Tuesday, January 28, 2014

News articles and links from January 28, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Raymond Miller, Bakersfield Californian (subscription required)

I am dismayed by the recent promotion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. I tried to keep an open mind when reading the plan, which is open for comment for 120 days. Unfortunately, after consulting with scientists, professors and experts regarding the BDCP, it will not be the solution to the Central Valley's water problem.

Coalition response... The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is designed to stabilize the volume of water year over year available to the customers served by the state and federal projects, while improving the Delta ecosystem. 

Growers in California are always looking for ways to produce more with less cost- whether that cost is found in water, chemicals, labor. Research shows that there is very little agricultural water still available to conserve, according to the 2011 report "Agricultural Water use in California" by the Center for Irrigation Technology at CSU, Fresno. We invite Mr. Miller to share his ideas for water conservation and water use efficiency-particularly those that might be cheaper AND introduce 90% efficiencies. The world will surely beat a path to his door for a solution like that.

Water Supply

From: Mike Reitsma, San Jose Mercury News

Farms, not population, are drivers of drought

Several recent letters have identified California's growing population as the dominant reason for our water shortage -- the most recent from J.M. Picone (Letters, Jan. 27). There is no question that population is a significant factor in virtually all of Earth's shortages and pollution issues, but citing California's population as the origin of its current problem ignores the underlying arithmetic.

Coalition response... Several foundational problems exist in Mr. Reitsma's comments. Regarding water use in the state, it is important to remember that in an average year, the people of California commit 48% of our available water for environmental use, while 41% is used for farming, and 11% for California's municipal and industrial uses.

The causes of our current shortage are several- most critical is the drier than typical past two years, but we can't just blame mother nature. We shouldn't forget our own failure to put away water for leaner times. Just last year we had an opportunity to store up to 815,000 acre feet of water- enough for well over 4 million people, or five cities the size of San Jose. Californian's must prepare for drought when water is available or suffer, as we are now, for our lack of action.

Water Storage

From: MIchael Doyle, Merced Sun-Star; Modesto Bee; Sacramento Bee

Farmers from California's San Joaquin Valley set aside precious water last year, like money in a bank. But now someone else might claim the investment.

With the state extremely dry, the farmers fear federal officials could effectively seize for other purposes the water set aside primarily in San Luis Reservoir on the valley's west side. Affected farmers say that would be wrong. Unfortunately for them, it might also be legal.

From: Rachel Azevedo, KGPE 47

Eyewitness News investigates an unprecedented situation Westlands Water District farmers could be facing. The Bureau of Reclamation could withhold water that growers saved from last season.

Some farmers say they are losing hope because of the uncertainty over what's called "carryover" water. To them it seems unfair. They planned and saved water, and now they may not get to keep it.

From: Staff, KFSN 30 

Valley farmers already looking at water delivery cutbacks this year were shocked to learn they might also lose carryover water.

From: AP Staff, KOVR 13; Modesto Bee; KCRA 3

With no end in sight to California's drought, farmers in the San Joaquin Valley fear federal officials could seize water in the San Luis Reservoir intended for their crops.

From: John Powell Jr., Desert Sun

The Coachella Valley has always been in a state of drought. For this reason, planning efforts that began nearly 100 years ago focus on making the most of the water we have, and on importing additional water to supplement our tremendous natural underground aquifer.

The Coachella Valley Water District relies on stakeholders of every kind including golf courses, farmers, homeowners associations, small businesses and individual homeowners, to help in the conservation effort. Domestic customers have reduced water use by more than 20 percent in the past eight years, despite increased growth. Thank you for contributing to this positive result.

Water Supply

From: Cary Blake, Western Farm Press

It's official - most of California's 38 million residents are now aware that the Golden State is officially in a severe drought.

While agriculture has lived and breathed the drought, and farmed and fallowed land with a lack of water in recent years, Governor Jerry Brown's emergency drought declaration released Jan. 20 basically asked urbanites to turn off the water faucet while shaving and stop overwatering lawns.

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