During California Gov. Gray Davis's administration, a study of California's 1,250 public and private dams found that only a handful were fully compliant with safety regulations. In this year of drought panic, there are nearly countless bills in some Western state legislatures and in Congress, the main thrusts of which are to override environmental law and regulation to provide more water for farming and municipal use. We've done a survey of them in too many news articles to mention and have found reference in only one bill to "upgrades" to groundwater and surface water storage facilities -- state Sen. Lois Wolk's modest $6.8-billion bill to create a proposition for statewide vote this November. (1) This would represent the adult view, albeit Wolk represents the Delta and has an interest in protecting the communities and farms in this richest-of-all farmland regions in the state.Read More »
Day in the life of a “California drought”
With heavy rain falling, local irrigation districts raising the amount they can promise farmers (in the recent case of Modesto Irrigation District to two acre-feet), the drought panic may be lessening.
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Wayne Lysvardi, the Cal watchdog bringing illumination to all the lampposts, has delivered his considered opinion on what’s really wrong with the California water/energy system in a simply organized article of great duplicity. As is usual with Lysvardi, the deceptions are sprayed about so erratically as our watchdog trots through the night that it is difficult to bring them all to light. However, two “humps” and a few wobbles in his reasoned path do appear.
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With the climate warming and snow levels climbing higher, at least $100 million needs to be invested in more precise snow measurement, said engineering professor Roger Bales of the University of California at Merced.
Bales is director of the university's Sierra Nevada Research Institute, which has been experimenting on better snow measurement for years.Read More »
Whether by intention or incompetence, the variously named plans – Merced Water Supply Plan (all phases), Merced Groundwater Basin Groundwater Management Plan, Merced Irrigation District Groundwater Management Plan, and Regional Groundwater Management Plan – are incomprehensible to the public, alleged beneficiaries of them, even to a public as familiar with such documents as we are. --Badlands Journal, Re: Opposition to Groundwater Basin Groundwater Management Plan Update, 7-1-08, Letter to Chairman ElTal and Vice-Chairman Kelley
At the big Merced Irrigation District meeting at the Merced County Fairgrounds on Friday, Feb. 7, we were somewhat alarmed to here MID General Manager John Sweigard and his staff refer a number of questions from the packed audience to yet another water management plan. Yet this plan, dubbed by MID management, "the Master Water Management Plan," has apparently not even been drafted yet or at least the public is not permitted to see what drafts may exist.Read More »
In this post, we take the lede from the bottom of the article to the top where it belongs. (Parentheses ours)-- blj
This is either really bad lawyering by (California Attorney General Kamala) Harris — or a face-saving way for (Gov. Jerry) Brown to give up on the doomed (high speed rail) project. I believe it’s the latter. – Chris Reed, Cal Watchdog, Jam 30, 2014
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Do agribusiness and oil-company special interests benefit the common good of the San Joaquin Valley?
Have you ever noticed the continual distortion in favor of particular special interests that goes on in debates on “public” policy? There has been a flood of articles about the drought. Diligently following the prevailing propaganda that they call “reality,” editors instruct reporters to interview the special interests that rely on publicly subsidized water to grow publicly subsidized crops and receive publicly subsidized disaster payments and publicly subsidized conservation grants and publicly subsidized reductions in property taxes etc., to record the agonized words of flakpersons for a few agrarian plutocrats. And thus arises the earsplitting howl we have come to call The Great Valley Whine.
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Peter Fimrite is better than most, like his father, Ron, was. Good at finding odd angles like, in the present story: “Why not look at the drought from the historical perspective of the state’s environmental movement, in other words, a critical perspective, at least an intellectually respectable one?
It makes for a fine article, built on an interview of veteran California environmentalist, Jonas Minton. But, as far as his drastic either/or choice for public investment, we'd like to add a third: why not take this moment to strengthen the existing dams which, according to a study made of them during the Gray Davis administration are all -- except three -- out of compliance?
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Some environmental groups expressed concern that fine print in Friday’s drought declaration could lead to disruptive changes in how water is distributed. For instance, the drought declaration directs the State Water Resources Control Board to “immediately” consider petitions that would consolidate “places of use” for water diversions now held separately by the State Water Project and the federal government’s Central Valley Project.
Ronald Stork, a senior policy advocate at Friends of the River in Sacramento, said that if “place of use” is consolidated, federal water such as that held in Folsom Reservoir could be sent to Disneyland to keep the roller coasters operating. Currently, most of that water is designated for agriculture.
“That’s a titanic shift of purpose for the federal water project,” Stork said. “I think the water board needs to think this one through very carefully before they give the go-ahead to consolidating these two very different projects.”