Tuesday, September 3, 2013

News articles and links from September 3, 2013

Water Supply

From: Logan Hawkes, Southwest Farm Press  

As expected, a recent announcement from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) that warns of a historically low reduction in the amount of water to be released from Lake Powell next year has alarmed water officials across the Southwest and in California.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Editorial Board, San Diego Union-Tribune  

Q: The governor's plan has two overarching purposes: to provide a more reliable supply of water for everybody and to restore the ecosystem of the delta. How would this plan achieve those goals?

MERAL: The facility size (9,000 cubic feet per second) is pretty important, and not just because of the dual goals. Another factor is the fragility of the delta. The delta itself is mostly below sea level. And its geological future is uncertain. We're spending hundreds of millions of state dollars to maintain the delta levies. Under any plan that we would adopt we still have to divert water from the delta to some extent. So it's important to maintain its integrity. We're probably, in the next couple of decades or so, going to have a major earthquake that could collapse a lot of the delta levies. Seawater comes in, we no longer have the ability to export water from the delta, at least until we fix it - and it could take a long time to fix. So whatever we build as part of this project is our emergency backup facility, our insurance policy that we can keep delivering water.

From: Editorial Board, San Diego Union-Tribune

Q: Tell us why you are opposed to the governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Nottoli: We are very concerned about not only the impacts to the delta, to the way of life here, to the agricultural pursuits, the recreational pursuits, but also with the coequal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration. The coequal goals are law, and BDCP obviously needs to conform with that. We are asking for a reasonable, comprehensive approach. There seems to be this tendency to paint a very grim picture of the delta, that if the sea level rises and the levee failures don't get you the earthquakes will. We recognize that there's risk; we have a fragile system of levees that serve as the conduit for conveyance of waters through the Central Valley and to places as far south as your city and your communities. But we also believe that the BDCP has taken a pretty narrow focus that, under the guise of a conservation plan, has as its first conservation measure construction of a new conveyance facility. That's where there seems to be some departure, certainly with the views of the many people we represent.

From: Thomas V. Wornham/San Diego County Water Authority, San Diego Union-Tribune

California needs a 21st century solution for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, the hub of the state's water supply system. That solution must be feasible, reliable and affordable. It must be right-sized, and the state must secure firm financial commitments from those who have said they will pay for it.

The multibillion-dollar question is how best to attain that vision in the Bay Delta to sustainably meet the needs of water supply reliability and the ecosystem. It might seem like a distant problem for those of us in San Diego County, but our region draws about 20 percent of its water supply from the Bay-Delta, and we'll be on the hook to pay for a substantial piece of any solution.

From: Mike Mangas, KRCR-7 TV  

A state water official was in Redding on Tuesday to try to clear up misconceptions about the Bay Delta Conservation plan. The proposal that includes the twin tunnels that would ship water from the north around and to the Delta.

Department of Water Resources Director Paul Hellicker got a lukewarm reception from Shasta County supervisors and people who were worried about a water grab from San Joaquin Valley agriculture and Southern California.

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

The new route proposed for Gov. Jerry Brown's giant Delta water-diversion project may conflict with direction from California voters, who spent $35 million in 2001 to acquire part of the new route as permanent wildlife habitat.

Water Bond 

From: Laurel Rosenhall and Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee

Two bills that were heavily amended in recent weeks lay out different visions for how California should revise the water bond slated for the 2014 ballot.


From: Reed Fujii, Stockton Record

Federal farm officials have declared nearly the entire state of California a drought disaster area, which gives farmers and ranchers hurt by the arid conditions access to low-interest emergency loans.


From: David Pierson, LA Times  

While the world clamors for more Paso Robles wine, rural residents like Denise Smith yearn for something far more precious: local water.

The retired teacher is one of dozens of homeowners in parched northern San Luis Obispo county whose wells have run dry.

From: Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News
From: Associated Press, KCRA-3 TV

Wine connoisseurs may be enjoying the latest Zinfandel or Syrah from the Paso Robles region, but residents are complaining the growing number of vineyards is straining the local water supply.

A dispute has been bubbling lately between residents and winemakers over the use of an ancient aquifer that covers nearly 800 square miles and is large enough to support annual demand.


From: John Holland, Modesto Bee  

San Francisco has sketched out a possible water purchase from the Oakdale Irrigation District next year, and other buyers could follow if the drought continues.

The OID board on Tuesday will discuss a draft contract under which San Francisco would get as much as 2,240 acre-feet, about 1 percent of the district's annual draw from the Stanislaus River.

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