Tuesday, May 6, 2014

News articles and links from May 6, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Staff, BDCP Blog

The City of Los Angeles' independent Office of Public Accountability has released its fiscal analysis of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. In it, the analysis concludes in part: "... that under a wide array of cost and water demand scenarios, the total BDCP is affordable to almost all City households." The analysis also highlights the importance of the need for reliability in the core water supply for one of the nation's largest cities.


From: Froma Harrop, Seattle Times

This summer, even drinking water may be hard to find in some Central California towns. This region is in its third year of drought, among the worst in recorded history.
Yet agribusinesses are planting huge new groves of thirsty almond and pistachio trees. Bear in mind, these are permanent plantings. A quick crop such as alfalfa can be plowed under during a water crisis. Trees and vines, on the other hand, need years to mature. An acre could be a $3 million investment.

From: Reed Fujii, Stockton Record

Federal estimates that California could produce nearly 2 billion pounds of almonds this year comes with a big maybe, spelled D-R-O-U-G-H-T. The U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service last week pegged this fall's nut haul at 1.95 billion pounds, based on a survey of growers statewide.

That would be down 2.5 percent from the 2 billion pounds harvested in 2013, as well as the record 2.03 billion-pound crop of 2011. But an industry expert and San Joaquin County growers said Monday the lack of water due to near-record drought conditions could take an uncertain toll.


From: John Holland, Modesto Bee 

About two decades ago, the Turlock Irrigation District started using electronic flow meters. They could be off by as much as a fifth, but they still helped with the imperfect science of delivering water in open canals.

That won't cut it anymore. A state law requires greater accuracy for irrigation districts by the end of next year, with the goal of stretching a resource vital to farms, cities and fish.


From: Ian James, Desert Sun

Water managers often liken aquifers to shared bank accounts, and in many areas of California, the account balances have been dropping for years as overpumping has depleted the underground reserves.

Now, with one of the worst droughts on record hitting the state, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering ideas for addressing the problem, and they are likely to draw on a new list of recommendations calling for stronger local management backed up by state oversight and enforcement.

From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee

A key advisory group told Gov. Jerry Brown's administration Monday that regulation must be part of the fight against overdrafting precious groundwater -- the state's declining safety net in drought crisis.

The nonprofit, independent California Water Foundation recommends control of underground water by local groups under the authority of state regulations. But if the local groups failed, state authorities should enforce the rules, the foundation recommended.

From: Eric Chu, Merced Sun-Star

Garth Stapley wrote in "Future of MID farm water transfers is uncertain" (Online, April 22) that the Modesto Irrigation District added last-minute requirements for farmers to participate in their water transfer programs. Modesto Irrigation needlessly chooses to make participation more difficult for farmers. As a concerned citizen, I am worried about the potential impact this decision may have on groundwater supplies.

Because of the drought, farmers do not receive enough surface water supplies to sustain their crops. As a result, the Valley has witnessed a surge in well-drilling for groundwater supplies in the past few months.

Farming News 

From: Staff, Porterville Recorder

There are now 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 914.5 million acres of farmland across the United States, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agriculture census presents more than 6 million pieces of information, which provide a detailed look at the U.S. farm sector at the national, state and county levels.

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