Monday, January 6, 2014

News articles and links from January 6, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

2013 was the driest year since California began keeping records in 1895. That fact will be used to try to fast-track the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, whose two massive tunnels would carry water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that now provides nearly half of Silicon Valley's water.

The drought instead should raise skepticism about this $25 billion plan, the largest public works project in U.S. history, because it raises a conundrum: The plan says the tunnels will provide not a drop more water than the Delta provides today -- and that is completely out of whack with the interests of agencies and communities lining up to pay billions of dollars to build them.

Coalition response... When discussing the twin tunnels and associated Bay Delta Conservation Plan it is important, even in an opinion piece, to stick to the facts. Exports did not increase dramatically between 1990 and 2010, as stated in the editorial. Exports in 2010 were up less than 15 percent over levels recorded in 1990.

Publicly released BDCP documents show operating guidelines that respond to Sacramento River flow. Water operations would always include a required level of water passing the intakes before water could be diverted, which protects the Delta ecosystem.

And to claim that the BDCP " completely out of whack with the interests of agencies and communities lining up to pay billions of dollars to build them" makes no sense at all. The BDCP is not and never was about increasing the amount of water exported from the Delta. It is about providing reliable deliveries of water to 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland that have had legal access to it for many years. 

Water Supply

From: Lance Johnson, Fresno Bee

The start of the new year always finds people reflecting on prior years and making predictions for the coming year on most any subject one can think of. Throughout most of California, especially among farmers, and particularly farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, the hot topic of the 2014 new year is the ever-worsening drought conditions and this year's abysmal water supply outlook.

From: Diane Hayes, Visalia Times-Delta

Having spent my week off driving around a good chunk of Central California and the Bay Area, I can think of one word that best describes the state right now: Dry.

The state looks like it could burn up from an errant match.

I expected it here in the Central Valley. I know it doesn't rain here much. But to head north and near the ocean, and still see brown grass and withered plants was a surprise.

From: Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record

The first official snow survey of 2014 was released Friday, telling residents of the state what we already knew: The hills are dry and the mountains are not covered in white.

It could rain buckets from now through spring. But betting on rain wouldn't be the wisest wager.

From: Michael Wines, New York Times

The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years. The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads. 

From: Staff, San Francisco Chronicle

It's a fact of life in California that we have dry spells and wet years, and living in this Mediterranean climate means figuring out how to adapt when we don't get wet weather. Typically, our state makes progress on evolving water management only in dry years, and thus 2014 promises to be a banner year for innovation.

Water Storage

From: Andrew Creasey, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Those who have been waiting for the construction of Sites Reservoir to solve the state's burgeoning water woes still have a while to wait.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation released a progress report on north-of-the-Delta storage projects that sums up the work that has been conducted to date. But the report does not advance the project along, it only provides information previously unavailable to the public, said Michelle Denning, regional planning officer for the Bureau of Reclamation.

Salton Sea

From: K. Kaufmann, The Desert Sun

A new study from the Imperial Irrigation District projects that geothermal, solar and other green technology development at the Salton Sea could generate more than $4 billion over the next 30 years, with 50 percent or more to be used for the receding sea's restoration.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Jerry Meral, Sacramento Bee

In 1972, Sacramento County and I filed the original lawsuit against the East Bay Municipal Utility District to prevent the diversion of water into the Folsom South Canal upstream of Sacramento. Such a diversion would have harmed the lower American River. That lawsuit eventually forced EBMUD to build the Freeport diversion plant and divert the water from the Sacramento River instead.

From: Staff, BDCP Blog

An errata sheet for the BDCP Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) has been posted here. This errata sheet provides corrections to errors and/or omissions discovered in the Draft EIR/EIS. Specifically, corrections have been made to figures listed in Chapter 3. Updates to this document will be made as required.


From: Staff, Westlands Water District

On Friday, January 03, 2014, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the first snow survey of the year. This survey confirms the severity of the water crisis. Snowpack measurements taken by DWR revealed a bleak outlook for farmers and other water dependent industries as well as consumers throughout the state.


From: Staff, California Irrigation Institute

What is the future of the water-energy relationship? Can a balance on water use efficiency and energy use be found? Come engage with other water and power professionals as we explore the future of water and energy efficiency at the 52nd Annual California Irrigation Institute Conference!

Thursday & Friday, Jan. 23-24, 2014
Sacramento Arden West Hilton
2200 Harvard Street, Sacramento

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