“Until the federal government fulfills water obligations in the north, don’t send it south.
“That was the message from Sacramento River settlement contractors, through an attorney, to the Bureau of Reclamation, which recently forecast the water deliveries to the districts and water companies along the river would be cut by 60 percent.”
“Late-winter rain has prompted the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts to postpone the start of their 2014 deliveries to next week.
“Both had planned to begin filling canals Monday, which was somewhat early because of the mostly dry conditions this year, but the recent storms brought a change. OID now plans to start next Monday, and SSJID will follow March 12.”
“For Apolinar Yerena of Yerena Farms in Castroville, forcing huge amounts of water down a drill bore to extract oil makes no sense when farmers up and down California are or will be hurting for water during the drought.”
“On many other farms throughout the [San Joaquin] Valley, growers can choose not to water tomatoes, onions, alfalfa or other annual plantings. Without river water, they’ll use their well water to protect bigger investments in permanent crops, such as almonds and vineyards.
But Terra Bella farmers don’t have many annual plantings. They grow trees, mostly citrus, olives and pistachios.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Al Medvitz:
“For those who are concerned about providing relief and assistance to California farmers, there must be a realization that the west side farmers in the southern Central Valley are not the only farmers in the state threatened by drought. Those of us who farm in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are suffering, just as are our colleagues to the south.”
“Organic dairy farmers greeted proposed legislation to use treated wastewater for livestock consumption with skepticism Thursday, saying it risks the health of their animals and could jeopardize their businesses.”
“The strain on water supplies in this serious drought year was evident this week, as major landowners in the Sacramento Valley protested the federal government’s forecast that it will deliver only 40 percent of usual water supplies.
“The prospect of irrigation water hawked on Craigslist became a possibility Tuesday with a landmark vote allowing Modesto Irrigation District customers to buy and sell to other farmers within MID’s boundary at any price they want.”
“How hard is the drought hitting California farmers? Here’s one more example — Marin Sun Farms, one of the pioneers of grass-fed beef, is going to start feeding some of its cattle on grain. There’s just not enough grass to keep them alive.”
“One thing about Jim DeMartini: He’s not one to mince words or even make nice for the sake of diplomacy. You know where the current chair of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors stands on any given topic at any given moment. And that includes groundwater.”
“Ukiah Valley residents, businesses and farmers will be required to cut their dependence on Lake Mendocino water by half beginning next month.
“The Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District board of directors Monday night unanimously adopted the 50 percent mandatory cutbacks in an effort to maintain as much water as they can in drought-plagued Lake Mendocino.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Dennis Taylor:
“While farmers in the Salinas Valley are increasingly worried about future irrigation water, the federal Bureau of Reclamation told farmers in the Central Valley on Friday that they will have a zero allocation of water from the Central Valley Water Project.
“Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento are introducing water bills that often serve only to counter the other party’s water bills.
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Kim Stemler:
“Monterey County vineyards are ‘dusty in the middle of January,’ said Andy Mitchell, director of vineyard operations at 400,000-case Hahn Family Wines. ‘Last year was bad, but this year is much worse.’ …
“So what does the drought bode? It’s too early to say and it could mean a decrease in yields for 2014.”
“In a crushing reminder of the state’s parched plight, federal officials announced Friday that the Central Valley Project — California’s largest water delivery system — will provide no water this year to Central Valley farmers and only 50 percent of the contracted amount to urban areas such as Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.”