Tuesday, February 25, 2014

News articles and links from February 25, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan 

From: Cathy Lazarus, San Jose Mercury News

California is a thirsty state. The 20th-century water delivery infrastructure is inadequate, deteriorating and unreliable.

We now recognize that historical water delivery and management strategies have caused serious harm to the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta ecosystem, the source of much of California's water supply, including Santa Clara County's.

Sacramento River

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

A Bay Area water agency may use its water contracts on the Sacramento River for the first time to help its customers survive the ongoing drought.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District anticipates it will need to divert water this year from the Freeport Regional Water Project on the Sacramento River, which it helped build in partnership with Sacramento County at a cost of nearly $1 billion. The district has not used the diversion since it was completed in 2010, but its board will vote in April whether to activate it.


From: Staff, Western Farm Press

Parts of California could receive significant amounts of rainfall late this week. Most observers do not see the moisture ending the state's worst drought in decades, instead teasing them with what might have been if rainfall had been near normal for the winter.

Participants in the World Ag Expo 2014 Water Forum in Tulare, Calif., heard members of two panels discuss the current situation with the drought and the outlook for legislation and regulatory changes to the water delivery system to the nation's leading agricultural production area.

From: Staff, Sacramento Bee Blog

Saying Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal "includes little to address the effects of the current drought," a new report by the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst suggests anti-drought and conservation steps that lawmakers could take.

Friday's review of the resources portion of Brown's January spending plan came two days after Brown and legislative unveiled a $687.4 million package of drought relief measures, some of which seem to mirror parts of what the LAO suggests.

From: Lon Allan, San Luis Obispo Tribune

I've always known that the availability of water was not absolute. My dad perpetually had a small "farm" while he worked other jobs, and I recall his admonition to me to make sure we didn't waste water when we irrigated our grapes.

In those days (1950s) we plowed three furrows between the vines and simply flooded them with water. You had to be vigilant to make sure the water didn't break out of the furrow and run - wasted - onto the nearby roads and elsewhere. At his direction you simply continued to walk the vineyard on the day you were running water.

From: Kim Stemler, Salinas Californian

Local hills are greener, thanks to the recent rains, and we are still in a drought that has exceeded historic dry records. Monterey County vineyards are "dusty in the middle of January," said Andy Mitchell, director of vineyard operations at 400,000-case Hahn Family Wines. "Last year was bad, but this year is much worse."

This at the same time we are celebrating last year's record wine grape harvest in California - up 7 percent from the previous record high of 2012's crush, as reported by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in the Preliminary Grape Crush Report published earlier this month.

Food News 

From: Jeanne Fratello, Jolly Tomato

Where do the country's families, grocery stores, restaurants, and food services get their leafy greens in the dead of winter? And where do those warm and dry regions get their water to be able to grow those crops? We got the answers to those questions and more last week while on a farm tour last week to California's "Low Desert" region (Imperial and Coachella Valleys) with the California Farm Water Coalition - along with blogger friends Priscilla from She's Cookin, Kim from Liv Life, and Barbara from Barbara Cooks.

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