Daily Digest, early edition: As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms; drought-stressed crops may be better for you, a drought-themed corn maze, and more news …

Daily DigestIn California water news today: As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms; California farmers: ‘We are getting much less water’; drought-stressed crops may be better for you; Patterson farm features drought-themed corn maze; California farmers unite to adapt to climate change; Jerry Brown’s team releases a slew of new ads for Props 1&2; fracking ban on the ballot in tiny San Benito County has big statewide implications, and more …

It’s an early edition today as I am attending the water policy conference at Stanford.  Hope to see you there!

In the news today …

  • As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms:  “Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up. That’s what happened to Pam Vieira, who lives south of Modesto, Calif. Her water well has slowed to a trickle, and you can see the sand in the tank of her toilet.  “Sometimes we have brown water,” Vieira says. “Sometimes we have no water.”  Vieira is one of as many as 2 million rural California residents who rely on private domestic wells for drinking water. … ”  Read more from NPR here:  As their wells run dry, California residents blame their thirsty farms
  • California farmers: ‘We are getting much less water’:  Radio transcript of NPR program:  “Not all farmers have unlimited access to water. How much water a farmer has varies from district to district in California because of a complicated water rights system. We’re going to talk now with Dan Errotabere. He and his family have 5,200 acres of everything from alfalfa to grapes, but it’s his almond crop that has been particularly devastated by this drought. Dan Errotabere joins us from his farm in Riverdale, California.  … ”  Continue reading or listen to the radio show here: California Farmers: We Are Getting ‘Much Less Water’
  • Drought-stressed crops may be better for you:  “Tiziana Centofanti carefully hand-waters some pomegranate trees with a tiny bucket. “The important thing is to go really slowly,” she says. “The soil is very dry right now.”  Centofanti is a research scientist affiliated with the Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State. She’s based at the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Parlier, a sprawling campus of experimental farmland about half an hour south of Fresno.  One of the questions she’s asking is whether fruit from trees that don’t get much water are less nutritious, compared to fruit from trees that get plenty of water. ... ”  Read more form KQED Science here:  Drought-stressed crops may be better for you
  • Patterson farm features drought-themed corn maze: “A Patterson farm has scaled back its corn maze and etched a giant message in the fields all about the drought.”  Watch the newscast here:  Patterson farm features drought-themed corn maze
  • California farmers unite to adapt to climate change:  “Blessed with a Mediterranean climate larger than the actual Mediterranean, California produces over half of US consumed fruits, nuts and vegetables. California is also a worldwide leader in renewable energy. And now a new alliance is inviting the largest ag state, to combine what they produce best, agriculture and clean energy. By adapting to climate change, it’s 80,500 farms and ranches could become smart climate agriculture global heroes.  “California could be at the forefront of this movement. If the world can get to where we are, and we are always moving forward, that is a great place to be,” said A.G. Kawamura, co-founder of Solutions From The Land, former Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, produce farmer, and also co-lead of the Summit’s Working Landscapes Action Team. … ”  Read more from California Forward here:  California farmers unite to adapt to climate change
  • Jerry Brown’s team releases a slew of new ads for Props 1&2:  “While he still hasn’t done a single ad for his own 2014 re-election campaign, California Gov. Jerry Brown will hit the airwaves again Monday to push two state ballot measures — this time with a new TV spot that gives a subtle nod to the legacy of his father, the late Gov. Pat Brown.  The ad starring the California governor is one of four new spots which will air statewide Monday to boost Props. 1 and 2 on the state ballot — a $7.1 billion water bond and rainy day fund. Other ads will feature economist Laura Tyson, a central Valley farmer, and narrator Peter Coyote, a longtime Democratic activist actor who most recently narrated the Ken Burns’ “Roosevelt” documentary series. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Jerry Brown’s team releases a slew of new ads for Props 1&2
  • Fracking ban on the ballot in tiny San Benito County has big statewide implications:  “When President Ronald Reagan was pushing for offshore oil drilling on the edges of Monterey Bay in the mid-1980s, Santa Cruz voters fought back, approving a ballot measure that banned construction of all storage tanks, pipelines and other oil equipment in the city.  The small protest vote was soon copied by 25 other coastal communities, from San Diego to Fort Bragg, helping to kill the oil industry’s drilling plans. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Fracking ban on the ballot in tiny San Benito County has big statewide implications
  • Drought funding for San Joaquin County dries up:  “San Joaquin County is missing out on millions of dollars in state grants to fight the drought, in part because some private landowners are reluctant to share confidential information about their wells.  The state recently rejected the multiagency Groundwater Banking Authority’s request for almost $5 million in voter-approved Proposition 84 bond money. The cash would have helped pay for both urban and agricultural water conservation initiatives. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Drought funding dries up
  • Merced County supervisors to consider first draft of groundwater ordinance:  “The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will get its first glimpse of a draft groundwater ordinance that regulates out-of-county sales, in addition to the possible creation of a financial assistance program to help county residents repair dried-up domestic wells.  Merced County’s water committee, which includes Supervisors John Pedrozo and Hub Walsh, met with various groups throughout the county, including the Farm Bureau, water districts and other stakeholders, to get feedback on the proposed ordinance. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Merced County supervisors to consider first draft of groundwater ordinance
  • Lake Powell inflows about average for 2014 water year: Near-average inflow to Lake Powell the past 12 months helped maintain storage at a similar level to last year in the key Colorado River reservoir. According to the Bureau of Reclamation. For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, the inflow was 10.381 million acre feet, which is 96 percent of average and about double the inflow of the previous two water years. Lake Powell currently is storing about 12.3 million acre feet, slightly from last year at the same time. ... ”  Read more from the Summit County Citizen’s Voice here: Colorado River flows about average for 2014 water year

In commentary today …

  • Prop 1 is one more shovel of dirt on our fisheries, says Zeke Grader: “The next time you crack open a crab, or are served a plate of our delicious salmon, think about the near-extinction of these fantastic seafoods due to overpumping our rivers and the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary to water desert mega-farms.  The salmon and crab that are essential to Northern California diet and culture, and the $1.4 billion this fishing industry contributes to our economy, will eventually disappear from our dinner plates if Proposition 1 passes in the November election. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Prop 1 is one more shovel of dirt on our fisheries

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition …

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Just a little bit:  From the National Weather Service:  “Sunny and mild weather today will change [Monday] as a system moves through Northern California. The system will bring cooler temperatures and breezy and gusty southerly winds. The system will also bring a chance of precipitation, especially around the Interstate 80 corridor and North by [Monday] evening. Some instability in the late afternoon and evening for a slight chance of thunderstorms, mainly east of Interstate 5. Precipitation is expected to diminish Tuesday morning.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

hard_working_on_computer_anim_150_clr_7364Maven’s Notebook
The diary of a confessed obsessive-compulsive California water news junkie

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