Thursday, March 13, 2014

News articles and links from March 13, 2014

Food News

From: Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times  

You know how the rest of the country likes to make fun of California, but how much would they miss us if we were gone? You can certainly bet the weeping and wailing would be off the charts at dinner time.

According to the latest statistics compiled by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state produces almost half of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the country, as well as a whopping share of the livestock and dairy.

Coalition response...Russ Parsons does an excellent job explaining the importance of California food production. Both he and The Times should be commended for this more realistic look at the work farmers do to use water efficiently and grow the fresh stuff we all love to eat.


From: Joe Mathews, San Diego Union-Tribune

Yes, we're in a drought, but there's still good reason to break out the sand bags: to protect ourselves against a flood of conventional media wisdom about California water.

As legislators and voters debate proposals for water infrastructure and bonds, TV stations have already declared that we're in a "Water War." And you are probably reading, again and again that water, as much as anything, divides California.

That is entirely backward. Water, more than anything, unites California.

Coalition response... While encouraging efforts to develop local water supply and improve management is important, so too is planning for the future. Preparing for California's future may not be easy, or even conflict-free, but it's a process we must undertake, and soon. Our state-wide water system has done more than the engineers who designed it could have hoped for. Their foresight, coupled with our ongoing innovation has provided us with the ability for twice the population to call California home; to grow our industry; and to provide fresh, locally grown and raised produce, fruit, nuts, grains, and dairy that are the envy of the world - at a lower cost than in any other developed nation.  

The Governor's water action plan includes conservation, recycling, new storage, local projects, ecosystem restoration and improved methods for moving water from areas of abundance to areas of need. No single strategy will meet all of our future needs.

The generations ahead deserve a California prepared for tomorrow's challenges.  If that means conflict - some conflicts are worth having.

Water Storage

From: J. Paul Hendrix, Visalia Times-Delta 

Tulare Irrigation District has proposed a new reservoir at McKay Point, near Lemon Cove and Woodlake, to provide new water storage, flood control and more efficient distribution of water for agriculture.

The McKay Point project, proposed to be located north of the separation of the Kaweah and St. Johns rivers, is a joint venture of property owners Tulare Irrigation District, the Consolidated Peoples Ditch Company and the Visalia & Kaweah Water Company. The reservoir is expected to take about 120 acres of the jointly owned 500 acres.


From: Dennis Pollock, Western Farm Press 

Water - or actually the lack thereof - came close to saturating the agenda at an educational tailgate meeting presented by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association in Madera.

The meeting opened with reminders that the clock is ticking for growers to join coalitions to comply with state regulations on surface and ground water. It quickly evolved into talk of how to manage vineyards and water delivery systems in a year when water is in short supply.

From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

State water cops approved rules Wednesday that will result in higher costs for thousands of San Joaquin County farmers, with the goal of reducing polluted runoff draining into already degraded streams.

The unanimous vote by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board formalizes what have been described as the most significant new rules many farmers will have ever seen. The rules allow farmers to join coalitions instead of being individually regulated - an alternative that would likely have been more expensive.


From: Staff, California Farm Water Coalition

The California Farm Water Coalition is hosting a regional meeting on groundwater.  Presentations include:

Future of Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley - What changes are ahead for groundwater use in California?
David Guy, Executive Director, Northern California Water Association   

What to Expect from Coming Groundwater Regulations
Bob Reeb, Reeb Governmental Affairs

When: Thursday March 20, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM PDT
Where: Fresno Irrigation District
             2907 S. Maple Avenue
             Fresno, CA 93725

Register to attend by clicking here.


From: Staff, PPIC

California's latest drought highlights the need to improve how we manage and pay for our precious water resources. At this half-day event, participants will discuss where California's water finance system is failing, how we might fill the gaps, and whether significant reforms are needed to enable our water resources to support a healthy economy, society, and environment. This event follows the release of a new PPIC report, Paying for Water in California.

[Download the New PPIC report: Paying for Water in California by clicking here.] 

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