Tuesday, March 4, 2014

News articles and links from March 4, 2014

Water Supply 

From: Steve Mawhinney, Sacramento Bee

The weather pattern appears to have changed. February was wet and rainfall was average. March is starting out wet. Not exactly drought busting rainfall but we'll take anything we can get. On to the more pressing question.

Residential users of water who use 4 percent of the water in California have been told to reduce their consumption by 20 percent. The other 96 percent of the water is consumed by agriculture and commercial users, but they have not been asked to reduce consumption. Some farms continue the use of gravity irrigation or flooding, not exactly the the most efficient uses of water.

Coalition response... It's true that not all Californians are being asked to reduce their water use - some are being told they'll be getting no water at all. This is what is happening in areas of the state where water allocations have been set at zero percent by state and federal authorities. The real users of California agricultural water, consumers here at home and across the world have benefited from the efforts of farmers to grow responsibly. Favored by a seasonally dry, sunny climate that helps reduce the threat to crops from pest and disease, California farmers are able to grow more food under the most strident regulatory constraints of anywhere in the world.

California's growers consistently invest in irrigation systems that are appropriate for the physical needs of their crops. In fact, farmers have invested almost $3 billion upgrading irrigation systems on almost 2.5 million acres to improve not only the per drop productivity of water, but consistently improving the quality of the food and fiber we demand from them. 


From: G. Arthur Cort, Sacramento Bee

Re "Ignoring water rights imperils Delta's farmers" (Forum, March 2): Al Medvitz' article does not answer one important fact. How did Delta farmers irrigate before the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley project was put into operation in 1945?

The Sacramento and American Rivers had floods in the winter and very low flows in the late summer. I remember floods in the Sacramento area and the flood gates on Folsom Boulevard, H street, and 12th and 16th streets being closed because of uncontrolled flows in the rivers."

Water Supply

From: Staff, YourCentralValley.com

Terra Bella citrus growers are desperate for water. They depend on surface water from the sate but water allocations are set to zero. On top of that, there are no wells in the area. Some trees have already been abandoned and are slowly wilting away. Farmers say if something doesn't change soon, next season's crop will be lost and it could take years to recover.

From: Bob Moffitt, Capitol Public Radio

Several days of rain and snow have raised water levels in most major California reservoirs in the past month. But, Doug Carlson with the California Department of Water Resources says the state is nowhere near even a normal year for rain and snow.

"That would take considerable precipitation -very heavy rain and snow- from now til perhaps the end of April to achieve the normal readings that we would expect in the snow pack for this time of year," he says. "That's just not in the forecast."

From: Andrew Creasey, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Until the federal government fulfills water obligations in the north, don't send it south.
That was the message from Sacramento River settlement contractors, through an attorney, to the Bureau of Reclamation, which recently forecast the water deliveries to the districts and water companies along the river would be cut by 60 percent.

The contractors, however, claim their water right only allows the bureau to reduce deliveries by a maximum of 25 percent.

From: Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee

Once in a while, a line of movie dialogue becomes a cultural icon, and it happened in 1996's "Jerry Maguire" when actor Cuba Gooding Jr., playing a talented athlete, told his agent (Tom Cruise) to "show me the money."

It neatly captures the financial squeeze facing two big public works projects that Gov. Jerry Brown wants - drilling twin water tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and building a bullet train, together likely well over $100 billion. Brown needs enforceable pledges from big water agencies to pay for tunnel construction, plus federal funds and a multibillion-dollar state bond for habitat restoration and other aspects.

From: John Holland, Modesto Bee

Late-winter rain has prompted the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts to postpone the start of their 2014 deliveries to next week.

Both had planned to begin filling canals Monday, which was somewhat early because of the mostly dry conditions this year, but the recent storms brought a change. OID now plans to start next Monday, and SSJID will follow March 12.

From: Staff, Bakersfield Californian

Conservation is never going to solve California's drought problem. You can conserve all you want, but in the end, you have to have conveyance systems, storage, and the ability to move water around the state to the people who need it.

That is what Water Association of Kern County Executive Director Beth Brookhart Pandol said Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox." Pandol advocates for water conservation -- but said conservation alone won't solve California's critical drought.


From: Staff, Western Farm Press

The drought was very much on the mind of persons attending the 2014 World Ag Expo. But drought has almost become a way of life for farmers all across the American West, says Netafim USA's John Vikupitz.

While the focus has been on the situation in California, Vikupitz, president and CEO of Netafim, said people should know the drought is extending across most of the western United States in some form or another.

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