Friday, July 25, 2014

News articles and links from July 25, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Paul Rockwell, Contra Costa Times

Like the Florida Everglades, the Bay Delta watershed is a national treasure. Every Californian has a stake in the outcome of the fierce controversy over the re-engineering of our unique and precious estuary.

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is 40,000 pages long. To keep it simple, the $25 billion water-transfer project is based on a single assumption: that California's water-ecosystem crisis is caused by a lack -- a lack -- of engineering projects in the Delta watershed. As if the Delta needs more steel, more pumps, more cement (and more farmers dispossessed through eminent domain). The peripheral tunnels, the industrial heart of the project, do not replace, they actually augment hundreds of dams, aqueducts and pumps that already send water to corporate farms and cities south of the Delta.

Coalition response... The situation in the Delta isn't working for anyone - not farmers, not urban water users and certainly not for fish. The legislature recognized this and passed the Delta Reform Act in 2009. A comprehensive solution that addresses water supply reliability and ecosystem benefits is the goal of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and is the result of the legislature's action four years ago. It's time to take a realistic approach to fixing the degraded ecosystem that makes the Delta useless for two-thirds of California's population and millions of acres of farmland.

Water Bond 

From: Jerry Meral, Fresno Bee

In the ongoing debate over water bonds for California, San Joaquin Valley legislators have a lot of leverage. But if they and their colleagues fail to reach agreement when the Legislature goes back to work in August, the Valley won't benefit and the entire state could suffer the consequences. Voters expect a positive legislative response to the drought, and a good water bond would be the best response.

California has many critical water needs - some related to immediate drought relief but others that will continue producing benefits for the state for many years to come. The governor has proposed a $6 billion bond issue for the November ballot that would help finance a full spectrum of much-needed projects for water quality, water supply reliability, increased water storage, conservation and recycling, storm-water capture and environmental enhancement.

From: Doug Obegi, NRDC Blogs

This November, California voters will almost certainly vote on whether to authorize billions of dollars of taxpayer spending for a water bond. But crucially, the next few weeks will determine what water bond will be on the ballot in November - how much borrowing it authorizes, what it spends that money on - and whether it is a good investment in California's water future.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Anna Bitong, Camarillo Acorn

Local lawmakers, agencies and cities have backed a $25-billion plan to build two 35-mile tunnels to move water more efficiently from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to water purveyors serving 25 million people in the state, including more than 600,000 Ventura County residents.

From: Bill Wells, Tracy Press

Mark Cowin, in his recent piece in the Tracy Press, was correct about one thing: "There has been considerable misinformation promulgated about the BDCP (Bay Delta Conservation Plan), which has confused the public." Much of the misinformation has come from Cowin's Department of Water Resources and the Natural Resource Agency.


From: S. Bernstein; J. Chaussee, Reuters 

Underground stores of water in the southwestern United States have receded dramatically amid ongoing drought that has parched states from Oklahoma to the Pacific Coast and is costing California billions in lost crops and jobs, a new study shows.

The study released Thursday by the University of California, Irvine, shows that groundwater in the Colorado River basin has dropped by 40 million acre-feet over the past five years, the equivalent of two of the nation's largest reservoirs.


From: Staff, Associated Press 

Low warm water conditions from the drought are starting to kill salmon in Northern California's Klamath Basin - the site of a massive fish kill in 2002.

A recent survey of 90 miles of the Salmon River on found 55 dead adult salmon and more dead juveniles than would be expected this time of year, Sara Borok, an environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said Thursday. About 700 live fish were counted in cool pools fed by springs.

From: S. Garcia; P. Tice, Modesto Bee 

I recently returned from a family camping spot at New Melones Lake, which we have visited in the past and is one of our area's largest water reserves. I was speechless when I saw the water level of this once majestic lake. I have heard much about the current drought, but have not felt affected by it at a personal level. When I turn on a faucet in my house, water comes out as normal.

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