Thursday, December 12, 2013

News articles and links from December 12, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Dan Masnada, Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Build it once. Build it right.

That approach can be applied to many things. If you were building a house from scratch, what would serve you better - cutting corners on design, construction techniques and materials or building a well-designed home meant to last?

Is the cheaper house better if you have to rebuild it in a few years or if you have to add on because your design wasn't large enough to accommodate your family?

From: Staff, Fresno Bee

The drought is devastating San Joaquin Valley farms and leaving parched growers with no choice but to drill ever deeper for water. Tapping the aquifer for more water, we know, isn't sustainable. Nor is it good for the environment.

In the face of likely catastrophe, Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama should act on the requests of California lawmakers - both in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. - and declare a state of emergency.

From: Staff, Sacramento Bee

Despite the state's 34,000-page draft environmental impact study, fundamental questions remain unanswered about the proposal to build two huge tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to points south.

The basic financial framework, for example, remains unresolved. Yet to be determined is how the multibillion-dollar cost would be split among water agencies who would benefit, and the state and federal governments. What would be the role be of the Delta counties? The report also fails to define what future water flows would be through the Delta.

Water Supply 

From: Tom Nassif, Fresno Bee

A federal report last week called attention to land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley as a result of excessive pumping of groundwater. It is true that groundwater is being used to irrigate farms at an unsustainable rate. It is also true that something needs to change.

However, the prevailing and one-sided commentary from government officials and environmental organizations can be summed up as, "Farmers should use less water." No one outside of the farm communities that produce healthy and affordable food for our entire nation seems willing to look at another obvious answer: The federal and state governments need to restore reliable surface water deliveries to our farms.

From: Kurtis Alexander,

After an unusually dry start to the rainy season, two California lawmakers are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, sent a letter to the governor's office this week, saying the state is facing a third consecutive year of scant rainfall that could deplete reservoirs and leave farmers without enough water to grow their crops.

Water Storage

On a summer day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy helicoptered into the hot, dusty grasslands between Gilroy and Los Banos and pushed a dynamite plunger in a ceremony with California Gov. Pat Brown.

"It is a pleasure for me to come out here and help blow up this valley for the cause of progress," Kennedy told the cheering throngs who had come to see the president launch construction of the San Luis Reservoir.

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