Tuesday, July 8, 2014

News articles and links from July 8, 2014

Water Supply 

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press

The public will get its first look at Imperial Irrigation District's water storage proposal at today's Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors meeting. The program, a joint proposal with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, would have the IID store some of its water at Lake Mead for three years, and in doing so bolster its elevation.


From: Staff, KSEE 24

Thousands of miles of canals wind through the Central Valley near homes, throughout the city, and in the countryside. The Friant-Kern Canal is one of the major systems. About 152 miles stretch from north of Fresno down to Bakersfield.

"If there was a system like the Friant-Kern Canal that was to break and was adjacent to some cities, it could create havoc," says Mario Santoyo with the Friant Water Authority. Santoyo says there hasn't been any breaches of that waterway.

From: Sharon Martin, Modesto Bee

Repairs began Monday and are expected to last seven days on the Alta Irrigation District's main canal, which ruptured east of Sanger on Sunday, briefly threatening to flood five homes.

Officials began surveying the damage and preparing for the earthen canal's repairs. Investigators determined that the levee ruptured after wild pigs dug into the canal bank.


From: Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times

The 115-year-old Kern River oil field unfolds into the horizon, thousands of bobbing pumpjacks seemingly occupying every corner of a desert landscape here in California's Central Valley. A contributor to the state's original oil boom, it is still going strong as the nation's fifth-largest oil field, yielding 70,000 barrels a day.

But the Kern River field also produces 10 times more of something that, at least during California's continuing drought, has become more valuable to many locals and has experienced the kind of price spike more familiar to oil: water. The field's owner, Chevron, sells millions of gallons every day to a local water district that distributes it to farmers growing almonds, pistachios, citrus fruits and other crops.

From: Staff, Sacramento Bee

California is the only state in the western United States that does not regulate groundwater at the state level.

Worse, as Sacramento Bee reporter Tom Knudson pointed out in a Sunday story, "As drought persists, frustration mounts over secrecy of California's well drilling logs," the state also is unique in the West with a wrongheaded, outdated 1951 law that makes well logs and drillers reports confidential information and not available to the public.

From: Dave Phippen, Modesto Bee

Imagine my surprise to wake up to yet another Sunday morning story in The Modesto Bee ("Rush to drill is uneven" Page A1, June 29) to learn how those pesky nut farmers have caused even more rural Stanislaus residents to experience the unpleasant experience of a dry well.

Having lived in the country my entire life, I'm no stranger to that helpless feeling when the tap yields no water. In the drought of '77 our family experienced both dry domestic and irrigation wells. We were able to secure loans to drill new wells for both purposes. We realized that with the benefit of living in the country comes the responsibility of providing and maintaining our own water supply. I've fixed, cleaned, modified and replaced many domestic wells for houses on my ranches over my lifetime - it's a fact of life when you live in the country.

Farming News

From: Clare Hassler-Lewis, Wall Street Journal

What will the future of agriculture and food production look like? Most of us are aware of some sobering statistics: With the planet's population expected to approach 10 billion by 2050, and incomes rising, demand for food is likely to double. Demand for water, meanwhile, is projected to grow roughly 55%, according to the 2014 U.N. World Water Development Report, while more than 40% of the world's population will be living in areas of severe water stress. Those are daunting challenges, to be sure.

But from where I'm sitting, I also see a steady stream of new farming technologies, practices and ideas that are increasing our ability to use limited resources efficiently-particularly water. And that promises a future agriculture that can feed the world, sustainably, for generations to come.

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