Friday, December 13, 2013

News articles and links from December 13, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Mark Wilson, Sacramento Bee

Re "One shot to save Delta's ecology" (Forum, Dec. 1): The Delta ecosystem is imperiled. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan's proposal to take more freshwater from the Delta will not help. The BDCP's environmental report says the very fish the plan purports to protect are jeopardized by the constriction and operation of the project. The BDCP is clearly a water grab, and California cannot afford it financially or environmentally. Unscreened south Delta pumps are fish killers, and BDCP won't do anything to fix them. Those pumps would still be used half the time. Before we consider new BDCP pumping from the Delta, we need to know how much water can be safely taken out while still improving the fishery and protecting our existing, sustainable Delta farms.

Coalition response... Mr. Wilson repeats oft-disproved myths about the BDCP.  The importance of having a reasoned, factual discussion of the merits of the plan's key elements of restoring thousands of acres of ecosystem and improve water supply reliability can not be overstated.  These myths are repeated so often that the BDCP administrators have compiled them into a section of their website - "Correcting Stubborn Myths" available at:

From: Sally Oliver, Sacramento Bee

Re "One shot to save the Delta" (Forum, Dec. 1): Dennis McEwan needs to accept that the twin tunnels project (officially known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan) is about transferring additional water from Northern California to the Central Valley and Southern California, with no thought to the environmental and economic devastation that will be created in the northern half of the state. The project has proposals for additional dams, which makes clear the true intention of the plan. Stewart Resnick and a few others took over the publicly developed Kern County Water Bank for private sale, with the blessing of the State Water Control Board and State Water Resources Department. Such action is a perfect example of what the citizens of California can expect in the future from our government. Gov. Jerry Brown is not protecting the general welfare of the people of California by supporting this project but rather using us to pay his political debts.

Coalition response... Claiming that the BDCP is an effort to take more water, or to inappropriately acquire additional water from North State water users is a myth. The BDCP is in fact an effort to improve the stability of supplies and improve the Delta ecosystem. These myths and other distractions from the facts of BDCP are refuted so often that the BDCP administrators have made them the focus of a recent website, "Correcting Stubborn Myths." Learn more about the myths at: 

From: Bill Allen, Ed Casey, L.A. Daily News

Californians build great things. Our people build new ways for the world to connect at companies like Apple, build new ways to combat deadly disease through work at companies like Amgen, and build new ways to explore our universe at places like SpaceX. For a state that has led the way in building so many things for our future, why would we neglect the infrastructure that is absolutely critical to our entire state's jobs base, economy, and quality of life?

Nowhere has this lack of infrastructure investment been more blatant than in our efforts to-date to ensure a secure, reliable and affordable water supply. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives California a near-failing grade for our levees, which are critical to our supply of fresh water.

From: Molly Peterson, Southern California Public Radio

The California Department of Water Resources begins taking public comments Friday on plans for its most ambitious water project ever.

It wants to restore the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, commonly known as the Bay Delta, while re-plumbing how Southern California gets much of its water. And ratepayers here could foot much of the project's $25 billion dollar tab.

From: Jerry Meral, Sacramento Bee

Re "Capital area left high and dry by Delta water tunnel scheme" (Viewpoints, Dec. 5): Councilman Darrell Fong's concerns about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are understandable, but facts mitigate those concerns. None of the water needed by Sacramento would be exported from the Delta. Nothing will be done to impair Sacramento's water rights, among the oldest in California. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan will not cause Folsom Reservoir to reach the "dead-pool effect." That threat is caused by climate change and increasing upstream use of water. The California Water Action Plan identifies these climate change challenges and the local and state partnerships required to solve them. The proposed tunnels would restore a more natural flow in the Delta, just as Councilman Fong calls for. The earthquake threat to Delta levees is real and helps justify the investment by the state of hundreds of millions of dollars in levee improvements in the last few years.

From: Dan Walters, Ventura County Star

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration released two massive documents Monday, detailing its plans to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and complete the last link of the water system his father began more than a half-century ago.

Water Supply

There's been a lot of news about water lately, just not enough talk about it falling from the sky.

Basically, we're in the midst of record-breaking dry year, and we've got to take steps now to make sure we don't run out of water when we really need it.

To that end, many of our state's politicians are requesting that Gov. Jerry Brown declare a state of drought emergency. The first letter arrived Monday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined with Rep. Jim Costa to implore the governor to act. The following day, state senators Tom Berryhill, Anthony Cannella and Andy Vidak joined with five members of the Assembly, including Adam Gray, in a similar letter.

From: Mark Christian, ABC23- Bakersfield

Republican and Democratic lawmakers across the state are urging Governor Brown and President Obama to take steps to alleviate California's water woes. After an unusually dry start to the rainy season, two California lawmakers are urging Govenor 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 its third consecutive year of scant rainfall that could deplete state reservoirs and leave farmers without enough water to grow their crops.

From: David Silva, Merced Sun-Star

I am a retired dairy farmer. I read recently that despite the drought, the game refuges in Los Banos and other parts of the state have been receiving their full allotments of water. In 1992, the Bureau of Reclamation decreed that California game refuges do not have to pay for water. What most people don't know, is that the duck clubs are in that category. There are well over 100,000 acres devoted to duck hunting in California and the owners are pretty much guaranteed three acre-feet of water.

Water Storage 

From: AP Staff,; Modesto Bee

Federal officials are proposing a $360 million expansion of one of California's largest reservoirs and a key water source for Central Valley farmers.

The Modesto Bee reports that the expansion proposal would increase the height of the 305-foot-high earthen dam at the San Luis Reservoir by 20 feet, creating another 130,000 acre feet of storage capacity.

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