Tuesday, November 12, 2013

News articles and links from November 12, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Dennis Wyatt, Manteca Bulletin

(A subscription may be required to read the following article.)
Los Angeles, in its present form, should not exist.

Neither should much of the Bay Area or most of the San Joaquin Valley.

The planet's most productive farm region and arguably two of the world's top metro areas exist because of a bunch of concrete and piled up dirt.

The Delta left in its natural state would go from massive floodplain to trickles of water flowing to the sea with the change of the seasons. It's transformation by the compacting of dirt as levees helped create fertile farmland that made the state wealthier beyond any gold mined from the Sierra.

Coalition response...The State and federal water supply projects significantly aided in the advancements to California's economy and a way of life sought by many, as indicated in the opening paragraphs by the author. Decades after these projects became operational, the Endangered Species Act was approved by the federal government and has threatened what had once been a reliable water supply.

ESA regulations have taken water away from farmers and 25 million Californians for the protection of endangered fish in the Delta. Federal officials have failed to provide proof that these actions are helping the fish. Combined with drought conditions, these regulations have forced hundreds of thousands of acres to be unplanted and thousands of workers to lose their jobs. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its tunnels provide a solution to reduce the ESA effects on California's water supply by sending the allowed amount of water through the tunnels instead of pushing fish toward the pumps.

The author's suggestions that include south Delta tunnels, levee improvements and new south of Delta reservoirs are good ideas but they do not resolve the threat to endangered fish.

Years of study by scientists, biologists and researchers have gone into the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. It is the best option to provide a secure water future for California.


From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee  

(A subscription may be required to read the following article.)
San Joaquin Valley's groundwater is being depleted at an alarming rate and something needs to be done before it's too late, state officials were warned last week.

Here's a scary statistic: Groundwater reserves are shrinking by 800billion gallons per year in the Central Valley.

Coalition response...San Joaquin Valley farmers and water officials recognized the amount of water being pumped from aquifers in the early 1900s as land subsidence was occurring. One of the benefits of the federal and State water projects was to provide a surface supply of water that would curtail the need to pump groundwater at unsustainable levels. Today's surface supply has been negatively impacted by Environmental Species Act regulations and drought conditions. Consequently, farmers have been forced to increase pumping from the aquifer to maintain farm production and associated jobs and local economic benefits.

One avenue of reducing the reliance on groundwater would be to restore the water lost due to unproven regulations.

Water Supply

From: Hentges/Kahn/Strauss, LLC and The Lempert Report, The Food Journal

Farmers in California are struggling with the impact of water costs on their land. The only farmers not affected are north of Sacramento due to long standing riparian rights with access to free water from the biggest river in the state and the biggest precipitation area. While breaking down the cause of the rise of the price of water is a complex task, it can be universally agreed that water insecurity leads to higher costs.

From: Vicky Boyd, The Grower

Faced with increasingly dry conditions, California growers are having to make tough decisions about upcoming planting plans and irrigation management.

Those are the results of a survey of pest control advisers attending the recent California Association of Pest Control Advisers annual conference in Reno, Nev. The survey was sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection.

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee 

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As California concludes a second drought year and water managers hope eagerly to avoid a third, utilities across the state are poised for that first mass of pillowy gray clouds to drift ashore from the Pacific Ocean.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Terry Erlewine, Sacramento Bee 

(A subscription may be required to read the following article.)
Yes, Peter Gleick is confused. But in an op-ed, with the online headline "Why I'm still confused about the proposed tunnels in the Delta" (Viewpoints, Nov. 6), whether he meant to or not, he misled readers about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - the state's proposed solution to the ongoing water system/ecosystem crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

From: Richard Stapler, Sacramento Bee

(A subscription may be required to read the following article.) 
Re "Delta project has many answered questions" (Viewpoints, Nov. 6): We want to clarify that the state will release draft -- not final -- Bay Delta Conservation Plan environmental documents on Dec. 13, showing a project that meets mandated co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration and that addresses the threat of sea level rise caused by climate change.


From: Lois Kazakoff, SF Chronicle 

(A subscription may be required to read the following article.)
The California delta is a major water source for 25 million Californians and agriculture, a rich farmland and a political battleground. It's also unknown territory to most Californians.

A poll conducted early last year by a water education group found that 78 percent of Californians "did not know what the delta is or hadn't heard of it." Yet its future is tied with California's.

California Water Action Plan 

From: Andrew Creasey, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Potential water conservation requirements on agriculture would be a "non-starter" to implement the draft California Water Action Plan, one Sutter County official said on Friday.

The plan, which outlines goals to curb California water woes, may call for reductions in water use in agricultural areas to slake the thirst of Southern California and provide stability for environmental concerns in the Delta, said Sutter County Supervisor James Gallagher.

From: Editorial Staff, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

We admit right up front we don't yet know enough about the specifics of the draft California Water Action Plan. In fact, we know just enough to be worried.
Water of course is a big issue everywhere, and nowhere more than here ... unless you talk to members of California's majority demographic - those living in metropolitan areas. The issues of water availability for rural areas and specifically for agriculture probably aren't going to rise to the top of most Californians' consciousness.


From: Amy Quinton, Valley Public Radio 
From: Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio

Six key reservoirs of the federal Central Valley Project are at the lowest levels since 2009, when the state was officially in a drought. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, some farmers are expecting zero-percent water allocations in 2014.

Gayle Holman with the Westlands Water District says it's telling farmers to be prepared for zero-percent allocations in 2014.

"We are looking at over 200,000 to 250,000 acres probably going unplanted, which means a huge loss of economic value, revenue that would come into not only the region but the state," says Holman.

From: Sabrina Ambler, MyMotherLode.com

The Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project released new numbers for area Reservoirs. They note that California's historically low precipitation in 2013, meant minimal reservoir inflows and early reservoir releases to manage the Delta's salinity. The Central Valley Project (CVP) states, "January through May 2013 were California's driest in about 90 years of recordkeeping."

San Joaquin River

From: Editorial Staff, Stockton Record

The San Joaquin River has been troubled in many ways over the past couple of decades, particularly as it meanders toward Stockton.

A purchase last week should help matters.


From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

The Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation is hosting a forum on local and regional water issues Thursday at the Barbara Worth Resort & Country Club.

Many regional water issues boil down to water reliability. Colorado River water users are grappling with the effects of 14 consecutive years of drought.

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