Monday, November 18, 2013

News articles and links from November 18, 2013

Water Supply 

From: Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record

As California struggles to provide water to a growing state, increased pressure is being made on the rich water supply of Northern California, said Barbara Vlamis, director of AquAlliance, during a groundwater forum Thursday night.

In 2009, state legislators passed several water bills, and now several large-scale plans are being written for statewide water management.

Coalition response...Characterizing farms along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley as "industrial agriculture" paints the wrong picture of farmers who use Central Valley Project water. Almost 4,000 family farms receive CVP water south of the Delta and they share the same supply that their counterparts in the Sacramento Valley do. Maintaining water supply reliability helps farmers provide jobs and support local community economic activity whether it is in Chico or Mendota. Despite claims from Barbara Vlamis and Jim Brobeck, nothing in the State Water Action Plan or Bay Delta Conservation Plan threatens area-of-origin water rights for users north of the Delta. Both plans are intended to increase the reliability of water farmers and others already have a legal right to use.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Supervisor Ken Vogel, Stockton Record

If you believe proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, there's only one way to fix the Delta - tunnels. There's a better solution.

Coalition response...While Ken Vogel would like you to believe that California is suffering under an oversubscribed water supply it is important to note that South of Delta CVP water users received 100 percent of their supplies from 1952 to 1989, with the exception of 1977, a severe drought year. Today those supplies have been decimated, not because of an oversubscribed water supply but because of environmental regulations that limit water exports that once served several million acres of productive farmland. Sadly, those regulations have not helped endangered species recover and people like Vogel want to continue to try and fix the problem with a solution that is proven not to work.

From: Arve R. Sjovold, Santa Barbara Independent

Can a man drown crossing a river that averages one foot in depth? The answer is, of course, yes. An average cannot describe how wet you'll get wading a river with a deep channel and a broader shallow run. In fact, the average is likely to represent only two points in the depth profile: the point where one descends and the point where one ascends the sides of the deep channel.

Coalition response...Water users are seeking more reliable water supplies from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Deliveries of water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been interrupted in recent years because of drought conditions and Endangered Species Act regulations that are suppose to protect fish. As an example, beginning last December at the same time that water flowing through the Delta was high, regulations meant to protect fish prevented it from being stored for farms to use later in the year. More than 727,000 acre-feet of water went to the ocean instead of helping meet the needs of 25 million Californians and nearly 4,000 family farms. Federal officials have yet to provide information that this action benefited endangered fish.

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan could have avoided this loss of water. Read more about it at


From: Leonard Van Elderen, Modesto Bee
From: Leonard Van Elderen, Merced Sun-Star

The financing of a farm is tied squarely to the land. The land has value that allows the lender to provide the loans. That value comes from the land's ability to grow the crops. And that requires water.

Water is an emerging concern for Central Valley agriculture on several fronts.

Water Supply

From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Beehive

When John Laird, secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency, comes to Fresno these days, people want to talk with him about water.  Specifically, the lack of it.

He met this week with the Latino Water Coalition to chat about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - the one with the twin tunnels - the final draft of which will hit the streets Dec. 13.

From: Associated Press, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

In California, few issues are as divisive as water. It pits North against South, fisherman versus farmer.

Now a group of self-described "nature nerds" made up of database experts, academics and conservationists are trying to bring meaning to the state's mass of water data. The effort is called The New California Water Atlas, and it will use interactive maps powered by government data that are currently publicly available but hard to synthesize.


From: Jon Erdman, Weather Channel  

The first 10 months of 2013 have been the driest such period on record in California, dating to 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Editorial Staff, Sacramento Bee
From: Editorial Staff, Modesto Bee

When it comes to water policy, Gov. Jerry Brown's motto seems to be "tunnels or bust." Increasingly, as costs and questions pile up, "bust" looks like a possible outcome.

From: Editorial Staff, Fresno Bee

Sometime next month, water contractors and the Brown administration are expected to release a draft environmental impact report for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. This hefty tome likely will be heralded as an important milestone in pushing forward BDCP's plans to restore Delta habitat and build tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to the south. But what is missing from the plan will be as important as what it contains.

From: Lois Kazakoff, SF Chronicle  

The California delta's water woes might seem distant, but if you live in Alameda, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties, you may drink delta water.

If you savor locally caught salmon, the delta's health is crucial to maintaining the supply.

Next month, the state will release the final (and 25,000-page) draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which includes a proposal to build a $14 billion "facility" and 30-foot-diameter twin tunnels to move water from the north delta to the state water pumps in the south delta. The public will then have 120 days to comment. The final document is anticipated next fall and a decision by the State Water Resources Control Board sometime thereafter.

From: Paul Burgarino, Contra Costa Times 

As the state prepares to unveil key environmental documents for Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to build two large tunnels to move Sacramento River water south, dozens of concerned East Contra Costans were brought up to speed last week on how it could impact their Delta backyard.

The governor's $24.7 billion plan is widely opposed around the Delta communities, as opponents say the tunnels would reduce fresh water flows, endanger local fish and other habitat and put a sizable financial dent in local agriculture.

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