Friday, February 28, 2014

News articles and links from February 28, 2014

Water Use

From: Jay Lund, U.C. Davis California WaterBlog

There has been considerable kvetching during this drought about California exporting agricultural products overseas, with some saying that this implies we are virtually exporting water that we should be using in California.

Those concerned should take comfort with California's major imports of virtual water. Much of the food consumed here comes from other states and countries, and their production, of course, requires water.

Coalition response... Jay Lund deserves the water industry's "Nobel Prize" for this concise explanation on the fallacy of exporting water in California farm products. We live in a global economy. California's place near the top of the economic heap would not be possible if we tried to produce everything here that we consume. We have the ability to grow farm products more efficiently and in quantities greater than anywhere else. That helps keep American food costs the lowest in the developed world (as a percentage of disposable income) and leaves money left over for that iPhone.


From: Mike Wade, Modesto Bee

George Skelton's affinity for salmon is obvious (" It's farmers vs. fishermen," Feb. 23). He takes great pains to paint a picture that water diversions in the Delta are the sole cause of the salmon decline, but nothing in life is that simple.

Salmon are impacted by numerous factors, not the least of which are predatory species such as non-native bass. Recent studies show that fewer than 10 percent of salmon hatched upstream make it alive to the sea because they get eaten on their journey through the Delta.

From: David Silva, Modesto Bee

According to " It's farmers vs. fishermen" (Opinions, Feb. 23), the environmentalists want the Delta and salmon fishing to be the same as it was 200 years ago. They seem to forget that there is now 75 times more population.

There was a time when most families had cows, pigs, chickens and vegetable gardens. Now, they depend on dairies, beef cattle and farmers for their food. It is time for environmentalists to realize that change is inevitable.

Water Supply

From: Staff, Sacramento Bee

In a concerted effort to aid California's drought-stricken communities, the Legislature on Thursday sped a $687 million relief package to Gov. Jerry Brown.

One week after Brown and legislative leaders unveiled the emergency legislation, both houses of the Legislature approved the bill with little resistance. The Assembly passed the bill 65-0, and the Senate sent it to Brown's desk with only three dissenting votes.

From: Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times

A $687.4-million emergency drought relief package is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after easily clearing the Legislature on Thursday.
Brown and legislative leaders unveiled the proposal last week to free up the state's water supplies and aid residents who face hardship due to the drought.

From: Staff, KOVR 13

A $687 million drought relief plan is heading for the governor's desk, promising plenty of money for public projects, but leaving farmers feeling left out of the relief.
Farms are getting a good soaking with this latest storm, but the threat of the drought still lingers.

Danny Merkley with the California Farm Bureau says this drought bill may save cities' water, but farmers still come up on the short end, because of how the drought relief is allocated.

From: Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald

With a crucial deadline months away, two influential farm industry groups are concerned about Monterey County's ability to retain a prized Salinas River water-diversion permit.

In letters to county Water Resources Agency directors, the Monterey County Farm Bureau and Salinas Valley Water Coalition criticized county actions with regard to the permit and the work of a permit advisory committee.

From: Don Curlee, Hanford Sentinel

If California farmers needed an "ah-ha moment" to reveal the evils of environmentalism the current drought has surely provided it.

Years of decisions by politicians and bureaucrats to send millions of acre feet of water through the Delta and out to the ocean in a foolish effort to protect worthless fish has wasted water that could have been stored and later used to ease the disastrous drought.

From: Derek Moore, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

Organic dairy farmers greeted proposed legislation to use treated wastewater for livestock consumption with skepticism Thursday, saying it risks the health of their animals and could jeopardize their businesses.

"I'm not going to risk our animals or our customers to an idea that's not tested," said Albert Straus, president of Straus Family Creamery in Marshall.

From: P.J. Kershaw, Sacramento Bee

Re "In record drought, state leaders can't ignore agriculture to save water" (Editorials, Feb. 21): The editorial board accurately stated that household use of water is scant compared to farm use of water.

Despite the fact that only about 4 percent of California's fresh water is consumed by households, and the remaining 96 percent is consumed by farm and industrial and commercial users, our government agencies and utilities are pushing for a 20 percent reduction in household water use and for imposition of penalties for failure to abide.

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