Thursday, May 15, 2014

News articles and links from May 15. 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

The public has four weeks remaining to submit comments on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. June 13 is the deadline to comment on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its environmental impact study, which are overseen by the California Department of Water Resources.

The $25 billion project proposes to build three water intakes on the Sacramento River near Courtland. These would feed two 40-foot-diameter tunnels passing 150 feet beneath the Delta to deliver water to existing state and federal canal systems near Tracy.


From: Jeff Fabbri, Medium

Water supply and water storage are not the same thing. The press articles I am reading lately and TV news stories I've seen for the past year, show a general lack of knowledge of the difference, a knowledge that is crucial in forming good public policy in California. The following words should explain why, and why it should be important to understand it well.

I am a family farmer in the Central Valley, living through yet another drought year during my 60 year-existence farming the land in California's Central Valley.What's different than past droughts? The current drought is not our state's worst, however, it might be one that has the worst economic impact. I agree with Peter Gleick who is an American scientist working on issues related to the environment, economic development, with a focus on global freshwaterchallenges who works at the non-profit Pacific Institute in Oakland,California, which he co-founded in 1987.

From: Ian Schwartz, KOVR 13

The hot temperatures are making the drought harder to handle and manage, especially for a group of scientists working to study water usage. The dry weather could put the brakes on tests studying the best growing techniques for farmers.

It isn't an ordinary orchard near Arbuckle that brings almonds or walnuts to your kitchen counter, it's a giant lab of sorts run by the University of California cooperative extension.

From: Derek Moore, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

North Coast wineries and growers remain optimistic following a second consecutive year of record-setting harvests and strong consumer demand for grape varietals that thrive in the region, particularly pinot noir.

"You have to be really screwed up to be a grower in Napa or Sonoma and not be making money," Joe Ciatti, a mergers and acquisitions consultant with Zepponi & Company of Santa Rosa, said Wednesday at the annual Vineyard Economics Seminar.

From: Staff, KFSN 30

The fields and orchards are green right now. Farmers are relying on wells since water from the state and federal projects has been cut.

From: Juan Villa, Visalia Times-Delta

The fight for water during the statewide drought continues for San Joaquin Valley farmers, and two events this weekend are shining a light on that fight.

One will be at Selland Arena in Fresno and the other can be seen right now from the comfort of your home.


From: Rong-Gong Lin, Los Angeles Times

For years, scientists have wondered about the forces that keep pushing up California's mighty Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, causing an increase in the number of earthquakes in one part of Central California. On Wednesday, a group of scientists offered a new, intriguing theory: The quakes are triggered in part by the pumping of groundwater in the Central Valley, which produces crops that feed the nation.

"These results suggest that human activity may give rise to a gradual increase in the rate of earthquake occurrence," said the study published in the journal Nature.

From: Staff, Associated Press

Excessive groundwater pumping for irrigation in California's agricultural belt can stress the San Andreas Fault, potentially increasing the risk of future small earthquakes, a new study suggests. GPS readings found parts of the San Joaquin Valley floor have been sinking for decades through gradual depletion of the aquifer while the surrounding mountains are being uplifted. This motion produces slight stress changes on the San Andreas and neighboring faults.

"The magnitude of these stress changes is exceedingly small compared to the stresses relieved during a large earthquake," lead researcher Colin Amos, a geologist at Western Washington University, said in an email.

Farming News

From: Eric Holthouse, Slate

In California's vast Central Valley, agriculture is king. But the king appears fatally ill, and no worthy replacement is in sight, as the area noticeably reverts into the desert it was little more than a century ago. Signs line the back roads here that run parallel to wide irrigation ditches:
"Pray for rain"
"No water = No jobs"

As I've already discussed in the Thirsty West series, city-dwelling Californians are a bit insulated from near-term water shortages thanks to the state's intricate tentacles of aqueducts, pipelines, and canals that divert water from the snowcapped Sierras to the urban core along the coast. Rapid population growth looms ominously, but for now, you'll still be able to brush your teeth in Oakland and Burbank.

Water Transfers

From: Damon Arthur, Redding Record-Searchlight

One of the worst droughts in decades could pay off for the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District this year.

The district stands to make as much as $1.5 million from selling water to the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority in the San Joaquin Valley. The district plans to sell up to 3,500 acre-feet of its Central Valley Project water to the authority at $500 an acre-foot, said Stan Wangberg, ACID's general manager. The district is ready to begin transferring water, but still needs approval from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Wangberg said.

Water Supply

From: Staff, U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today the release of the 2014 Drought Plan for the Klamath Project. The Plan describes the background for and process of allocating the available Klamath Project water supply from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River during the 2014 spring/summer irrigation season (March 1 to November 15), consistent with the system of contractual priorities that exist within the Project.

From: Staff, Associated Press

Officials said Tuesday that, for the first time in decades, they plan to tap water stored behind a dam east of Fresno, as they try to help California farmers through the ongoing drought.

Pablo Arroyave of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a conference call with reporters that low water levels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have forced officials to turn to Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River. The dam forms the Millerton Lake reservoir.
[This article ran in News Line on 5/14/14 - Link Fixed]

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