Tuesday, June 17, 2014

News, Articles, and Links from June 17, 2014

Water Supply
Stealing the Sacramento River- California agro-barons' last huge water grab
From: Will Parrish, The Ecologist 
California's watersheds have been altered more than any other place in the world. The state first achieved this dubious distinction in the early-mid-20th century. The Hoover Dam (on the Colorado River), which began operation in 1936, was the largest dam in the world at the time of its completion.

With regard to the world's biggest concrete river plugs, Shasta Dam (upper Sacramento River) rated second only behind Hoover when finished in 1945.

Water Storage
From: Jim Brobeck, Chico Enterprise-Record 
The majority of developed water in California goes to irrigate agriculture acres. Expanding surface storage creates unrealistic expectations of reliable annual supplies by private property managers and encourages expansion of irrigated acres into previously unirrigated grazing/wildland acres. Inevitable dry periods force investors to exploit groundwater to keep permanent crops hydrated when reservoirs fail to fill.

OPINION: California's water woes can't be solved by conservation alone
From: Paul Wenger, Modesto Bee 
The severe drought of 2014 has unleashed a flood of responses, including calls for draconian legislative action to prevent things from "getting worse" and wide-ranging discussions about a water bond intended to address some of our water infrastructure shortfalls, accompanied by the predictable studies from environmental organizations purporting to show that California can meet all its water needs through conservation alone.

Dried up: poverty in America's drought lands  
From: Amy McDonald, Imperial Valley Press
In more than two decades working at a Central California food bank, Sandy Beals has never seen anything like this spring.

Last month alone, FoodLink of Tulare County served 22,000 people who came in for food - 5,000 more than it usually serves each month and a 12 percent increase from the same month last year. For Beals, who runs the food bank, the spike in hunger traces back to one thing: drought.

Thirsty West: The No-Water Way
From: Eric Holthouse, Slate  

In a year with (practically) no water, here's something that was inevitable: farming without any water at all.

Small farms around the Bay Area are reviving an ancient technique that is just what it sounds like. Add "dry farming" to the list of ideas that could get this dry state through the worst dry spell in half a millennium.

Water Transfers
Redding proposes water transfer to Bella Vista
From: Jenny Espino, Redding Record-Searchlight

A proposal to provide up to 1,200 acre-feet over the summer makes its way to the Redding City Council Tuesday night. The tentative agreement between the city and water district has been in the works for about a month and a half. That means the two sides got to work only two weeks after the city took a public-opinion beating over its April 15 decision to broker a water sale between the McConnell Foundation and the Kanawha and Glide water districts in Glenn County, while doing little to help neighboring Bella Vista, of whom a third of its customers are Redding residents.

Fish evacuated from American River hatcheries due to drought
From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

The drought is forcing state officials to evacuate rainbow trout and steelhead fish from two hatcheries on the American River amid concern the water will become warm enough to kill the fish in coming weeks.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday will use tanker trucks to remove about 1 million trout from the American River Hatchery. From there, they will be planted throughout the state as usual - mostly in Sierra Nevada lakes - but at a much younger age and smaller size.

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