Wednesday, July 23, 2014

News, Articles, and Links from July 23, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Property taxes could pay for $25 billion Delta tunnels without public vote
From: Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News 

Major water districts in California are quietly considering using property taxes -- and possibly raising them without a vote of the public -- to help fund Gov. Jerry Brown's $25 billion plan to build two massive tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  
Most property tax hikes require a two-thirds vote, as required under California's landmark Proposition 13, which voters passed in 1978. But the water agencies contend they are not bound by that requirement.

Water Supply

TID leaders see how Turlock recycles water  
From: John Holland, Modesto Bee

Leaders of the Turlock Irrigation District, which has provided Tuolumne River water to the area since 1900, got a look Tuesday at another possible source. They toured the city of Turlock's sewage treatment plant, which turns out water fit for use on crops.

Water Use Efficiency

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

The Imperial Irrigation District has expanded its on-farm water conservation initiative from an annual program to a multi-year endeavor. The program pays Imperial Valley farmers to adopt water-efficient irrigation processes in their fields, like sprinklers and tailwater recovery systems.

The board's action Tuesday addressed a common criticism of the program: How can farmers recoup their investments in technology like sprinklers and sub-surface drip irrigation, when the IID offers the program on a rigid, year-by-year basis?


From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

State and federal wildlife agencies Tuesday unveiled ambitious plans to restore endangered salmon and steelhead fish in California's Central Valley, including returning them to some habitats where they were shut out decades ago by dams and other development.

Although the two plans differ somewhat, officials said they both aim to prevent extinction of three species: endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.


Merced Irrigation District to pump less groundwater
From: J.N. Sbranti, Modesto Bee

The Merced Irrigation District expects to pump significantly less groundwater this year than it did last year, in part because the irrigation season will be about eight weeks shorter.

"Our projected total is to pump just over 40,000 acre-feet," district General Manager John Sweigard said. His district pumped more than 56,700 acre-feet of groundwater during 2013. By comparison, it pumped 33,465 acre-feet this January through June.

Farmers tap into groundwater reserves
From: Dennis Taylor, Salinas Californian

Unbridled pumping of well water along the Central Coast and in the Central Valley could have dire consequences for the agricultural economy, according to a new study released by the University of California, Davis.

According to the study, titled "Drought Impact Study: California agriculture faces greatest water loss ever seen," Monterey County is faring better than areas around Tulare County and other Central Valley communities. Growers there, after their Water Project was shut down to divert water to people, tapped into ground water basins that are even more perilous than basins here.

Groundwater management discussions begin  
From: Staff, Porterville Recorder

If groundwater management is the wave of the future in California, the Tulare County Supervisors want to make sure they, and local stakeholders, have a say in how it plays out.

A proposed state law that would regulate the pumping of groundwater in basins where the water table is being depleted was one of the topics at a 90-minute meeting on water issues Tuesday. The study session was held three years into a severe drought that has curtailed surface water supplies and forced many farmers in the San Joaquin Valley to resort to pumping groundwater for irrigation.

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