a decade-long dispute over rights to Colorado River water that is crucial to California, six other states and Mexico.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled Wednesday that the Imperial Irrigation District was in compliance with state environmental regulations and had the authority to enter into the landmark Quantification Settlement Agreement.

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

Wednesday's court ruling upholding the validity of the Quantification Settlement Agreement is a setback to local government efforts to ensure that the Salton Sea does not become an environmental and public health disaster as a result of the water transfer.

The Salton Sea is primarily fed by irrigation runoff from the Imperial Valley. The transfer of water out of the Imperial Valley and water conservation efforts are hastening the demise of the Salton Sea. Fine particulate matter on the exposed shoreline can pose an environmental and public health risk if it gets airborne.

Central Valley Project

From: Press Release, USBR

The Bureau of Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region will hold a meeting to update the public on the current status of the ongoing Cost Allocation Study for the Central Valley Project. The focus of the meeting will be on benefit analysis for water supply. The meeting will be held:

Friday, Aug. 9
10 a.m. to Noon
Federal Building, 2800 Cottage Way
Cafeteria Conference Rooms C1001-C1002
Sacramento, CA  95825

Water Data Modeling

From: Samuel Sandoval Solis, Josué Medellín-Azuara & Jay Lund, California WaterBlog

Computer modelers tasked with untangling California's knotty water problems often find themselves entangled by incompatible or poorly organized datasets.

They're stuck for months trying to transform these datasets into model inputs before the important business of modeling can get underway. Some highly useful datasets on parts of California's water system never make it into the "big picture" models because of obscurity and poor documentation.

With this need in mind, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences recently launched an initiative in the California modeling community to develop standard datasets for building and using models of California's water system. The goal is to establish common protocols for organizing, documenting, storing these datasets. Such standards would allow models to be built and modified with greater ease, transparency and participation.


From: Southern California Water Committee

Thursday, Aug. 15, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency
Richard Atwater, Executive Director, Southern California Water Committee
Gary Arant, General Manager, Valley Center Municipal Water District
Mike Wade, Executive Director, California Farm Water Coalition 

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