Friday, June 6, 2014

News articles and links from June 6, 2014


From: Diana Diamond, Chico Enterprise-Record

Let's not keep telling people to conserve more water, take fewer showers or recycle their washing machine with gray water. We need to do something much more dramatic to handle what, most likely, will be continuing droughts in our arid state. A horrible idea? Consider that California's usable water is divided into three categories -- agriculture, which takes about 80 percent of it a year; industry and commerce, which use 10 percent; and the 38 million of us who together consume 10 percent. So percentage-wise, people don't use as much water.  

Coalition response...  Diana's claim that farms use 80%, Industry uses 10% an Cities use 10% of California's usable water is, regrettably, wrong. California's Department of Water Resources, in their report on water use (Bulletin 160) reports that the use of California's available water is: Agricultural Water uses 41%, Municipal and Industrial uses roughly 10%, and we dedicate 49% of available water to the Environment.  

Finding solutions for our growing state is important, and some balance of improved water management, new supply, and conservation will help ensure we have the flexibility and resources to prepare for the future.

Water Bond 

From: Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times

Most Californians surveyed say the statewide drought has had little or no impact on their daily lives, and a majority oppose the suspension of environmental protections or large-scale public spending to boost water supplies, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has found.

Although 89% characterize the drought as a major problem or crisis, only 16% say it has personally affected them to a major degree.Despite widespread news coverage of the drought - one of the worst in recent decades - the state's major population centers have largely escaped severe mandatory rationing. Even agriculture, which as California's thirstiest sector is inevitably hit the hardest by drought, has partially compensated for reduced water delivery by pumping more groundwater. That has softened the drought's effect on many, apparently blunting the desire for drastic remedies and big spending on water projects.

From: Ellen Hanak, Brian Gray, Jay Lund, et al. California WaterBlog

In late January, Gov. Jerry Brown released the California Water Action Plan, which outlines 10 strategic priorities for putting the state on a more sustainable water management path. The plan - intended to guide state water policy for the next five years - places the current drought emergency in a broader context, acknowledging the need for a comprehensive approach to improving water supply reliability, restoring damaged ecosystems, and making our water infrastructure more resilient to droughts, floods and other hazards.

From: Ellen Brown, Huffington Post

Funding infrastructure through bonds doubles the price or worse. Costs can be cut in half by funding through the state's own bank.

"The numbers are big. There is sticker shock," said Jason Peltier, deputy manager of the Westlands Water District, describing California Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two massive water tunnels through the California Delta. "But consider your other scenarios. How much more groundwater can we pump?"

Water Transfers 

From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee

A drought-inspired water swap will likely save hundreds of citrus orchards in the rolling hills of Tulare County, but it won't come cheap for desperate farmers.

Terra Bella growers were facing the summer without San Joaquin River water in a region with almost no well water. Terra Bella Irrigation District leaders feared thousands of acres of trees would be lost, amounting to a $59 million hit.

From: Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun-Star

A scaled-back version of a controversial project to sell groundwater out of Merced County was unanimously approved by Del Puerto Water District board members this week - one of the two Stanislaus County water districts benefiting from the multimillion-dollar sale.

Meanwhile, state officials issued a violation letter to one of the two property owners behind the groundwater sale - Los Banos resident Steve Sloan - for failing to obtain an encroachment permit before making alterations to a levee on his proper

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