Wednesday, April 23, 2014

News articles and links from April 23, 2014


Groundwater

From: Timm Herdt, Ventura County Star

Lester Snow has for decades been one of California's premier "water buffaloes" - people who are expert in the arcane policies of water supply and delivery. He worked with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, headed the San Diego County Water Authority and served as director of the state Department of Water Resources under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This year, he senses a shift in public attitude toward taking steps to preserve groundwater, one of California most precious, but unregulated, sources of water.

From: Staff, ACWA

Legislation aimed at addressing groundwater sustainability cleared the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee today.

SB 1168 by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) in its current form would establish a statutory framework to achieve sustainable management of groundwater basins throughout the state. The author called the bill a "work in process" that could become part of other potential legislative vehicles to address groundwater issues this year.

From: Staff, Press-Democrat

Let's talk taboo. Sorry, nothing racy. Today's subject is groundwater. For years, the subject was all but verboten in California. The mere mention unleashed hurricane-force protests.

No other Western state leaves this vital resource unregulated. But the Golden State's biggest water consumers vigorously opposed any monitoring, much less state restriction on how much water they pumped from underground aquifers, and policymakers usually steered away from the storm.

Drought

From: Staff, KSEE 24

This year's drought is the worst in recent memory. Thousands of acres that would have been home to vegetable crops lie fallow. Instead, farmers are choosing to use their water rations to save their permanent crops, their fruit or nut trees.
        
With a limited water supply, growers are having to make a decision, which groves get water, and which groves do not. Shawn Stevenson normally harvests from 1200 acres. this year, he's had to cut back to 800 acres and even that might not be enough.

Fisheries

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

Chinook salmon have resumed their long truck trip from a federal hatchery near Red Bluff to San Pablo Bay, near Vallejo, an emergency measure to protect the fish during drought.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates Coleman National Hatchery near Red Bluff, began the trucking operation March 24 to protect millions of juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon from low water levels and warm temperatures in the Sacramento River. It normally prefers to release the fish at the hatchery on Battle Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River, so they can imprint on the location and more easily find their way back to spawn as adults in three years.

Sacramento River

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

The East Bay Municipal Utility District this month will begin diverting water from the Sacramento River for the first time ever, a clear sign that the drought is literally causing ripples across the state.

The district's board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday to begin tapping its water supplies from the Freeport Regional Water Project on the Sacramento River, which it helped build in partnership with Sacramento County at a cost of nearly $1 billion. The district has not used the diversion since it was completed in 2010.

Transfers

From: Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee

Plans to combat drought by allowing water transfers among farmers could be in jeopardy, growers and Modesto Irrigation District leaders learned Tuesday at a meeting tinged with uncertainty and accusations of unfairness.

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