Thursday, April 24, 2014

News articles and links from April 24, 2014


Water Supply

From: Lauren Sommer, KQED

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and California's severe drought is already inspiring a few. Water districts in the San Joaquin Valley are proposing a drought tactic that's never been tried: they want to reverse the state's plumbing by running the California Aqueduct backwards.

The aqueduct is the main artery of the state's water system. It stretches more than 400 miles, connecting the northern part of the state, where most of the rain falls, to the southern half of the state, where most of the demand for water resides.

From: Rob Parsons, Merced Sun-Star

Irrigation officials this week closed a complicated deal with state agencies to increase the water supply for drought-plagued farmers. The deal could also help authorities cut the price of irrigation water in Merced County.

The State Water Resources Control Board approved the deal granting Merced County farmers more water, said Mike Jensen, Merced Irrigation District spokesman.

From: Kelli Ballard, Porterville Recorder

After a positive water study session on April 8, with the guest speaker Dr. Kenneth D. Schmidt, certified hydrologist and the city's geologic consultant for water well development and recharge programs, stating Porterville is in a unique position for water, and in good shape, it might have come as a surprise to hear at Tuesday's water study session that Porterville is in danger of losing water too.

Mario Santoyo, director and technical advisor for California Latino Water Coalition and assistant general manager of the Friant Water Authority, presented his 2014 Friant Division Water Supply and Water Storage study to the public - and the outlook was not great.

From: Anne Stegen, KERO 23

Central Valley citrus growers are protesting a recent water allocation bump by the state, saying they will not see a drop ot it.

The California Department of Water Resources increased water deliveries to farmers from zero to 5 percent, but it only applies north of Fresno.

From: Staff, Western Farm Press (subscription required)

A recent announcement that California growers reliant upon surface water from the State Water Project would receive 5 percent of their allocation appeared to be good news for much of the state's $2 billion citrus industry. In short, some trees could be kept alive on such an allocation. As with many political decisions, the devil is in the details.

From: Staff, KFSN 30

Citrus growers here are frustrated with the state's recent announcement of 5% water allocation for farmers. (VIDEO)

Regulations

From: Abby Schneider, ACWA

On April 21 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the proposed rule revising the definition of "waters of the United States" under the federal Clean Water Act. This formalizes the proposed changes released in draft form on March 25 and marks the beginning of a 90-day comment period that ends July 21, 2014.

Fisheries

From: Chris Clarke, KCET

In a move that could have ramifications in drought-stricken California, a group representing irrigators in the Columbia and Snake river basins want to use an obscure federal law to prevent new protection of the area's salmon and steelhead populations.

The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association has asked the governors of Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon to invoke the "God Squad" provisions of the Endangered Species Act to address "excessive and unbridled litigation directed toward the region's electric power ratepayers," according to a letter sent to press outlets Monday.

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