Thursday, July 17, 2014

News articles and links from July 17, 2014


Groundwater

From: Ed Joyce, Capital Public Radio

A Sacramento Superior Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday requiring regulation of groundwater pumping to protect a river in Siskiyou County.

Attorneys on both sides say it's the first time a California court has ruled the "public trust doctrine" applies to groundwater. The doctrine says the State of California holds all waterways for the benefit of the people.

The lawsuit claimed groundwater pumping in the Scott River
Basin is partly responsible for decreased river flows - limiting the public's use of the river and harming fish habitat.

Drought

From: Scott Smith, Insurance Journal

Farmers in pockets of California hardest hit by the drought could begin to see their wells run dry a year from now if rain and snow remain scarce in the agriculturally rich state, according to a study released Tuesday.

Richard Howitt, a University of California, Davis professor emeritus of agriculture and resource economics, urged farmers to take the lead in managing groundwater to irrigate crops and sustain California's $44.7 billion farming industry.

From: Desiree Salas, Latinos Post

A recent University of California study showed that the current drought ravaging California this year is causing the "greatest absolute reduction in water availability for California agriculture ever seen," Mashable reported.

"The California drought will deprive the state's thirsty farmers of 6.6 million acre-feet of surface water, which works out to a whopping 2.2 trillion gallons - enough to fill 60 million average-sized swimming pools," the site said. "Farmers are making up for some of this lost water by pumping as much groundwater as they can tap into, which will diminish the state's ability to withstand future droughts."

Recycle Water

From: Desiree Salas, Latinos Post

A recent University of California study showed that the current drought ravaging California this year is causing the "greatest absolute reduction in water availability for California agriculture ever seen," Mashable reported.

"The California drought will deprive the state's thirsty farmers of 6.6 million acre-feet of surface water, which works out to a whopping 2.2 trillion gallons - enough to fill 60 million average-sized swimming pools," the site said. "Farmers are making up for some of this lost water by pumping as much groundwater as they can tap into, which will diminish the state's ability to withstand future droughts."

Water Use

From: Staff, Sacramento Bee

Use a hose, go to jail.

California hasn't quite come to threatening unrepentant water wasters with time in the big house. But emergency rules adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday do take the state a lot closer to criminalizing the squandering of a precious resource.

It's an unpleasant but necessary measure. As a study by UC Davis makes clear, the ongoing drought hurts the state's economy. It's a pain that trickles down to all of us, even those already doing their part to cut back.

But it is frustrating that agriculture has been let off the hook.

From: Katharine Mieszkowski, Fresno Bee

After largely ignoring a conservation law passed during the last drought, some of California's largest agricultural water districts are facing a lawsuit that would force them to measure how much water farmers use.

The 2009 law was designed to push the state's biggest water users to conserve by closely monitoring their use. Then, the state's agricultural water districts are supposed to charge the farmers, at least in part, based on that use.

But the state doesn't actually know how many agricultural water districts are meeting the new requirements or even inching toward doing so because more than 20 of them have failed to turn in what's called a water management plan. The plans were due more than 18 months ago.

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