News Worth Noting: UC Davis releases study on economic impacts of drought on ag, temporary transfer to Westlands, Scott River junior rights to be curtailed, Central Valley landowners face fines, LA groundwater study, LAO study of May budget revision

uc davis logoScientists forecast economic impacts of the drought on Central Valley agriculture:  “California’s drought will deal a severe blow to Central Valley irrigated agriculture and farm communities this year, and could cost the industry $1.7 billion and cause more than 14,500 workers to lose their jobs, according to preliminary results of a new study by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.  Researchers estimated that Central Valley irrigators would receive only two-thirds of their normal river water deliveries this year because of the drought. The preliminary analysis represents the first socio-economic forecast of this year’s drought, said lead author Richard Howitt, a UC Davis professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics.  “We wanted to provide a foundation for state agricultural and water policymakers to understand the impacts of the drought on farmers and farm communities,” Howitt said. ... ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Scientists forecast economic impacts of the drought on Central Valley agriculture

waterboard_logoTemporary Transfer Modifying the Department of Water Resources Place of Use under Application 14443: 15,225 acre-feet to Westlands Water District:On May 8, 2014, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) filed a petition for temporary change to transfer up to 15,225 acre-feet of water pursuant to Water Code section 1725 et seq.  With the petition, DWR requests that the place of use of Permit 16479 (Application 14443) be modified to facilitate a transfer of water from Biggs-West Gridley Water District to Westlands Water District. Temporary changes involving the transfer of water may be in effect for one year from the date of approval.  To view project information, please visit the Division of Water Rights website at:   http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_notices/index.shtml

waterboard_logoScott River Junior Water Rights to be Curtailed:The State Water Resources Control Board sent out curtailment notices to junior water right holders on the Scott River on Friday, May 16, to protect the senior water rights of the U.S. Forest Service as spelled out in Scott River Adjudication Decree No. 30662 in Siskiyou County Superior Court. The Scott River watershed has been in crisis for many years due to low flows, which affect fish production.  The Scott River fish production is vital to Klamath Basin fish populations.  Protection of the Forest Service’s senior right in combination with ongoing local efforts furthers the State Water Board’s goal of maintaining flow levels needed for fish survival.  The adjudication decree defines a minimum flow of 150 cubic feet per second in May on the Scott River to maintain the fishery, and an additional 276 cubic feet per second in May for incremental fish flows and for recreation, scenic and aesthetic purposes. … ”  Read more from the State Water Resources Control Board here:  Scott River Junior Water Rights to be Curtailed

waterboard_logoCentral Valley Landowners Face Fines for Failure to get Waste Discharge Permits:  “Five Central Valley landowners face fines from the Central Valley Water Board for allegedly failing to get the required permits for the discharge of water from their irrigated cropland.  The proposed fines range from $2,240 to $8,600 for the landowners who own cropland varying in size from 24 acres to 668 acres.  The land in question is in the Eastern San Joaquin River watershed (Merced, Madera, and Stanislaus counties).  The State Water Code requires an owner or operator of a facility that discharges waste to land to get a water quality permit.  Pesticides and fertilizers used on cropland can run off the land to streams or percolate into the groundwater.  Waste Discharge Requirement permits (WDRS) issued by the Central Valley Water Board include specifications to ensure such waste discharges do not harm the beneficial uses of the Central Valley’s important groundwater aquifers and rivers. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board here:  Landowners Face Fines for Failure to get Waste Discharge Permits

usgs logoGroundwater Study Assesses Potential for Contamination of Drinking-Water Aquifers in Los Angeles:Contaminated groundwater found at shallow depths in southern Los Angeles County has the potential to migrate to deeper aquifers, according to a scientific study just published by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. These results confirm previous studies conducted by WRD and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Over two million residents get approximately 60 percent of their drinking water supply from these deeper aquifers.  The study focused on aquifers in the 280-square mile Central Groundwater Basin, one of the most heavily used groundwater basins in southern California. The study did not analyze treated tap water delivered to consumers. Groundwater is typically treated by water distributors prior to delivering it to customers to ensure compliance with water quality standards for human health. The regionally coordinated investigation used new and existing data, supplemented with new geologic interpretation techniques. Water chemistry data and groundwater simulation models were used to understand the interconnections and water flow between different aquifer layers. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Groundwater Study Assesses Potential for Contamination of Drinking-Water Aquifers in Los Angeles

LAOLegislative Analyst Office reviews May budget revision:  “On May 13, 2014, the Governor released the 2014-15 May Revision to his annual budget proposal. The package continues to build reserves and pay down debts, including a new proposal to fund the teachers’ pension system over about 30 years. Our May revenue forecast projects $2.5 billion higher revenues compared with that of the administration—not substantially different given the size of the state budget. In addition, we project over $700 million more in local property taxes for school districts. If the Legislature were to adopt our office’s higher revenue forecast and property tax estimates, General Fund spending under Proposition 98 would increase $2.7 billion, relative to the administration’s May forecast. Assuming that the administration’s non-Proposition 98 spending estimates are accurate, this would leave around $500 million available for building reserves, paying down more debts, and/or other state priorities.”  Read the report here: The 2014-15 Budget: Overview of the May Revision

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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