Friday, March 7, 2014

News articles and links from March 7, 2014

Water Supply 

From: Peter Waldman, Bloomberg BusinessWeek

California is parched. The state's worst drought in decades has left its reservoirs half-naked, if not skeletal. Officials say 17 communities could run out of drinking water this summer; some are considering mandatory rationing; and 500,000 acres in the state may be left fallow. For the first time in its 54-year history, the California State Water Project-the world's biggest plumbing network and the way millions of state residents get hundreds of billions of gallons of water-is essentially shutting down. In 2012 the project moved 815 billion gallons of fresh water from Northern California's rivers to 25 million people and a million acres of farmland in the arid central and southern parts of the state. Last year, the driest on record, the system delivered 490 billion gallons, down 40 percent. This year, the planned water distribution is zero.

From: Staff, KSEE24

There is a chance Valley farmers could get surface water from the state soon. That's according to Felicia Marcus, a state water official. During a speech at the Citrus Showcase in Visalia, she said state and federal water managers are trying to work around obstacles to free up water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for allocations. Many Farmers are currently relying on groundwater but levels are dropping fast. Others, in places like Terra Bella are in danger of losing trees if something doesn't change soon.

From: Lewis Griswold, Fresno Bee

A state water official said Thursday that despite the "horrifying" drought gripping the state, there's still a chance that farmers will get San Joaquin River water this summer instead of the "zero allocation" announced.

"I'm hoping that it's not going to be zero," Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, said at a speech to citrus growers.

The determining factor will be the freshwater needs of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, she said.

From: Jim Verboon, Visalia Times-Delta

After years of ignoring California's water woes, Senator Dianne Feinstein has finally introduced legislation regarding water deliveries. Unfortunately, the legislation does not address the federal laws that have caused the problem to begin with. The Senator's legislation simply requests the administration to take into account all options to deliver water under the current existing law. I repeat! The current federal flawed laws are the problem.


From: Dale Yurong, KFSN-30

Valley farmers aren't the only ones impacted by the California drought. The drought and the state's ongoing struggle over water was the focus of a business roundtable.

Recent storms have not changed this summer's outlook. Hundreds of thousands of acres will go unplanted in the Valley because of severe cutbacks in water deliveries.

Farmers already feel the pain, but Westlands Water District general manager Tom Birmingham brought the message to local business leaders gathered at the exhibit hall in Downtown Fresno.

From: Ian James, Desert Sun 

President Barack Obama has reauthorized spending on the National Integrated Drought Information System, enabling the government to continue providing drought warning forecasts and other support as the extreme dry spell persists across California and much of the West.

The bill that Obama signed into law on Thursday will provide funding until 2018 for the federal drought information system.

Farming News

From: Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record

By now, many of us have noticed impacts of the drought - a dry countryside, fewer grazing cows and water only upon request at restaurants.

Farmers, however, have been waiting, and in many cases worrying through the winter.

Northern California crops are dominated by orchards and rice, which make up the bulk of farm income.

From: Staff, Visalia Times-Delta

No matter how you look at it, citrus growers in Tulare County are between a rock and a hard place.

Or more specifically, between and a drought and a pest. It's not a comfortable spot to be.

Hundreds of growers from Tulare County and the surrounding area gathered on Thursday morning at California Citrus Mutual's Annual Showcase, however, to share their concerns and opinions, and to bolster each other as they fight to save the industry.

Food News

From: Staff, Barbara Cooks

A couple of weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to tour three different farms, meet the farmers who run them and learn about how they grow their produce and use water efficiently. The California Farm Water Coalition took me and three other wonderful bloggers through the farming areas of Imperial Valley and Coachella to learn about where our produce comes from and share all this knowledge with you, our readers! I had a fabulous time getting to know Kim from LivLife, Priscilla from She's Cookin' and Jeanne from The Jolly Tomato. I gained a wealth of information that I will share with you in three posts, the first being this one: "Winters Salad Bowl".

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