Wednesday, January 22, 2014

News articles and links from January 22, 2014

Water Action Plan

From: Denis Cuff, Contra Costa Times

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird will be in Dublin on Jan. 30 to do a public briefing on a proposed state action plan for managing California water supplies.

The free 6 p.m. event will be held in the city council chambers at City Hall, 100 Civic Plaza. The public is invited to attend, or watch a broadcast of it to be aired later on Tri-Valley Community Television.

The 17-page California Water Action Plan outlines broad actions over the next five years to make water supplies more reliable -- including increasing conservation and recycling, adding new storage facilities, and improving water ecosystems.

Water Storage

From: Tom Berryhill, Fresno Bee

In California turning on the tap is really no guarantee that water will flow. Unless something is done to upgrade and improve our water storage and delivery system, Californians will risk not having enough water for everyday activities and certainly not enough to sustain many of the state's key businesses. While the talk is on conveyance, the real issue should be additional storage. Without storage there is nothing to convey.

Thousands of workers may not be getting a paycheck simply because California has refused to develop and build a sustainable water infrastructure. Agricultural land - worth billions of dollars to our economy - is fallow, keeping workers from jobs that are essential for them to house, feed and clothe their families.


From: Michael Carr, Yahoo News

A lack of rainfall in California could have a nationwide impact on food prices. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state produces almost half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables.

California produces about one-eighth of the nation's total farming output. The state accounts for more than 90 percent of the U.S. production of artichokes, broccoli, celery, almonds, grapes, walnuts and other crops.

From: Staff, KMJ 580

Water professionals from around California are preparing to meet in Sacramento this week to discuss the future of efficient water and energy use in the state. But many are now focusing on an immediate future threatened by drought.

As a result, California Irrigation Institute conference organizers have secured recently appointed Deputy Drought Manager Jeanine Jones to provide an update during Friday's luncheon regarding what the state of California intends to do.

From: Nela Lichtscheidl, KERO 23

California congressmen will meet with the house speaker, Wednesday, to discuss plans for emergency legislation meant to lift the water crisis.

Reps. Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao will explain a three-plan legislation that would allow for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to operate and would stop the San Joaquin River Restoration Project from continuing water flow into the Pacific Ocean.

From: John Ellis, Bakersfield Californian

Three San Joaquin Valley Republican congressmen will join House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday afternoon north of Bakersfield, where they will announce emergency drought legislation intended to bring more water to the region.

If approved, the bill would allow the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to operate as long as water is available, said Rep. Devin Nunes, a Tulare Republican who will be at the press conference Wednesday.

From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

The Oakdale Irrigation District should weather this year's drought fairly well, but doing so may require draining its stored water reserves, pumping five times more groundwater than normal and fallowing farmland. OID directors were updated Tuesday on how the district will cope if it doesn't start storming soon.

One option: Paying farmers to fallow up to 35,000 acres of agricultural land around Oakdale so the irrigation district would not have to deliver water to them. Exactly how that would work, how much it would cost and where that saved water would end up was not explained to the public.

From: David Bienick, KCRA 3

California's top water board has warned water users that some of them may be cut off from their supplies. "We're kind of umpires," said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the water board.

Shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown declared on official drought on Friday, the water board posted a notice online that reads: "In the coming weeks and months, if dry weather weather conditions persist, the State Water Board will notify water rights holders in critically dry watersheds of the requirement to limit or stop diversions of water under their water right, based on their priority."

From: Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee

America's political executives - presidents, governors and big city mayors - are often judged by how they respond to unanticipated crises.

Thus, then-President George W. Bush's popularity soared after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the nation, then plummeted four years later after an erratic response to deadly Hurricane Katrina.


From: Rachel Long, UC ANR Blog

If trends continue as per current predictions, the continued drought in California will have serious impacts to forage production in 2014, affecting the availability and price of animal feed.

It's like an 800-pound gorilla in the room, worrying everyone including growers, suppliers, livestock operators and consumers alike. According to the Western Regional Climate Center, October-December of 2013 was the driest on record in California. Other western states are also experiencing drought to varying degrees (note the U.S. Drought monitor map for the west below). Current predictions are for zero to slight chances of rainfall for the rest of January for most of California.


From: Kenneth Krause, Modesto Bee

The State of California is in the midst of its worst drought ever recorded. Gov. Jerry Brown has requested that residents reduce water use by 20 percent. With this said, why hasn't our Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors followed suit?

Many large landowners are in the process of working their ground to plant almond trees. These trees will require large amounts of water, which will come from huge wells drilled into our existing aquifer (tapping groundwater). These wells are capable of pumping 600 gallons per minute or more. Our county supervisors must place a moratorium on this use of groundwater and these types of groundwater wells due to the drought and the continued lowering of our aquifer.

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