On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’ll discuss water in California. Award winning journalist Marx Arax has written a lengthy piece in the California Sunday Magazine about Stewart Resnick, one of most powerful farmers in the US, and the largest single water user in the Western United States.
The manager of a San Joaquin Valley water district seen as a model for how to manage toxic agricultural runoff was jailed last week in Fresno on charges of embezzlement and burying 86 drums of toxic waste on the water district’s property.
After one year of torrential respite, drought may have returned to California, and with it, a renewal of the state’s perpetual conflict over water management. State and federal water systems have told farmers not to expect more than a fifth of their paper allocations, the state Water Resources Control Board is weighing a new regime of mandatory conservation, and supporters of more reservoirs are complaining about the glacial pace of spending $2.7 billion set aside in a water bond for more storage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.