Thursday, March 27, 2014

News articles and links from March 27, 2014

Water Management 

From: Rick Seymour, Merced Sun-Star

It is important for everyone to start thinking of solutions to the water shortage we face this year and possibly hereafter. The Coachella Valley Water District has a solution. On its website, the district explains that it "recycles more than 2 billion gallons of wastewater each year." This recycling filters out solids, organic materials, chemicals and germs.

Dairy farmers have been recycling water for years, using wastewater to irrigate field crops. Why not use our wastewater from Redding to Bakersfield to irrigate crops or replenish groundwater? We could easily pump wastewater directly to nearby irrigation canals. If a canal isn't nearby, let it flow downstream where it can be pumped to the nearest irrigation canal. I have no idea how much water could be recycled statewide, but my guess is trillions of gallons. This won't solve all of California's water problems, but we will be flowing in the right direction.

Coalition response... Both urban and agricultural water managers across California have sought ways to integrate recycled water into their supply portfolios for many years. Agricultural water managers have had some success in recent years acquiring this resource, (some fairly close to the author, in Stanislaus County) but are generally unable to access properly treated water for wide-scale use because the expensive infrastructure connecting cities to farms in most cases has not been built. Treated wastewater is considered a valuable urban asset as well, with many urban water managers integrating "purple pipe" systems for landscaping use.

Water Bond 

From: Staff, CBS LA

California's severe drought is making residents anxious about dwindling water supplies, and they're making an effort not to waste a drop.

That's the conclusion of a poll Wednesday that also found residents would support spending billions of dollars to upgrade aging water distribution systems.

The Public Policy Institute of California survey found a majority of adults across every region of the state considers water supplies a "big problem."

[View a copy of the PPIC survey by clicking here]

From: Michael Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune

Voters are far more likely to approve a water bond on the November ballot if lawmakers shrink its size, according to a new survey that also found nine out of every 10 Californians say they have taken steps to conserve as the drought drags on.

The poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California also reported that public support for legalized marijuana appears to be slipping, the high-speed rail project remains divisive and Gov. Jerry Brown has an early commanding lead as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term.

From: Josh Richman, Contra Costa Times

Perhaps because of all the doom-and-gloom drought predictions, Californians today are more likely than they were a year ago to vote for an $11.1 billion bond for state water projects, the Public Policy Institute of California's latest poll finds.

The poll also found Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating has slipped from its record high in January, but he's still beating the tar out of his Republican challengers. Results of the survey, released Wednesday night, also gauged Californians' attitudes on a wide range of other issues, including high-speed rail, marijuana legalization and the federal health care law.

From: Anthony Rendon, Sacramento Bee

The Legislature has fewer than 100 days to pass a new water bond bill into law so that voters will have a clean, earmark-free bond to vote on in November. California's water infrastructure, which serves more than 30 million people and irrigates nearly 6 million acres of farmland, is seriously outdated and in desperate need of repair.

Our state has not passed a water bond since 2006, and funding from that bond will ostensibly run out by next year. The Legislature has voted twice to postpone a statewide vote on a 2009 water bond deal that has been deemed unpassable because it is an $11.14 billion pork-barrel measure that was cobbled together in the dead of night in the backrooms of the Capitol.

Colorado River 

From: Staff, San Francisco Chronicle

Colorado River water has begun pouring over a barren delta in northwest Mexico, the result of a landmark agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that is being celebrated Thursday. The gush of water in Mexico is an effort to revive the last 70-mile stretch of the river into the Sea of Cortez. The delta dried up decades ago.

The river's most southern dam - Mexico's Morelos Dam, near Yuma, Ariz. - on Sunday began unleashing 105,392 acre-feet of water, enough to supply more than 200,000 homes for a year. The one-time release is expected to last until May 18.


From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

Despite what academic researchers have been saying, Stanislaus County's groundwater levels have not declined dramatically, a longtime well measurement specialist assured county officials Wednesday.

"I am the guy who measures the water in the wells ... and I am not seeing the drastic fall everybody is talking about," Bill Power, owner of Power Hydrodynamics Inc., told the county's Water Advisory Committee. "I'm not a hydrologist. All I do is take actual measurements."

Salton Sea 

From: Staff, Desert Sun

It's hard to be optimistic about the Salton Sea. After years of political rhetoric and study after study, we can't think of a more frustrating issue in this region that has been debated so thoroughly with so little progress. The state's $8.9 billion preferred plan issued in 2007 - and never enacted - landed with a giant thud that crippled creative solutions.

However, at the Salton Sea panel held last week as part of the Running Dry Water Symposium sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation and The Desert Sun, there were sparks of optimism and signs of at least incremental progress.


From: Lewis Griswold, Fresno Bee

About 1,000 people -- from farmworkers to farm leaders -- turned out Wednesday for a water rally in support of east side agriculture at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

The rally, organized by the California Latino Water Coalition, protested the planned "zero allocation" of irrigation water this summer to east-side farmers by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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