Tuesday, June 24, 2014

News articles and links from June 24, 2014

Water Bond 

From: Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

The state Senate deadlocked Monday on a $10.5-billion water bond measure proposed for the November ballot when Republicans opposed it for not providing enough for water storage and to protect water rights.

Supporters of SB 848 could not muster the two-thirds vote needed to put the measure on the November ballot as a replacement for an $11.1-billion water bond that senators believe has too much pork to win voter approval. The vote on the measure was 22-9, with some members abstaining.

From: Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee

With the state budget behind them, the Capitol's politicians are turning to water, always California's most divisive political issue - but particularly so during a very severe drought, as a state Senate debate and vote demonstrated Monday.

They are trying - some harder than others - to write a new water bond to replace an $11.1 billion proposal placed on the ballot in 2009 but already postponed twice and widely believed to face voter rejection.

From: Jeremy White, Sacramento Bee

With the governor's controversial Delta tunnel project a key part of the debate, lawmakers on Monday failed to advance a leading Senate proposal to put a revised water bond on the November ballot.

From: Sharon Bernstein & Jennifer Chaussee, Reuters

A long-awaited plan to shore up California's drought-parched water supply stalled in the legislature on Monday, amid Republican complaints that the proposal does not do enough to send water to farms and cities in the state's breadbasket.

Water Supply

From: William Palazzini, Sacramento Bee

If California is in such an extreme drought and farmers are not receiving any irrigation water, why is the Bureau of Reclamation emptying Folsom lake at such a rapid rate? Where is the water going other than into the ocean?

From: Philip Karlstad, Sacramento Bee 

Recently an article in The Bee reported that water releases from Folsom Dam would be increased to reduce the water release temperature and prevent salt water intrusion in the Delta. The Bureau of Reclamations is wrong.

From: Richard Mazzucchi, Red Bluff Daily News

As one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, California produces more than 400 different farm products and is the nation's largest agricultural producer. In 2012, California farm output was valued at a record $45 billion, or about one-tenth of the total for the entire nation, and the state is also the nation's largest agricultural exporter, with exports reaching a record $18.2 billion in 2012.

From: Lisa Krieger, San Jose Mercury News

When a single snowflake falls peacefully atop a Sierra peak, it begins a turbulent journey to help quench the thirst of a drought-stricken state.

In most years, Sierra snow provides a third of California's water supply. But it is by far the least reliable portion - and now, after three years of historically low snowfall, tensions are soaring over how we share the shrinking bounty of this great frozen reservoir.


From: Meagan Clark, International Business Journal

A prolonged drought in California that spread to nearly 33 percent of the state this week is expected to dry up thousands of jobs in the state's agricultural sector and could push U.S. food prices higher this year.

The state's "exceptional" drought is the worst recorded in the 14 years that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been collecting such data. The Golden State, the world's eighth-largest economy, produces nearly half of the nation's fruits and vegetables - 95 percent of the country's broccoli, 81 percent of its carrots, and 99 percent of its artichokes, almonds and walnuts - along with cattle and dairy products.

From: Lauren Sommer, KQED 

Farmers who lack water in California are facing a tough summer ahead, but for those who do have water, it can be a windfall.

Water is hitting record prices on the open market, prompting some farmers to pump groundwater and sell it - what some call "groundwater mining." With groundwater already at record-low levels in parts of the state, concerns are rising that these water sales, known as water transfers, may put pressure on California's overtaxed aquifers.

From: Chris Roberts, KNTV

It's a great time to be a seller of water.

As California's drought enters its third summer, some Central Valley farmers and ranchers lucky enough to have groundwater to sell are raking in epic profits, according to KQED. Some 60 billion gallons of groundwater could be sold via the practice that's called "groundwater mining," the news source reported.

From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

Few of the 7,910 landowners who were ordered last month to stop diverting water from California's rivers have complied. So the state is proposing to "put some teeth" into its emergency drought regulations.

The State Water Resources Control Board next week will consider imposing hefty fines on farmers and other water users to "ensure timely compliance" with curtailment orders.

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