Monday, June 9, 2014

News articles and links from June 9, 2014

Water Rights

From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

Some folks simply don't trust state leaders when it comes to protecting their water rights.

The State Water Resources Control Board this month is expected to "curtail" river diversions for those who established their water rights more than 100 years ago. That includes flows down the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers, which the Northern San Joaquin Valley's big irrigation districts depend on to supply farmers with water.

From: Staff, Modesto Bee  

Water. Even in a drought, it's our saving grace; our hedge against all bets. If you live in Turlock, Modesto, Merced, Manteca or Oakdale, the value of water is not an abstract.

Neither is reliability. Most of our farmland has reliable water. That's why it costs more, produces more and generates more taxes than farmland outside irrigation districts. That reliability is based on rights, most of which were established before 1914, to use water from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. Now, the reliability of those rights is under assault.


From: Staff, Arizona Republic

In the West, where the most valuable of all assets is water and the most dire of all environmental threats is drought, the western region of California's Central Valley is uniquely in peril.

This 4 million acres of agricultural bounty is threatened not by one source of drought, but two.
There is the terrible and lengthy natural drought, in which Arizona shares. And there is the man-made drought. The latter largely is a consequence of infrastructure neglect and a series of court decisions backed by environmental groups, the most important of them intended to protect a small bait fish unique to the delta south of San Francisco.

From: Staff, Los Angeles Times

Masquerading as a response to California's drought, a bill to waive environmental protections and divert more water to Central Valley agriculture passed the Republican-controlled House in February and is now going to conference to be reconciled with a competing bill by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that the Senate adopted last month.

From: Staff, Motley Fool 

If you can't water the crops, you can't grow produce or the hay to feed cattle. That's why companies like Chipotle Mexican Grill have been complaining about rising prices for both produce and meat. It's a problem that the U.S. Department of Agriculture says is going to get worse.

Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC), explained to Modern Farmer that a drought induced price hit, "may not be 5 or 6 months from now -- it might be tomorrow." That's because key products like broccoli, lettuce, and bell peppers have already seen production fall.

Water Supply

From: Staff, KMPH

Thousands of water curtailment notices are now in mailboxes across the state.

The State Water Resources Control Board is telling junior water-rights holders to stop diverting water from the state's main water sheds. Cutoff notices went out to about 2,700 junior water-rights holders in the Sacramento River watershed, as well as 1,600 for the San Joaquin River and 700 for the Russian River. According to the Board, those watersheds don't have enough water to serve all water rights holders.

Water Bond 

From: Sharon Bernstein, Reuters 

As California struggles through its third year of drought, nearly half of state residents said they would be willing to pay higher water bills to ensure a more stable supply, a new poll showed on Friday.

The poll, released by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times, comes as lawmakers in the most populous U.S. state are fighting over ways to ease the drought's impact. Some have called for increased spending to build reservoirs and underground storage, while others have stressed conservation.

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