Friday, August 2, 2013

News articles and links from August 2, 2013


From: Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record

A transfer from a lesser-known small reservoir in Butte County to one of the largest agricultural water districts in the state is moving ahead this year.

The plan would transfer up to 2,500 acre-feet of water to Westlands Water District in the western San Joaquin Valley through the remainder of the summer.

Coalition response...This transfer of water to farmers south of the Delta will be used to help them stay in business and grow the food that consumers in California enjoy, even people in Butte County. Deliveries to these farmers have already been cut by 80 percent, due mainly to government regulations that took nearly a million acre-feet of water away from users earlier this year and instead let it flow out the Delta to the ocean for fish purposes. This action repeated the pattern of agencies taking water without any proof of intended benefits.

The California Department of Water Resources approves water transfers only after it is proven they will not cause harm to the local environment. This one-time transfer meets those standards and the money received by Thermalito Water and Sewer District will assist in funding their local efforts.

Water Supply 

From: Patrick Cavanaugh, Pacific Nut Producer

Reeling from a water allocation reduced to 20 percent delivered through the Westlands Water District in western Fresno and Kings County, and the prospects of zero water next season, many almond growers are facing what could be their next-to-last production year.

"The short term future is completely unknown and very dire," said Curtis Stubblefield, plant manager with Silver Creek Almond Company near Firebaugh, Calif.  "I do not see anything positive on the water standpoint out here. There is nothing politically that sounds like it's going to get done," he noted.

Coalition response...The water supply system in California is working in the manner it was designed by storing water for later use. But government regulations interrupted delivery operations earlier this year by taking nearly a million acre-feet that could have been stored south of the Delta and instead sending it through the Delta to the ocean. This action was taken to protect fish but agencies have failed to provide any results that the fish benefited. As a result, farmers are scrambling to save their crops.

Even if next winter's supply of rain and snow is above average, there is no guarantee that water will again be taken away from farmers and other users for unproven benefits to fish. Lawmakers and regulators must acknowledge that changes must be made in regulations that restrict the ability of farmers to grow a food supply that we all depend upon.

Trinity River 

From: San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority & Westlands Water District

Dear Mr. Reck:

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority ("Authority") and Westlands Water District ("Westlands") write to express significant concerns with the Bureau of Reclamation's ("Reclamation") July 17, 2013 Draft Environmental Assessment ("Draft EA") and Finding of No Significant Impact ("Draft FONSI") for the supplemental release of Trinity Reservoir water to the lower Klamath River in August and September 2013. The proposed action will harm Reclamation's ability to satisfy Central Valley Project purposes, including Reclamation's ability to protect, restore, and enhance fish and associated habitats in the Central Valley and serve agricultural, municipal, and industrial users. That harm will result with no reasonable assurance the proposed action will actually benefit fish in the lower Klamath River.

From: Amy Gittelsohn, Trinity Journal

Two entities that provide Central Valley Project water to agricultural and municipal water users say the federal Bureau of Reclamation's plan to increase Trinity River flows to protect fish in the lower Klamath River violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

Attorneys for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District have delivered to Reclamation officials a 60-day notice of violations of the ESA, which could be followed by a lawsuit.

Water Supply

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press  

The Imperial Irrigation District's recently adopted water apportionment plan is being challenged in court.

Alleging that the district is relegating to farmers water that remains after other users, like municipal customers, have received their share, El Centro farmer Mike Abatti seeks to halt the implementation of the IID's Equitable Distribution Plan.


From: Ian James, Desert Sun

A judge has upheld the biggest farmland-to-urban water transfer deal in the nation, clearing the way for the Coachella Valley and San Diego to receive more water from the Colorado River while Imperial Valley farmers and the shrinking Salton Sea gradually receive less.

From: Press Release, USBR

The Bureau of Reclamation today released draft environmental documents regarding the temporary transfer of up to 8,000 acre-feet of Central Valley Project water from Bella Vista Water District to the Glide and Colusa County water districts, which are served by the Tehama-Colusa Canal, from August through October 2013.

From: Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

A judge has approved a complex water deal between the farmers of the Imperial Valley and the cities of San Diego County -- hailed as the largest sale of water from farms to cities in the nation.

From: Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News
From: Associated Press, KERO-TV 23 

A California judge has approved the nation's largest farm-to-city water transfer that ends a decade-long dispute over how to divide the state's share of water from the Colorado River.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly on Wednesday affirmed his tentative ruling in June that upheld a 2003 agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority.


From: Patrick Cavanaugh and Laurie Greene, Pacific Nut Producer

The oil industry is snapping up speculative mineral leases across what's known as the Monterey Shale, an area that includes vast agricultural, yet water-scarce regions in the San Joaquin Valley, offshore the central coast, the coastal range and areas in Los Angeles County.

Yet, California is reeling from droughts and environmental pressures that resulted in the biological opinion-derived diversion of 1 million acre-feet of water from the Delta to protect fish species. The resulting water deficit has severely impacted Central Valley farmers, stressing their ground water supplies already hurting from this year's 80 percent water-delivery deficit, and requiring supplemental pumping that over-drafts wells. Furthermore, Bureau of Reclamation officials warn that Westlands Water District farmers may face a zero allocation next year.


From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

By the age of 18, Scot Moody had ventured outside of his home state of Nebraska just once.

He'd never been on an airplane. He'd never seen the ocean.

But in the next 20 years, Moody saw more of the world than most of us will in a lifetime.


From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee

Water leaders, lawmakers and bureaucrats are primed to answer the public's questions Saturday at Fresno State about the plan to revive the troubled crossroads of California's water supply.

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