Friday, July 11, 2014

News articles and links from July 11, 2014

Water Supply 

From: Staff, New York Times

California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldn't know it by looking at how much water the state's residents and businesses are using. According to a recent state survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state, like the San Diego area, water use has actually increased from 2013.

Coalition response... A persistent myth repeated in this opinion is that 80% of California's water is used to grow food and fiber. This is wrong. California's Department of Water Resources reports that water use is quite different from this claim. The State reports that, in fact only about 41% of water is used to grow food and fiber, approximately 10% goes to drive commerce and be used in homes, while 49% goes to the environment.

Despite the repeated claims of the environmental interest groups Pacific Institute and NRDC, who have sought for years to sell the public a false message of vast agricultural water waste, their estimates of water that can be conserved were soundly dismissed by leading university researchers in 2009 and 2011 as grossly overstated.

While the installation of precision irrigation methods gives better control over when water is applied, research shows that the volume of water used often increases with the use of technologies such as drip. This increased use translates to greater productivity per plant, better plant health, and higher quality food for us to enjoy. Flood irrigation, often maligned, often proves a very efficient method of irrigating, particularly when coupled with laser leveling of fields, and usually require less energy to operate than drip systems.

Water Supply

From: Thomas Del Beccaro, Forbes

California is in the midst of one of its many droughts.  To combat the current drought, the otherwise do-nothings of the California Water Resources Board are proposing to fine citizens they call "water hogs" $500 per day.  Instead of fining helpless consumers, California's government should do its job for once and seriously increase water supplies.

It is well known that California is the most populated state in the Union, with more than 38 million people.  Its population was just under 20 million in 1970, when the bulk of its current water storage and delivery systems were already built.  In other words, the California governments have done very little to significantly increase water supplies in over 40 years, even though its population has doubled during that period of time.

From: Vicky Boyd, The Packer

Every now and then - and particularly during a drought - some group issues a report that says if only California agriculture would conserve a little more, all of the state's water woes would be solved.

But Mike Wade, executive director of the Sacramento-based California Farm Water Coalition, takes exception to that. "Conservation and recycling are important, but we can't conserve our way out of the existing situation with the current demands," he said.


From: Staff, San Jose Mercury News

The California State Water Resources Control Board will decide next week whether to impose mandatory limits on urban water use and slap violators with fines of up to $500 a day. This begs two questions:

1) What took it so long?
2) Why aren't agricultural water users, who gulp 80 percent of California's usable supply, getting the same attention?

From: Staff, Modesto Bee

We hope the State Water Resources Control Board affirms all the staff recommendations for emergency urban water cutbacks outlined Wednesday - restrictions and fines on excessive landscape watering, running hoses and rinsing off sidewalks. Such rules are reasonable and doable.


From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record  
Stockton is fighting a new wastewater permit that the city says could cost its ratepayers anywhere from $195 million to $252 million and increase rates by perhaps 80 percent.

A formal appeal was filed this week with the State Water Resources Control Board. A lower board approved the permit last month, pushing aside the city's argument that in this case, the benefits of stricter pollution standards did not justify the cost.

San Joaquin River

From: John Sutter, CNN

After three weeks and about 400 miles, I finished my kayaking (and walking) journey down the "most endangered" river in America: California's San Joaquin. This page collects the tweets from my adventure. The journey started way up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and ended beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on July 4.

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