Friday, January 17, 2014

News articles and links from January 17, 2014


From: Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday officially declared a drought emergency in California, asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent and committing to bolster the state's dwindling water supplies with better management and federal assistance.

The order, announced at a news conference at the governor's San Francisco office, comes as the state is gripped by a third consecutive year of dry weather.

From: Staff, CBS 47

Hundreds of people from the Central Valley travelled to Sacramento Thursday to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a drought.

At the steps of the Capitol building, people chanted "water" and held signs that say "No Water = No Jobs."

Huron field worker Juan Martinez, who attended the rally, says no water for crops means fields where he works will be unplanted, putting his job at risk.

From: Matt Williams, ACWA Water News

U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, along with Rep. Jim Costa (D-16 ), have called on President Obama to form a federal drought task force and appoint a federal drought coordinator.

California already has taken similar steps. In mid-December Gov. Jerry Brown convened a task force to review water allocations and the state's preparedness, as well as coordinate with federal and local agencies. The governor hasn't yet declared a drought, but he is widely expected to do so. Last month the California Department of Water Resources named Bill Croyle the department's drought manager.

From: Michael Doyle, Sacramento Bee 

A California drought will soon test lawmakers' ability to legislate. It's a test they haven't always passed.

But as an official California drought declaration draws closer, members of the state's often fractious congressional delegation are maneuvering once more. A freshman House Republican from the San Joaquin Valley has been quietly trying to write water legislation. The California Republican who leads the House water and power panel will be holding hearings. Democrats have formed a new water caucus, meeting for the first time this week.  "We'll see whether or not we can come together on something that makes sense," said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.

 Federal officials have designated portions of 11 drought-ridden western and central states as primary natural disaster areas, highlighting the financial strain the lack of rain is likely to bring to farmers in those regions. The announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday included counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California.

From: David Siders, Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown will declare a drought emergency today after weeks of intensifying pressure on him to take action.

The declaration, which Brown is scheduled to announce at 10 a.m. in San Francisco, comes during one of the driest winters on record in California, following two dry years that already have left many reservoirs depleted.

From: Jeremy White, Sacramento Bee Blog

Lawmakers representing drought-stricken districts joined with hundreds of their constituents at the state Capitol on Thursday to press for a new water bond measure and the declaration of a drought emergency.

"I see farmers, I see farmworkers; I see people from urban communities and from rural communities, all here today to send one message: that we need water," said Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno.

Water Supply

From: Bob Paoluccio, Sacramento Bee

California's quest to supply water to places that did not have an adequate supply has resulted in monumental water diversions via dams. The impact has been successful to the users by the alterations of Owens Valley, Hetch Hetchy, Lake Shasta, Trinity Lake, Feather River and numerous others. Unfortunately, the dams affected Native Americans, later local residents and species of fish, particularly in Northern California. Perhaps, it is time to do the unthinkable and tap Lake Tahoe for an additional water supply. It would seem only fair that California is entitled to the same quantity of water that flows out of Lake Tahoe to the Truckee River.

Water Storage

From: Joe Sullivan, Sacramento Bee

Re "Water lessons forgotten" (Letters, Jan. 11): Bill Jurkovich's letter was right on target. He states that scientists tell us changing climate will bring more periods of drought and floods, and dams are the only way to have an effect on this. He also says that there are many sites where dams could be built, and asks whether we have forgotten history or lost our will?

Press Release 

From: Staff, Westlands Water District

Westlands Water District praised today's action by Governor Jerry Brown to issue an emergency drought declaration for the State of California. "The Governor's declaration recognizes that the State of California is facing unprecedented drought conditions. The situation in the San Joaquin Valley is particularly critical. After several consecutive dry years, compounded by regulations that have restricted water deliveries through the federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project, the people who live and work in agricultural areas of the Valley are facing a disaster," said Tom Birmingham, General Manager, Westlands Water District.

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