In case you missed it: several important news stories during Easter weekend about the new California drought measures and the change in the Delta tunnels plan listed below.
$25-billion Sacramento-San Joaquin delta tunnel project reexamined — Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is overhauling its proposal for a controversial tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta in the wake of doubts about whether water exporters can meet stringent federal conditions for operating the system over a 50-year period. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/5/15
Governor Brown's drought order lets agribusiness, oil companies off …
Bay Area Indymedia-Apr 4, 2015
“Governor Brown has had two responses of opposite extremes to the drought crisis,” said RTD executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.
Almond Rush Raises Tough Questions During Dry Times
Capital Public Radio News-9 hours ago
Bays is watering his groves with as little water as possible through deficit … in areas south of the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, not only withers orchards, …
Skelton: Why do farmers get a free pass from Brown? — Gov. Jerry Brown targets the 20% of developed water that flows to urban use; ag takes up the other 80%. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/6/15
Gov. Jerry Brown defends agriculture's water use amid drought
Sacramento Bee-16 hours ago
Gov. Jerry Brown defended the agriculture industry's heavy water use in an interview aired Sunday, but he said historic water rights are …
California Slow To Spend Emergency Drought Money
Cap Public Radio Monday, April 6, 2015
Here’s a key fact to keep in mind:
“Simply because the money has been awarded or encumbered doesn’t mean that it’s been spent,” explains Sacramento State political analyst Steve Boilard, a veteran state budget watcher.
That’s true for the $870 million in “emergency drought relief” approved by the governor and lawmakers last year.
The Brown administration says it’s committed just over half of that money. So “half of the money – nothing’s been done with it yet?” Boilard says. “The uncommitted half hasn’t yet resulted in work.”…
Lawn-watering cutbacks alone could meet governor’s demand — Noting that outdoor watering accounts for up to 80 percent of urban water use in some areas, Kostyrko said that cutbacks on lawn irrigation could, by themselves, meet the governor’s order issued last Wednesday, the state’s first mandatory water-use restrictions. Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press — 4/6/15
State proposes emergency fishing closure of Sacramento River section to 'protect' winter Chinook!
by Dan Bacher Daily Kos 4/6/15
The Brown administration, in collaboration with the Obama administration, has driven winter run Chinook closer to extinction through the abysmal management of Northern California reservoirs and rivers over the past three drought years.
Over 95 percent of winter Chinook eggs and young fish perished last year, due to the virtual emptying of Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River, Shasta Lake on the Sacramento River, Lake Oroville on the Feather River and Folsom Lake on the American River to supply water during a record drought to corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking steam injection operations in Kern County.
Beneath California Crops, Groundwater Crisis Grows — Farmers are pumping billions of gallons of water from the ground, depleting a resource that was endangered before the drought even began. Justin Gillis and Matt Richtel in the New York Times$ —
Walters: Jerry Brown now owns California’s big drought — Responses to crises often define political executives – presidents, governors and big-city mayors – for posterity. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ — 4/5/15
Morain: Swimming upstream to save a victim of state’s water crisis — At the southern edge of the Delta, past a newly planted almond orchard, a vineyard and another young almond grove, 24 tanks are filled with roughly 400 tiny fish each, among the last of the Delta smelt. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ — 4/5/15
The new politics of the California almond — Almonds are now California’s largest food export, the sixth largest U.S. food export and the top specialty crop in America. The California crop is currently valued at over $6 billion dollars, according to the web site for Blue Diamond, the Sacramento based almond-processing collective that is the largest producer of almonds in the world. But the drought is quickly changing the narrative on the nuts. Anthony York Grizzly Bear Project — 4/5/15
Drought shows need to realign California's agricultural water supply
Sacramento Bee-Apr 5, 2015
Jerry Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board to realign and ensure … these operations divert fresh water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, …
Water limits renew urban vs. rural debate — Agriculture uses most of state's water but is exempted from California's new restrictions. Drought has already fallowed more than 400,000 acres. Chris Nichols UT San Diego$ — 4/5/15
Wealthy cities lag behind in drought water conservation — There are few signs of California’s epic drought along a stretch of Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. Frank Shyong, Hailey Branson-Potts, Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/5/15
Big water users like Beverly Hills, Newport hit hardest by Brown order — L.A. is on target to hit Brown's goal, but communities like landscape-lush Beverly Hills and Newport Beach must deal with much higher per-capita water use.. Matt Stevens and Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/4/15
Drought 2015: Brave words won’t be enough — Let everything die. Rat on your neighbor. Pay through the nose. Then wait until summer when Big Government gets really mean. Welcome, central San Joaquin Valley residents, to new rules for surviving Drought 2015. Local cities are hustling to figure out how they’ll comply with Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent executive order listing 31 drought-fighting mandates. George Hostetter, MarkGrossi and Lewis Griswold in the Fresno Bee — 4/5/15
Drought: Gov. Jerry Brown's water order ripples onto Inland Empire turf — The governor's order last week that all of California cut urban water use by 25 percent could be heard all the way to Ed Neighbors' lawn in North Fontana. Grace Wong, Jim Steinberg, Liset Marquez in the Inland Daily Bulletin — 4/5/15
California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth — The state’s history as a frontier of prosperity and glamour faces an uncertain future as the fourth year of severe shortages prompts Gov. Jerry Brown to mandate a 25 percent reduction in non-agricultural water use. Adam Nagrouney, Jack Healy and Nelson D. Schwartz in theNew York Times$ — 4/5/15
Gov. Brown's drought plan goes easy on agriculture — Gov. Jerry Brown's historic order to curb California's water use largely bypasses agriculture, the state's biggest water user, setting off debate about whether growers are getting a pass. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/4/15
Californians with century-old water rights face restrictions — Farms and other Californians that have been shielded from water reductions because of century-old claims could face new restrictions, the State Water Resources Control Board saidFriday. Fenit Nirappil Associated Press — 4/4/15
Water Agencies Preparing For Mandatory Restrictions — David Bolland is with the Association of California Water Agencies. He says many agencies already have restrictions in place. But he says customers may see changes in the coming months. For instance, water pricing may be adjusted. Katie Orr Capital Public Radio — 4/4/15
Baldassare: PPIC Sets Up Water Policy Center — The Public Policy Institute of California announces the launch of the PPIC Water Policy Center. Led by PPIC senior fellow Ellen Hanak, the center will spur innovative water management solutions that support a healthy economy, environment, and society—now and for future generations. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Mark Baldassare Fox & Hounds — 4/4/15
California’s Green Drought
Wall Street Journal
How bad policies are compounding the state’s water shortage. …
Not even Gov. Brown can make it rain, but he and other politicians can stop compounding the damage by putting water storage, transportation and market pricing above environmental obsessions. Do not hold your breath—and prepare for French showers.
Jim Costa: Everyone has a role in ending our water crisis
Fresno Bee-Apr 4, 2015
The water crisis that California faces is a direct result of two factors, the driest four … minimize effects on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem.
Maven’s notebook: 4/6/15
How long can California farmers dodge water restrictions? “As California enters its fourth year of drought, the governor is not backing down from his mandatory water cutbacks. But critics say the new measures don't focus on the biggest water users in the Golden State, and the $46 billion farming industry is getting a pass — for now. … “I don't think that we can sustain agriculture at the level that we have been. The water supply just isn't there,” NASA's senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti said. ... ” Read more from CBS This Morning here: How long can California farmers dodge water restrictions?
Distrust deepens in the Delta: “Salty water from San Francisco and Suisun bays is kept from flowing deep into the California Delta largely by the opposing flow of fresh water from the Sacramento River. But as that flow diminishes, either because of the drought or man’s engineering, there is concern expressed by state officials that the salt water will flow in, killing agriculture, threatening native fish species and fouling drinking water. Part of the governor’s April 1 edict on water conservation is to build small dams across three waterways in the California Delta to prevent that. They’re called salt water barriers. … ” Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here: Distrust deepens in the Delta
In California, farmers rely on oil wastewater to weather drought: “The wet, white noise of gushing water rises above a background track of twangy guitar. Water is tumbling out of a pipe into a holding pond that looks as though it has sat nearly empty for ages, its sandy sides the color of parched desert. It looks like the California of recent headlines: drought so bad the ground is blowing away. Except now, here, in this promotional video for Chevron, there is water. Lots of it. “The sound of that water is music to my ears,” David Ansolabehere, the general manager of the Cawelo Water District in Kern County, says in the video, gazing out over the rapidly filling pond. “Chevron is being environmentally conscious, and this is a very beneficial program, and it’s helped a lot of our farmers, helped our district, tremendously.” … ” Read more from Newsweek here: In California, farmers rely on oil wastewater to weather drought
With new thinking, flood control projects can ease drought: John Cain and Chris Unkel write, “Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature announced a $1.1 billion drought relief plan for California. But the $660 million allocated for flood managementhad many observers scratching their heads. We believe that this money could actually enhance water supply, but only if we rethink the flood system. The governor is absolutely right to be thinking ahead about floods. The epic 10-year Australian drought ended with the two biggest flood years on record. Climate-change predictions of more frequent “pineapple express” storms underscore this threat to California. But what does this have to do with drought? … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: With new thinking, flood control projects can ease drought
Trade workers set to benefit from Gov. Jerry Brown's project list — At his recent groundbreaking for the state's high-speed train, Gov. Jerry Brown paused while extolling the project to laud the union workers who will build it….
… his Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta tunnels, a controversial $25-billion …Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ — 4/6/15