Wednesday, August 7, 2013

News articles and links from August 7, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan 

From: Ben van der Meer, Sacramento Business Journal

A state analysis of the economic benefit of a plan to build tunnels for water conveyance falls short of what's necessary and relies on faulty assumptions to make flawed conclusions, a group opposed to the plan said Monday.

Coalition response...Biologists, engineers, water policy experts and water industry officials at all levels have worked for seven years in the development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). Multiple aspects of the plan, including the two tunnels that are proposed to send water under the Delta, have analyzed and in some cases changed. The proposed tunnels have been reduced from three to two and their size has also been changed from a capacity of 15,000 cubic feet per second to 9,000 cfs. To state that the work that has gone into the BDCP has not looked at alternatives is weak.

The BDCP provides the best opportunity to secure a reliable water supply for California's future and at the same time restore the Delta's ecosystem. The economic analysis of the benefits resulting from BDCP presents an $84 billion contribution to the state's economy over the 50-year life of the Plan. It not only provides new jobs but it protects existing jobs. These are real benefits that the people of California need.

Water Use 

From: John Tarjan, Bakersfield Californian

Beth Brookhart Pandol's Aug. 6 Community Voices article "Perception that farmers waste precious water an absurd myth," is less than compelling. While she cites the commendable efforts of a relatively small number of Central Valley growers to conserve, she fails to cite general water usage statistics regarding agriculture.

Coalition response...Many agricultural water suppliers already employ tiered pricing, which increases the cost of water for amounts used above a base amount at a base price. Kern County farmers do not receive any subsidies for water they receive from the State Water Project which is used to irrigate over half-a-million acres of productive farmland. Kern County's fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables and dairy products can be found around the corner and around the world. Kern County farmers that receive their water from the State Water Project pay the full cost for water every year and in years when they receive less than their contracted amount, they still pay as if they receive 100 percent. This year their supply was cut by 65 percent but they are still paying as if they received their full amount, which more than doubles the unit cost of water. This kind of unreliability has driven farmers to more efficient irrigation systems to make the most of what they receive.

Farmers have been increasing water use efficiency for decades. Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley invested more than $1.6 billion in high efficiency irrigation systems on almost 1.2 million acres. Other efficiency practices include soil moisture monitoring, high efficiency pumps, micro irrigation and GPS. As a result, crop production has almost doubled in the last 40 years while applied water has remained flat.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Evan Halper, LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown has shown mastery of Sacramento, but his hope for a legacy of enduring public works hinges on a different skill - the ability to work Washington.

From: Maven, Capitol Weekly

Fixing the Delta is necessary, say officials, but it won't be cheap.  The costs to build and operate Gov. Brown's twin-tunnels plan are estimated to cost $24.54 billion over the 50 year term of the project.   

Where will the money come from?

From: Jerry Cadagan, Sacramento Bee  

Re "Delta tunnels' study draws fire" (Our Region, Aug. 6): The article about Gov. Jerry Brown's study of his tunnels project includes reasons to question the economic work, including unfounded assumptions about the amount of water to be delivered, and uncertainty regarding needed voter approved bond funding for portions of the project.

From: Jeffrey Kightlinger, Herald

It is clear that a Delta solution that stabilizes water supplies for California and restores the estuary's ecosystem would be a wise investment for California. This new and exhaustive analysis is more compelling evidence of how important it is for California to reverse the decline in the Delta with the kind of historic and decisive action envisioned by BDCP.

Water Supply

From: Staff, Holtville Tribune

Last week a judge approved the 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. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly on Wednesday affirmed his tentative ruling from June, which upheld the 2003 deal between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority.

This deal comes at a time when there is growing concern over the state's water supply.

From: Staff, Fresno Business Journal 

State Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) will lead a group discussing California's water crisis during a hearing in Hanford on Aug. 9.

Salas, chairman of the Select Committee on Regional Approaches to Addressing the State's Water Crisis, will be joined by local and regional water experts to share real-time data and facts about the water crisis and how it affects the Central Valley.

From: Staff, Chico Enterprise-Record

The county Water Commission will today consider whether to form a subcommittee to track the development of a proposal to build Sites Reservoir near Maxwell.

A Joint Power Authority has been meeting in Glenn County to work on the proposal, and recently the Butte County Water Commission talked about whether the progress should be watched.


From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

Imperial Valley farmers who invested in water conservation measures last year in anticipation of the Imperial Irrigation District's on-farm efficiency water conservation program can breathe a sigh of relief: the Board of Directors approved the program Tuesday.

Water Quality

From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

Some of the most significant water-quality regulations that Central Valley farmers have ever seen will be drafted within weeks and could become official by next spring, growers were told Tuesday.

As a result, the per-acre fees that farmers pay to improve water quality under an existing program are expected to double or triple - perhaps worse.


From: David Sneed, SLO Tribune

County supervisors will consider adopting an emergency ordinance that would prohibit new uses of the Paso Robles groundwater basin unless it is offset 2 to 1 with water savings elsewhere in the basin.

Water Management 

From: Alex Cantatore, Turlock City News

The Turlock Irrigation District may spend $2 million to prepare an Integrated Water Resources Plan, which would examine all aspects of TID irrigation water delivery in order to draft a new set of policies governing district operations.

From: Dennis Wyatt, Escalon Times

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District is considering replacing canals serving 72,000 acres of farmland in Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon with a pressurized delivery system controlled by computers that would arm ditch tenders with tablets and growers with smartphones.

Salton Sea

From: Michael Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune  

San Diego regional water officials may be forced to abandon their long-stalled proposal to revive a rapidly deteriorating Salton Sea.

The San Diego County Water Authority has been pushing a new strategy that calls for sending more money, but no more fresh water, to speed up projects designed to help the shrinking sea, the state's largest inland lake straddling Imperial and Riverside Counties.

Flood Management 

From: Kate Campbell, Ag Alert

In the past 75 years, the Danna family, which farms in Yuba and Sutter counties, has seen its share of floods and flood protection plans. The family has lost property to high water and land through eminent domain to improve flood management in the Sacramento Valley.

Farmer Steve Danna said he recognizes the need for flood control and supports the regional flood planning efforts now underway. But, like a lot of landowners who stand to lose their property through government taking, he has serious concerns.


From: Elizabeth Varin, Imperial Valley Press

Rob Skordas has been selected as the area manager of the Lower Colorado Dams Office for the Bureau of Reclamation's Lower Colorado Region, according to a press release from the bureau.

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