From the Alex Breitler Environment blog, the Stockton Record:
We learned last month that a long-planned reservoir in east San
Joaquin County may no longer be worth building, in part because
groundwater levels have stabilized, which raises questions
about the need for that half-a-billion-dollar project. …
“Rarely, in the slow-moving water world, does such a dramatic
shift in thinking occur so quickly.
“State agencies this week paid $9.3 million to buy a 466-acre
dairy and farm in Stanislaus County near the confluence of the
Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers.
“The so-called Hidden Valley Ranch is about 10 miles southwest
of Modesto. It will be taken out of agricultural production and
used to provide floodplain habitat along with the adjacent
1,603-acre Dos Rios Ranch, which was acquired last year for the
“The Visalia City Council announced this week that it reluctantly
signed a settlement to accept a rate increase from California
Water Service, the water utility that serves most homes and
business in the city. Selma, which also relies on Cal Water,
reached a similar settlement.”
From The Bakersfield Californian, in a commentary by Lois Henry:
“Water can be such a complex issue that most people would rather
not be bothered. For filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera, water became
impossible to ignore as he watched family, friends and whole
communities suffer from political decisions made about water
decades ago and thousands of miles away.
“The summer of 2013 was a bad one for fish in the San Joaquin
River Delta, and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Executive Director Bill Jennings says state water pollution
cops exacerbated the situation by quietly promising they
wouldn’t enforce state water quality standards.
“In particular, Jennings points to a May 29 letter from
California Water Quality Control Board Delta Watermaster Craig
Wilson to top officials for the State Water Project and the
California operations of the U.S.
“Three political newcomers – John Mensinger, Paul Campbell and
Jake Wenger – struck gold Tuesday to win seats on the embattled
Modesto Irrigation District board.
“Despite unprecedented turnover on the five-person panel, the
board will maintain its historic weight toward farmers as
opposed to urban customers because of Wenger’s Division 4
triumph over three candidates with weaker ties to agriculture.”
“Near almond orchards and the city of Shafter, state water
authorities tested suspicious fluid in an oilfield sump — at a
well named for the 1930s cartoon character Betty Boop. They
found the fluid laced with boron, salts and a cocktail of
notorious chemicals related to gasoline and diesel. It came from
hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil.
“Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed water diversion tunnels would pass
perhaps 150 feet beneath this very spot, raising questions among
crane admirers how this majestic and ancient species – whose
numbers have declined over the decades – could coexist with a
multiyear industrial project of that magnitude.”
“Stanislaus County supervisors unanimously approved a
long-awaited groundwater ordinance Tuesday and said they need
to move faster on regulations to address overdrafting in the
eastern portion of the county.
“County leaders called the seven-page ordinance a historic
starting point for regulating a water resource that has been
pushed to the top of the government agenda this year.