Daily Digest: Twin tunnels, drought, avocados, pot growers, water rights, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Twin tunnels won’t restore the Delta: Brown admits water bypass plan can’t guarantee it’ll help fish, environment; Drought devastating California farms, drying up jobs; As drought dries up wells, Monson hopes for more than just talk about a fix; Los Angeles still has a long way to go in water conservation, study finds; Drought to hit San Diego County farmers hard; 15 years after “Erin Brockovich”, town still fearful of polluted water, and more news and commentary …

On the calendar today …

Water Storage Investment Program Public Meeting will be held in Chico on April 13th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Twin tunnels won’t restore the Delta: Brown admits water bypass plan can’t guarantee it’ll help fish, environment: Gov. Jerry Brown is rethinking a major component of the state’s proposed $25 billion twin-tunnel water project, a newspaper reported.  … The change comes after biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies told the state they won’t issue permits for the environmental plan because the state cannot prove it will restore salmon, smelt, sturgeon and other wildlife, the Mercury News reported. ... ”  Read more from the AP via the Manteca Bulletin here: Twin tunnels won’t restore the Delta

See also: Sacramento Delta: Brown proposes dropping major part of twin-tunnel project, from KPCC;

Farmers to city dwellers: We’re all in this together:  “As the months have worn on, drier and drier but for the very occasional gift from above, it has been hard to avoid a looming civil war in California over a common enemy, the drought.  Loosely, the battle is between ideologically and culturally opposite coastal and inland residents. Specifically, it is between city dwellers and those in the state’s farm belt, separated by mountain ranges but, more than that, a yawning canyon of misunderstanding. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  Farmers to city dwellers: We’re all in this together

Drought devastating California farms, drying up jobs:  “California’s drought problems could have far-reaching impacts.  A disproportionate amount of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown in California, which ranks as the top produce in a number of popular foods.  But the drought forced California farmers to fallow 500,000 acres of land in 2014. And the number could double in 2015, experts say.  “2015 is going to be significantly worse than 2014,” said Richard Howitt, an agriculture and resource economics expert at the University of California, Davis. … ”  Read more from McClatchy News here:  Drought devastating California farms, drying up jobs

As drought dries up wells, Monson hopes for more than just talk about a fix:  “When the breeze suddenly shifts, there’s a pungent reminder of the portable toilets in the yard where children play and folks sometimes barbecue for dinner.  Servando Quintanilla cringes. He owns the five rental homes on the property where the only well went dry a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t want his renters forced to use portable toilets in the yard. It’s the drought nightmare he has tried to avoid since last year. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  As drought dries up wells, Monson hopes for more than just talk about a fix

Los Angeles still has a long way to go in water conservation, study finds: Los Angeles residents and city leaders express pride in the significant cuts in water use they have made. Per capita water demand dropped countywide about 16% between 2000 and 2013.  But a new UCLA study found that L.A. County still has a long way to go.  Water use increased between 2011 and 2013, according to research. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here: L.A. County still has long way to go in water conservation, study finds

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More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

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Drought to hit San Diego County farmers hard: San Diego agricultural use classified as urban irrigation, avocado growers imperiled:Massive and permanent losses in avocado and citrus production could occur in heavily agricultural Valley Center and other parts of North County if Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory water cutback order isn’t modified, a key water official in that area said Friday.  Valley Center is classified as an urban water agency even though 70 percent of its water is used for agriculture, said Gary Arant, general manager of the Valley Center Municipal Water District. So the agency is being told to impose severe cutbacks that make no sense for agricultural use, he said. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  Drought to hit San Diego County farmers hard

15 years after “Erin Brockovich”, town still fearful of polluted water: “Maneuvering his pickup through this Mojave Desert town, resident Daron Banks pointed at empty lot after empty lot.  “Last time I was here there was a home right here. There was a home here, there was a home here,” he said, making his way down the bumpy road in the place made famous by the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich.”  Fifteen years after the film showed triumphant residents winning a $333-million settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for contaminating its water — and nearly 20 years after the settlement itself — Hinkley is emptying out, and those who stay still struggle to find resolution. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  15 years after “Erin Brockovich”, town still fearful of polluted water

In commentary today …

Pot growers endangering California watersheds and wildlife, says the Los Angeles Times:  They write, “Since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, marijuana cultivation has exploded in California and shows no signs of slowing. In Humboldt County alone, there are more than 4,000 marijuana cultivation sites. Northwestern California is not facing this green rush alone, as pot farms are now sprouting up throughout rural areas of California wherever land is cheap, a water source is nearby and neighbors are few and far between. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  Pot growers endangering California watersheds and wildlife

Column: In California, rights to water exceed supply:  George Skelton writes,It’s arguable whether California has enough water to meet its actual needs. But it clearly does not have enough to match people’s expectations. And one reason is simple.  Government historically has over-promised — not exactly a new concept.  In the last century, the state has handed out rights to five times more surface water than our rivers produce even in a normal year.  On some major river systems, especially in the parched San Joaquin Valley, the over-allocation is jaw-opening. On the San Joaquin River itself, people have rights to nearly nine times more water than flows down from the Sierra. On the Kern, it’s six times. On the Stanislaus, four. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  In California, rights to water exceed supply

Column: In Modesto, anger flows with water woes:  Jeff Jardine writes, “Last summer, a Modesto resident provided city officials damning video evidence of a neighbor hand-watering plants in his yard on a non-watering day.  Call it one of those “gotcha” moments. Just one problem: The video also showed the lawn belonging to the whistleblower. It was greener and more lush than the yard of the neighbor he was ratting out.  The whistleblower “was watering every day,” Larry Parlin, Modesto’s public utilities director, told me. “He just didn’t like his neighbor, so he tried to turn him in.”  This year, we’re not even a month into spring and the city’s phones are ringing with complaints about neighbors overwatering. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Anger flows with water woes

Precipitation watch …

Fast moving system to bring some showers:  “A quick moving weather system will bring some showers to the far northern portions of the state and northern Sierra tonight and early Tuesday. Much cooler temperatures are expected behind the system for Tuesday. Strong winds are expected in the northern Sierra later today and tonight, with breezy to windy conditions expected in the Central Valley Tuesday and Wednesday.”

And lastly …

We’ll deal with the drought and live the dream, says humorist Jack Ohlman:  “While the national news media has suddenly discovered that California is in the midst of a severe drought, garnering big headlines in publications such as The New York Times, there’s been an odd element of I-told-you-so in the coverage. Steven Johnson, writing in Medium.com, calls it “apocalyptic schadenfreude.”  For example, the Times helpfully noted that California “is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has been so long this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature,” which seems rather apocalyptic from a newspaper in a city that, shall we say, isn’t really environmentally sustainable on its own. “Untrammeled” is always a scolding word. ... ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here:  We’ll deal with the drought and live the dream

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

 

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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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