Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News articles and links from January 7, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Capt. Steve Miller, Sacramento Bee

Re "A parched valley" (Page A1, Jan. 5): The Sacramento Bee produced a great article on the decline of the Owens River Valley. It spotlighted the impact of greed and politics on choosing one community over another. Residents of California should keep in mind that ignoring history results in a repeat. Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to divert water from the north, under the guise of environmental concerns, is a thinly veiled effort to get more water to Southern California. The water commission, which devised this farce, excluded any mountain water districts, where our water comes from. It avoids input from these districts, in an effort to reduce water available to the north in favor of providing for the south state. Sound familiar? This is a revamped effort to re-institute Brown's failed peripheral canal plan of the 1970s. The plan stank then, and this new odor is twice as bad.

Coalition response... This letter follows a wave of others that seek to mischaracterize the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as an effort to seize water in northern California for use by the southern part of the state, and are not anchored in fact. The BDCP is designed to improve the reliable delivery of water that 25 million consumers and almost 4,000 family farmers already have a legal right to use, while improving the delta ecosystem.  Comparing the BDCP to the 1980s Peripheral Canal is way off course.  For a comparison of the two projects, go to www.farmwater.org/p-canalcomparison.pdf.

Water Supply

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

By the end of this week, water flows in the American River will be lower than anyone has seen in a generation. And soon, many residents of suburban Sacramento could be banned from watering their lawns.

Unusual winter drought conditions are driving Sacramento-area water agencies to make difficult choices. Starting today, the effects will be visible to anyone who walks, fishes or boats along the American River, one of the largest in California.

Coalition response... Jennings continues to abusively misrepresent California water rights law. Water rights in the state include a time-of-use component, meaning that the same volume of water may be repeatedly taken and returned to the system. While Jenning does no favors to the public understanding of water rights with his creative narratives that describes the system as over-allocated, he does raise the question of what levels of industrialized commercial fishing are sustainable for both endangered and frequently threatened fish species - and how much water is needed for those commercial fisheries. 

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Mike Mielke, San Jose Mercury News

The driest year on record underscores the need for Gov. Jerry Brown's water plan. Contrary to the Mercury News editorial, "Massive Delta Tunnels Could Destroy Fragile Estuary" (Jan. 5), the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) will help restore the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which supplies 23 million Californians with water and helps irrigate millions of acres of farmland.

The plan is of great importance to Silicon Valley as the Delta is the source of much of the water we use.


From: Rudy Ruitenberg, San Jose Mercury News

Californian grape vines are being ripped up as drought forces farmers to switch to higher yielding crops such as almonds and other nut and tree fruits, wine broker Ciatti Co. said.

About 15,000 to 20,000 acres of vines are expected to be pulled out of the ground, the San Rafael-based company wrote in an emailed report. The state has an estimated wine grape acreage of 546,000 acres, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Water Supply

From: Staff, Riverside Press-Enterprise

A record dry year offers a grim reminder to California about the perpetual peril of drought - and the need for preparedness. The state cannot escape the weather patterns that threaten water shortages, but can protect against that menace. Residents will need to boost conservation efforts, but legislators should also take steps to ensure a reliable supply of water for the state.

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