Thursday, December 19, 2013

News articles and links from December 19, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Staff, CBS-LA

Community leaders and consumer watchdog groups Wednesday were set to voice their opposition to a Northern California tunnels project that could impact neighborhoods here in the Southland.

Members of eight Los Angeles neighborhood councils, Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club, Southern California Watershed Alliance and Environmental Water Caucus claim the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would raise rates and property taxes without delivering any new water to Southern California. 

Coalition response... Food and Water Watch warns Southern Californians that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), "...would raise rates and property taxes without delivering any new water to Southern California." Amazingly, at the same time, their own web site calls the BDCP a "corporate water grab for big agriculture and real estate developers."

Which is it? A water grab or no new water? The fact is, the BDCP is designed to restore the reliable delivery of water that 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of productive farmland already have a legal right to use. Farmers and Southern California consumers both stand to lose if we don't fix the environmental problems behind our state's water crisis.

Water Bond

From: Staff, Santa Cruz Sentinel

It's needed and it's a better proposal.

These truths were on display Tuesday in Seaside at a state hearing about a water bond moving toward the November 2014 ballot.

The $6.8 billion measure presented by state lawmakers replaces a twice-postponed and pork-laden $11.1 billion proposal that was widely expected to fail.

Coalition response... This editorial is exactly right when it says, "California needs more water storage in reservoirs and underground basins and the more this bond measure specifically provides for collecting water from storm runoff, mountain snow packs and rivers and streams, the better." Unfortunately, both the Assembly and Senate water bond proposals fall short on funding for storage. And the manner in which the $1.5 billion in storage funding from the two competing proposals is allocated doesn't provide a chunk of money big enough for any specific region in California to build a project big enough to resolve our biggest water storage needs.

Monterey County officials are right when they say the proposals are insufficient to meet their local needs. That's the same message being heard from around the state on these two bonds. Too little. Too fractured.

Most everyone agrees that the original $11.6 billion bond proposal could be revamped. It still represents the kind of robust investment California needs to make in its water infrastructure to meet tomorrow's needs.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Jerry Meral, BDCP Blog

On a quiet summer day in June 1972, the failure of the Andrus-Brannan Islands caused sea water to rush into the Delta, jeopardizing the quality of supplies for the Contra Costa Water District and for the exports that serve millions of consumers in the Bay Area, Southern California and the Central Valley. This event forced decision makers to focus on the need for an alternative way to export water that currently flows into the Delta, given the mounting concerns about the reliability of its levees. In 1973, the Legislature established a program to provide funds for maintenance of the Delta levee system to reduce the risk of levee failure and island flooding.

From: Mike Wade, Lompoc Record

Clarifications on the "Protesting a pipe dream for more water" commentary are needed to concerning the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and California water rights.

The BDCP is in response to a 2009 mandate by the Legislature to restore the ecosystem of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay Delta, and to create a reliable water supply for 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of productive farmland.

From: Amanda Carvajal, Merced Sun-Star

Farmers receiving water from the Delta-Mendota Canal along the west side of our county saw their water deliveries reduced by 80 percent this year. Dry conditions and unproved Endangered Species Act regulations that redirected water to endangered fish in the Delta forced the water cutbacks. These cutbacks have caused land to go unplanted and workers to lose their jobs.

When farmers and workers do not have money to spend, the effect is felt throughout the local economy. For instance, Firebaugh business owners are reporting 25 to 30 percent losses because water is not flowing to local farms. Listen to them speak on "Farm Water and the Business Crisis" that is available on YouTube at

Water Supply

Gov. Jerry Brown is convening a task force to help determine whether a statewide drought declaration is warranted.

The governor on Wednesday asked staff from state water, agriculture and emergency services agencies to meet every week to help strengthen drought preparations and advise him on next steps.

From: Staff, CBS47

Water pouring out of California's dams could be sights and sounds of the past unless we get some rain.

In 2013, farmers on the Central Valley's west side only received a 5% water allocation. Next year could be even worse.

"Unless this water year is definitely on the wetter side, they'd expect those folks to get an initial allocation of zero," said Jeanine Jones, Dept. of Water Resources.

From: Hank Schultz,

A looming water crisis in California has led more than 50 California lawmakers to request the declaration of a state drought emergency.   The dire water situation for the upcoming crop year could send ripples through US agricultural supply says the California Water Alliance, an advocacy organization.

Water Storage

From: John Holland, Modesto Bee

San Francisco has a place of honor for a pen wielded by President Woodrow Wilson a century ago today.

He used it to sign the Raker Act, which allowed the city to divert some of the Tuolumne River upstream of the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts.

From: Bill Jurkovich, Sacramento Bee

Re "Reservoirs also are important" (Capitol & California, Dan Walters, Dec. 16): Dan Walter's column lays out the reasons and need for added water storage in California. The doubling of the population since the last building program and climate change has resulted in an increasingly critical water shortage in the state. Scientists tell us that there will be climate swings between floods and droughts.

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