Monday, October 14, 2013

News articles and links from October 14, 2013


From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

After two dry winters and increased demand for groundwater, a smattering of residential wells have come up empty this year in the Turlock Groundwater Basin.

And now that new pumps are irrigating literally millions of Stanislaus County almond trees with groundwater, concerns are rising about whether there's enough water to go around.

Michael Cooke, Turlock's municipal services director, outlined the groundwater situation last month in a presentation before the Agricultural Advisory Committee to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

Coalition response...One element of the equation that was left out of this article is the changing priority in California over environmental water. More than 3 million acre-feet of water that once served farms, homes and businesses have been "re-prioritized" each year for environmental purposes. Unfortunately, unlike urban and agricultural public water agencies, environmental uses are not required to meet any sort of efficiency standards. Taxpayers should be concerned that public funds and water resources used for environmental restoration activities may not return the value to the state that they expect. Absent efficiency standards, even the most rudimentary ones, a tremendous amount of water and money can be wasted with no accountability.

As the State Water Resources Control Board considers new flow standards on the Tuolumne River, farmers in the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation districts, and others, stand to lose almost one-third of the surface water that they currently depend on to irrigate their crops. Any benefits that water will have for the environment are undetermined. Environmental water use efficiency standards are long overdue.

From: Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee 

Five friends calling themselves the Eastside Groundwater Coalition will stage an open meeting Monday in Oakdale to discuss dwindling underground water.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: John Laird, Desert Sun

After snowmelt cascades out of the mountains in the northern part of California, it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, where part of the water is then redirected to 25 million people and millions of acres of farmland across the state.

The Coachella Valley lies nearly 500 miles south of the Delta, yet it is this water supply that is relied upon to replenish the region's natural underground water storage, or aquifer. As mentioned in a recent editorial ("Our Voice: Valley aquifer disaster is under our feet") that Delta water is "traded" for Colorado River water because there is no cost-effective way to move water from the Delta all the way to your community.


From: Bettina Boxall, LA Times   

Stocks of spring-run Chinook salmon would be raised just below the San Joaquin River dam that wiped out their ancestors as part of an ambitious restoration program.


From: Andrew Creasey, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Whether heading to the ocean to start their lives, or returning to their spawning pools to end them, fish swimming past Yuba City are now a little safer.

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