From: Carolyn Lochhead, sfgate.com
Four California Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent an urgent appeal Wednesday to the state Water Resources Control Board pleading for two-week delay in a decision that was expected Friday to slash water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmers.
The letter was also signed by Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove (Sacramento County). Garamendi is a fierce protector of delta water and fisheries, which frequently puts him in conflict with San Joaquin Valley farmers over water.
From: Michael Doyle, McClatchy
California's two Democratic senators, joined by two House Democrats, urged the State Water Resources Control Board on Wedneseday to think twice, or maybe thrice, before issuing a proposed order that could cut Delta water pumping.
In a three-page letter, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer along with Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove asked the water board to put off until at least March 21 the proposed "prioritizing" of statewide water deliveries.
From: Carol Lawrence, Ventura County Star (Subscription required)
Water shortages, dwindling labor and onerous regulations are largely political issues that need solutions soon, a panel of agriculture producers said Wednesday morning in Camarillo.
From: Staff, Santa Maria Times
The irony is inescapable, and you have to appreciate it. At about the same time state lawmakers were delivering drought relief legislation to the governor last week, California got the biggest drenching it has seen in more than a year.
Irony is one thing, but reality is something quite different. In this case, we've still got a drought situation, despite those downpours last week. And we all still need to think about water supplies, now and in the future, despite the aforementioned rain episodes.
From: Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
A court ruling issued Wednesday could throw up obstacles to operation of a Kern County groundwater bank that has helped billionaire Stewart Resnick build a nut empire in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
In the latest development in a two-decade legal fight, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge found that the state Department of Water Resources didn't properly analyze the environmental impacts of the Kern Water Bank, which is partly controlled by Resnick's Paramount Farms enterprise.
From: Garance Burke, Associated Press
A state judge ruled Wednesday that California water managers failed to consider the environmental impacts of running one of the nation's largest water banks.
The Department of Water Resources never looked at the ecological effects of running the Kern Water Bank when the state transferred the bank to private hands in 1997, Judge Timothy Frawley ruled.
From: Ben Adler, Capital Public Radio
The Assembly Democratic leadership has now added an extra $1 billion for storage projects like dams and reservoirs to its bond proposal in hopes of winning support of Republicans and Central Valley Democrats. "These will all be open and competitive grants," says Asm. Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), the proposal's author. "The whole point of this water bond package, from the outset, has been to stay away from specific earmarks."
Asm. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) says that's a good start - "I'm interested in creating wet water, and that means we have to do ground water storage, surface water storage, investment in the watersheds" - but he's still concerned there's no guarantee that future Democratic-controlled legislatures won't spend the storage money elsewhere.
From: Jessica Peres, KFSN 30
As farmers in the Central Valley battle zero water allocation from the Friant Dam, some are now worried the value of their land will go down. Farmers in the driest areas of the county are now worried. With no certainty of water coming in, will their precious farmland be worth less than what they paid for it?
For the last few months citrus growers in Terra Bella have seen their share of hurdles. First, a potentially deadly citrus bug was found in the area, then orange groves here were wiped out from the December freeze, and now, no water.
From: Dennis Taylor, Salinas Californian
A one-two punch by Mother Nature is afflicting Monterey County strawberry growers' crops in their Oxnard-area operations and could have an impact on the Central Coast crop.
During a drought, salts that would normally be leached out by rainfall stay on the surface of the soil surrounding the strawberry plants.