For many families, the summer heat means backyard barbecues with plates filled to the brim with grilled burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and, of course, some fresh farm-picked corn-on-the-cob. But if you’re enjoying a side of corn with your dinner this month, make sure to savor it because it’s one ear that survived the brutal drought savaging local farmers. Jim Geoghegan, owner of Sunshine Farm in Sherborn, estimates he lost between 30 and 40 percent of all the crops he planted this year.
Archive for date: August 12th, 2016
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To most people in the U.S., water is simply assumed. Without much thought, they turn on the shower, brush their teeth, make coffee or tea, flush the toilet, and grab a full, cold plastic bottle of name-brand water. Taking a bite of food or slipping on a cotton T-shirt does not inspire thoughts of water, its role in agriculture, or challenges to managing the nation’s water supply. But water is the lifeblood of agriculture, and plays an ever-increasing role in food availability, cost, food security, and national security… and competition for it is increasing as supplies decrease.
The offer was too tempting to refuse: Westlands Water District, the ethically challenged agency that often finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons, invited me on an aerial tour of its watershed. From high above, I would be able to see the public works projects that have allowed the San Joaquin Valley to bloom, cities to explode and the natural environment to implode.
Critics and a state lawmaker say they want more explanations on who’s paying for a proposed $16 billion water project backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, after a leading California water district said Brown’s administration was offering government funding to finish the planning for the two giant water tunnels.
Robert Haskins walked across a vast expanse of cracked mud, littered with old beer bottles and millions of tiny clam shells, that in most Augusts would be 50 feet underwater. But the San Luis Reservoir, the vast inland sea along Highway 152 that is a key part of Silicon Valley’s water supply, is only 10 percent full, its lowest level in 27 years.”Normally that’s an island,” the Santa Clara Valley Water District maintenance supervisor said, pointing to a towering hill.The nation’s largest off-stream reservoir is high and dry this summer, and it’s not really because of the drought.
Earlier this summer, researchers at UC-Davis confirmed what a lot of us already know—that saving water saves energy. The analysis from the UC-Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency found that California’s mandatory 25 percent reduction in urban water use, which was adopted in May 2015 due to the ongoing severe drought, resulted in significant energy and greenhouse gas savings. From June 2015 to February 2016, the electricity saved by reducing urban water use is estimated to have been nearly 922 gigawatt-hours.
San Diego’s two largest utilities are at odds over power, both literal and figurative.The San Diego County Water Authority hopes to save millions in coming years by generating hydroelectric power for itself and by buying electricity from sources other than San Diego Gas & Electric, the local power monopoly. The Water Authority, however, says SDG&E is standing in the way of its plans.The two agencies are, respectively, the region’s major suppliers of power and water. And their dispute echoes struggles both utilities are already having within their respective industries.
Critics and a California lawmaker want more answers from Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on who’s paying for a proposed giant water project.That’s after a Southern California water district said Thursday that Brown’s administration is now stating that state or federal funds will be used to finish planning for two $16 billion water tunnels. The 35-mile-long tunnels would carry water from Northern California south, mainly for Central and Southern California. Brown’s administration is pushing to get regulatory approval for the tunnels before he leaves office in two years.