Monday, November 25, 2013

News articles and links from November 25, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Nick Di Croce, Stockton Record

We agree with San Joaquin Supervisor Ken Vogel (Nov. 16 op-ed piece) that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the wrong solution for the Delta and California.

Our organization, the Environmental Water Caucus, has presented a plan to both the Delta Stewardship Council and BDCP that would: 
                Reduce exports and increase Delta outflows in order to improve Delta habitats and fisheries;
Coalition response... Nick DiCroce and the Environmental Water Caucus have a plan for the Delta. Unfortunately it isn't designed to address the actual problems facing the Delta ecosystem: unnatural flows, poor habitat quality and invasive species. Upgrading fish screens doesn't fix the dead-end for fish at the south end of the Delta where predators await their next meal. Increasing Delta outflow doesn't do anything except waste water because of the loss of habitat over the years. And simply strengthening levees doesn't improve the kind of shallow habitat needed for juvenile fish. Increasing groundwater storage isn't effective without more surface storage to regulate large flows before they make it to groundwater basins. And retiring what DiCroce deems "impaired farmland" will create more unemployment for the 30,000 people who live in the rural communities of San Joaquin, Mendota, Firebaugh and Huron that depend on farm jobs to put food on the table. Tragically, many of them now rely on community food banks to meet that need and the Environmental Water Caucus plan will only make it worse. 

Water Supply

From: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press

USDA Secretary says California has "social responsibility" to help feed growing world population. How does that happen without water?

Just as the State of California was readying growers for what they pretty much expected - announcement of a 5 percent water allocation for State Water Project users - the heavenly faucets began to open and it started to rain and snow on the Golden State.

Water Bond 

From: Lois Wolk, U-T San Diego

The Legislature will return to Sacramento in January and will immediately face a trio of questions about water.

Can California break the gridlock and move forward on investing in a sustainable water supply for our future?

Can legislators from every region of the state come together on an affordable plan that benefits everyone?


From: Staff, Modesto Bee

Tell your neighbor you're drilling a new well and you might start a fight.

Tell a farmer that he or she can't drill that well, and that fight is guaranteed.

Hundreds of high-capacity wells have been drilled (or are being planned) as many farmers rush to plant money trees (aka almonds and walnuts). With the prices of nuts continuously rising, it makes sense to many farmers to convert pasture and row crops into trees. Farming, after all, is a business - and the nut business is good.

From: Michael Fitzgerald, Stockton Record

The Valley's ground level sank almost 1 foot a year over the past few dry years, geologists announced last week, more than 1,200 square miles south of Merced.

The sinking - or subsidence - is minimal around Stockton. It is worst around a hamlet called El Nido (pop. 330, elevation 141 ft.). The poor guys who live there have to change their elevation sign every year.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Staff, San Jose Mercury News
From: Staff, Contra Costa Times

California is having the wrong debate about the future of one of its most valuable assets, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which produces water for much of the state and about half of Silicon Valley.

The battle for the better part of the last two years has been about how big a new conveyance system -- probably tunnels -- should be, how much it should cost, and who should foot the bill. The result has been a political fight of the worst kind, pitting Northern Californians against Southern Californians and agriculture interests against environmentalists in a battle royal. At its worst, this could be one of the biggest water grabs in state history. And for California, that's saying something.

From: Joel Brinkley,

While fights over water simmer around the world, the United States has its own share of arguments and debates - one of them right here in California. The state is depleting groundwater aquifers at a rapid rate. That's one reason for the controversial proposal to build a pair of tunnels on the east side of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to bring water south.

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