Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Ex-Panoche Water District officials charged with misspending thousands in public funds

Panoche Water District officials spent more than $100,000 in public money to buy themselves slot machines, car repairs, and kitchen appliances, funded landscaping on at their own homes, and covered interest-free loans, according to the California Department of Justice. … The Panoche Water District is a public agency that facilitates water delivery to landowners for irrigation, municipal and industrial uses in western Merced and Fresno counties.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Not much snow, but a full water supply for Stockton

The Sierra snowpack may be next to nothing, but the Stockton area is set to receive another full supply of water from New Melones Lake, and there’s no reason to expect a shortage here this year, officials said. … While the Stockton area is getting its full share from New Melones, other federal water contractors are not as fortunate.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought forces painful choices for New Mexico ranchers

Some stretches of New Mexico have gone months without meaningful moisture, leaving farmers and ranchers to make difficult decisions as long-term forecasts call for drought to intensify across the already arid state. … The absence of moisture elsewhere in the West also has become more common since the start of the year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News/East Bay Times

Editorial: Make California farmers do their part to conserve water

The Bay Area should embrace the state’s call Tuesday to make permanent water-wasting rules that were in effect during the last drought. It’s the responsible thing for urban water users to do when the Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at only 20 percent of normal. But farmers should be required to do their part, too.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Almond trees could get a well-deserved drink

Area farmers have been out and about even earlier than normal this week, watching the skies and their thermometers as temperatures dropped below freezing during a crucial time for their almond trees.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin Valley water users, cut off during drought, win a round in court

Thousands of water-right holders who were told to cease diversions during the last drought were deprived of due process, a judge found Wednesday, raising questions about how the state will handle future shortages. … At the center of the legal dispute was the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District near Tracy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican authorities find illegal avocado plantations in monarch butterfly reserve

Monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada to Mexican pine and fir forests that thrive at about the same altitude as prime avocado-growing land. Previously, deforestation linked to lucrative avocado planting had been seen in areas to the west and south of the reserve.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California water agency gets scolded: Speed up spending billions on new reservoirs

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle, pulling a child’s red wagon, arrived at a meeting of the California Water Commission with a stack of petitions with 4,000 signatures supporting the two largest reservoir projects seeking bond money: Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento and Temperance Flat in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

San Joaquin Valley’s water issues and challenges explored on Central Valley Tour March 14-16

Weave through the nation’s breadbasket and get a better understanding of water issues and challenges in the San Joaquin Valley on the Foundation’s Central Valley Tour March 14-16.  Sign-ups are now underway for the tour, the first of the Foundation’s six general tours for 2018.  The Central Valley Tour visits farms and major infrastructure, such as Friant Dam near Fresno and San Luis Reservoir, the nation’s largest off-stream reservoir and a key water facility serving both the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation announces initial water supply allocation for Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today [Feb. 20] announced the initial 2018 water supply allocation for many Central Valley Project contractors. … “Despite the historic rainfall last year, California’s lack of sufficient water storage forces us to operate on a year-to-year basis. The amount we can store in our reservoirs is not enough to get us through these very dry years,” said David Murillo, Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls

Officials talk drought for Klamath Project water users

The mood was calm but somber Tuesday afternoon as Klamath Project irrigators gathered to learn more about the impact of drought conditions in the Klamath Basin from Oregon Water Resources Department and Klamath Water Users Association staff at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water allocation for westside growers is going to be a meager one for 2018

With the threat of another drought looming, west San Joaquin Valley farmers received some dismal news Tuesday about this year’s water allocation. The initial allocation from the Central Valley Project is 20 percent, the U.S Bureau of Reclamation announced on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County grape growers battle frost after early bud break

Below-freezing temperatures that can damage Sonoma County’s $575 million grape crop before it even develops are prompting some growers to launch an unusually early campaign to protect their vineyards from frost.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Freeze turns California almond orchards into fields of icicles, threatens $5 billion industry

California’s almond trees are confused. A spell of unseasonably warm weather in early February tricked the trees into blooming early, and now the freezing temperatures are putting the blossoms at risk, threatening the state’s $5 billion industry.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Agriculture secretary gets grounded in California

“You might already know this …,” Central Valley farmer Sarah Woolf offered politely, before launching on a primer on California’s convoluted water system. … It was the second day of [U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny] Perdue’s recent whistle-stop educational tour of California’s $45-billion agriculture industry, and Perdue, a veterinarian and former two-term governor of Georgia, got an earful.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farmers told to expect little water from federal project this year

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday that most farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta who get water from the federal Central Valley Project will receive just 20 percent of their requested allocation this year. … The State Water Project has set an initial allocation of 20 percent for all of its farm and municipal customers.

Aquafornia news NPR

Eureka! California-grown coffee is becoming state’s next gold mine

In most coffee shops, you can choose a cup of joe brewed with beans from countries like Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Yemen. Now, a new crop of coffee growers is working to get coffee brewed from California-grown beans included on those menus.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

What a dry 2018 will mean to Stanislaus County farmers and homeowners

Irrigation season was delayed in 2017 as storm after storm kept farm and garden soil moist. Fast-forward to 2018, which has started out very dry and brought calls to fill the canals early. So are we back to serious drought in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, which endured one from 2012 to 2016?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Freezing temperatures expected across California could threaten Central Valley crops

Temperatures in most rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of the state’s agricultural sector, are expected to fall to the mid-20s Tuesday morning. The below-freezing weather could kill blooms on almond and cherry trees, which appeared earlier than usual because of the unseasonably warm weather this month.

Aquafornia news KUNC Community Radio for Northern Colorado

For better or worse, the Colorado River’s first dam transformed the desert Southwest

We all know Hoover Dam, and you might know about the Imperial or other dams that manage the Colorado River. But the very first completed dam on the Colorado was the Laguna Dam. … Doug Cox at the Imperial Irrigation District manages the dam.