Wednesday, July 30, 2014

News articles and links from July 30, 2014

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Doug Obegi, Sacramento Bee

There's no question that California is facing one of the worst droughts in its history. As a state that uses more water than we have available - even in "wet" years - there are some critical decisions we need to make about how to move forward.

But as we decide how to spend billions of dollars on the water solutions needed to carry us into the future, it's critical that we address the short-term needs of this historic drought without getting tunnel vision and losing sight of what's going to be best in the long run for the businesses and individuals who live and work here.

Coalition response... Doug Obegi's portfolio option doesn't provide sufficient water to maintain food production on much of the highly productive land on the San Joaquin Valley's Westside. Along with those farms come jobs for tens of thousands of people in communities like Firebaugh, Huron, San Joaquin and Mendota. Obegi's callous disregard for the people and communities that depend on agriculture is utterly shameful. Rather than seeking options that sustain farmland and rural economies that have produced food and fiber since the late 1800s, Obegi and co-author Kim Delfino would rather see millions of acre-feet of water flushed out to the ocean with no measurable economic or environmental benefits.   

Water Use

From: Carolee Krieger, San Francisco Chronicle 

California produces more than 80 percent of the world's almonds, accounting for an export gross of more than $2.5 billion. Almonds, in short, are a profitable crop. But there's a big problem with these new plantings in the San Joaquin Valley. Almonds are thirsty.

California's almond orchards use almost 9 percent of the state's agricultural water supply, or about 3.5 million acre feet. That's enough water to supply the domestic needs of the Los Angeles Basin and metropolitan San Diego combined - about 75 percent of the state's population.


From: Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee

Nut farmers and other Modesto Irrigation District customers can wait to water crops as late as Oct. 3. That's two weeks later than initially planned, giving trees a better chance of surviving the drought and being healthy enough to produce again next year.

The MID board also agreed Tuesday to accommodate another round of farmer-to-farmer water transfers with a Sept. 2 application deadline. And the district might offer to sell some extra water reserved in April by a few farmers who haven't asked or paid for it since then.

From: Charles Feldman, CBS LA, KNX 1070

California is at a "tipping point," say leading climatologists, as a historic drought enters its fourth year with no end in sight.

The numbers are both informative and scary: For the first time in 15 years, the entire state finds itself under drought conditions; and our last official "rain year" in Southern California was one of the driest in 500 years, based on an analysis of tree rings. It's "very unusual" to have these extremely dry years, says Lynn Ingram, professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley.

From: Staff, KSEE 24

Citrus growers and lawmakers gathered in the Valley Tuesday to push for a water bond for the November ballot. The group called for support in the middle of a dry orchard to show the drought's devastation.


From: Staff, Porterville Recorder

Farmers who are already reeling from a lack of water to irrigate their crops this summer are being hit with an annual acreage fee to meet a mandated program to monitor water runoff from irrigated lands.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in September of 2013 adopted new waste discharge requirements to protect ground and surface water from irrigated agricultural discharges for the Tulare Lake Basin area. That led to a plan to monitor groundwater and what impacts irrigation has on that groundwater.

Farming News 

From: Staff, KNSD 7

A San Diego lettuce farmer was invited to the White House Tuesday to be recognized as a "Champion of Change." As NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe explains, this farm uses 80 percent less water than conventional lettuce farms. [Video]

Press Releases

From: Jared Huffman, Office of Congressman Huffman

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today led a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) outlining a strong opposition to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The letter, cosigned by California Reps. George Miller, Mike Thompson, Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, and Jerry McNerney, was offered as part of the public review and comment period, which ends today.

From: John Garamendi, Office of Congressman Garamendi

Yesterday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a leader on water policy in California, released his public comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the Governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan's (BDCP) proposed twin tunnels boondoggle.

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