Friday, August 16, 2013

News articles and links from August 16, 2013

Trinity River 

From: Damon Arthur, Redding Record-Searchlight

For the second time in a week, a federal judge has ruled in favor of San Joaquin Valley farmers who have asked the court to block higher water flows in the Trinity River.

From: Staff, Eureka Times-Standard
From: Staff, Chico Enterprise-Record   

A U.S. District Court judge in Fresno has extended a temporary restraining order that blocks water releases meant to prevent a fish kill on the lower Klamath River until Aug. 26.

Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley filed a lawsuit against the federal government last week, arguing the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Reclamation lacked the authority to authorize the flows meant to prevent a repeat of the 2002 fish kill that left tens of thousands of salmon dead before they could spawn.

From: Associated Press, Fresno Bee  
From: Associated Press, RGJ

A U.S. District judge in California has temporarily halted the planned releases of water from a Northern California reservoir to prevent a salmon kill in the lower Klamath River.

The judge ordered the releases from the Trinity Reservoir temporarily stopped until August 21.

Water Supply

From: Thaddeus Miller, Merced Sun-Star

A water rights documentary made on Merced County's West Side is set to play at UC Merced next week.

Filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera said "The Fight for Water," which plays Wednesday at UC Merced, has received more interest than he anticipated.

From: Debra Moore, Plumas County News 

California has faced droughts before, but this time may be different.

 "The (state) water board is changing direction," said Leah Wills, Plumas County's water consultant. "It's more broad."

From: Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald

An agreement about a decades-old Salinas River use permit has been finalized.

The settlement between the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board was approved last week by the board's deputy director.

Under the agreement, the county water agency will reduce the permit's water allocation by about 20 percent, to about 135,000 acre-feet of water per year. In exchange, the state water board's prosecution team promises not to attempt to revoke the permit.

From: Don Curlee, Hanford Sentinel

If it's a water war in the Salinas Valley, farmers are fighting it from a totally defensive position, protecting an aquifer 180 feet deep that they will never see.

Water Bond 

From: Sen. Anthony Canella, Modesto Bee  

As we head into the end of session, the retooling of the water bond package from 2009 will be one of the largest issues facing the Legislature.

While water may not be a "sexy" topic for many parts of the state, I know it is first and foremost in the minds of many in our region. We know California has already taken too long to get started on rebuilding our water infrastructure and we must address it immediately. Our water system was built for a much smaller California in a much simpler time and has not kept up with growth or our environmental regulatory scheme.

From: Phil Willion, LA Times

Assembly leaders on Thursday annnounced a retooled water bond proposal to address the state's long-term water supply needs as well as protecting critical habitat, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

From: Ian James, Desert Sun

State lawmakers on Thursday launched a revamped proposal for a $5 billion water bond that would go before voters next year, trimming down an earlier $11 billion proposal that was scrapped due to a lack of public support.


From: Eric Vodden, Marysville Appeal-Democrat  

A federal agency will have to start from scratch on a new biological opinion on Yuba River fish restoration following a court ruling that effectively scrapped the report.

Curt Aikens, Yuba County Water Agency general manager, said tossing out the National Marine Fisheries Service's opinion was the most satisfying part of the court victory.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Associated Press, Stockton Record 
From: Associated Press, Marysville Appeal-Democrat
From: Associated Press, ABC-TV 10
From: Associated Press, KNVN-TV 24

California water officials are proposing changes to a multi-billion-dollar plan for two water diversion tunnels for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

From: Bettina Boxall, LA Times

The state is moving the route of a proposed tunnel system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta away from north delta communities to a land preserve that is an important winter home for the greater sandhill crane and other migratory birds in the Pacific Flyway.

From: Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio 

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird says the changes prove water managers have listened to Delta-area landowners.

Under the changes, the footprint of the project would shrink by 50-percent and shift construction away from private lands to public.

From: Ben van der Meer, Sacramento Business Journal 

A revised Bay Delta Conservation Plan moves a forebay for the controversial peripheral tunnels for water further east and shrinks the plan's overall footprint by half, as well as shifts 400 acres of construction impacts from private to public lands.

From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record 

The state revamped its twin tunnels plan Thursday, making changes that will spare Delta residents some of the effects of construction but will also route the tunnels directly beneath sensitive sandhill crane wintering grounds.

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee 

State officials will hold public office hours at Sacramento-area libraries over the next few weeks to answer questions about their proposed water diversion tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Colorado River 

From: Associated Press, Fresno Bee
From: Associated Press, Redding Record Searchlight  

After back-to-back driest years in a century on the Colorado River, federal water managers are giving Arizona and Nevada a 50-50 chance of having their water deliveries cut in 2016, unless the Rocky Mountains get more winter snow than in recent years.


From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

Between a record-low water level at Lake Mead and Imperial Irrigation District's water overrun payback obligations, Imperial Valley farmers are under great pressure to be more water-efficient.

And while the IID is offering farmers incentives to adopt water-efficient irrigation practices like pressurized sprinkler systems, some in the Valley are trying to improve the centuries-old practice of flood irrigation.

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