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OPINION: Stop the groundwater grab

This summer, as temperatures soared and depleted groundwater turned the San Joaquin Valley into a collection of sinkholes, state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, put forth legislation to fast-track conservation of underground water supplies.

The proposal was modest: Delay drilling in overdrafted basins until the state’s new groundwater law takes hold in earnest. The bill squeaked through the Senate. Then the agricultural lobbies and the California Chamber of Commerce put it out of its misery.

$16 Billion Delta Tunnels May Hit Taxpayers

A plan to build two huge tunnels to shunt fresh water around the Sacramento Delta is supposed to be funded entirely by the people who received the water. But taxpayers may end up paying a substantial amount of the tab.

That’s according to documents obtained by the Stockton-based environmental group Restore the Delta that discuss the cost of the California WaterFix project, which is projected to cost at least $16 billion to build.

With Colorado River Dwindling, Author Finds Reasons to be Optimistic

With Lake Mead receding year after year and the threat of a shortage looming, the overallocated Colorado River seems to be approaching a breaking point.

But John Fleck argues this crisis doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed for a future in which conflicts flare and communities run dry. In his new book “Water is for Fighting Over,” Fleck focuses on success stories, including multiple examples of cities and farms reducing water use, and a deal that briefly revitalized the parched Colorado River Delta in 2014 during an event called the “pulse flow.”

Governor signs Gallagher’s water storage bill

Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a bill by Assemblyman James Gallagher to expedite construction of water storage projects, such as the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa and Glenn counties.

The new law will allow water storage construction projects to utilize alternative delivery methods for procurement.

“It’s great. It’s something we worked with a lot of different stakeholders on, as well as worked across the aisle on,” Gallagher said. “It’s nice to see something that I think is going to be really helpful with building water storage.”


California Drought Monitor and National Drought Summary for September 27, 2016

September 29, 2016 – For the USDM 7-day period ending on September 27, a low pressure system produced above-normal precipitation in the western High Plains southwestward into the much of the Mountain West. The frontal boundary that was associated with the low produced copious amounts of rainfall for the Southern Plains stretching northward into Upper Midwest. Parts of the Mid-Atlantic also saw above-normal precipitation for the period. Drier-than-normal conditions existed for much of the country east of the Mississippi, especially for the Ohio Valley.

Why California Is Challenged by Its Mind-set of Plenty

One of my fondest memories growing up in Hawaii was Hurricane Nina, which wasn’t very significant in the history books, but it left an impression on me. Torrential rains and heavy winds knocked down banana trees and power lines, and took out water mains. We didn’t have running water for part of the time – my dad drove down the hill to fill buckets from a water truck. Mom taught us how to take baths in buckets: she boiled water on the stove and mixed in cold water until the temperature was just right.

Forecasters mixed on West’s winter weather

What will the 2016-20127 winter deliver, weatherwise, for California and Arizona farmers?

AccuWeather says that northern California could have a stormy start to the season while points south of the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe will remain warm and dry for the entire winter season.

Much the same is predicted for all of Arizona.

AccuWeather’s long-range forecaster, Paul Pastelok, thinks December could include snow pack in northern California before high pressure returns and makes an impenetrable goal-line stance on storms trying to move into the Pacific Northwest and California.

I’m Running Because I’m a Farmer and My Greatest Expense is Water

Bob Polito, a longtime citrus grower in Valley Center, is running for another term on the Valley Center Municipal Water District board, Division 1. Polito has served on the board almost 30 years, since 1988. He is a citrus and avocado farmer in Valley Center with 55 acres. He came to VC in the winter of 1981 and took over operation of Polito Family farmers. Before that he was a diesel heavy equipment mechanic in Seattle. Polito told The Roadrunner: “I’m running because I’m a farmer and by far my greatest expense in farming is water.

California suffered a “snow drought” for the 2016 water year

California’s 2016 water year ends Friday, marking the fourth year of insufficient precipitation with more rain than snow, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

The state experienced an early and below-average runoff that was in large part absorbed before reaching the state reservoirs, due to the warm temperatures.

Guest opinion /// Five reasons to support California WaterFix

A simple truth: Our homes, businesses and communities in western Los Angeles County served by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District would not exist were it not for water from Northern California.

But the reliability of those supplies is at long-term risk.

This high quality Sierra Nevada supply flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But, deteriorating environmental conditions have led to greater pumping restrictions. State and federal agencies are developing a plan to modernize this water system by building new intakes and a twin tunnel pipeline delivery system to reliably capture water and deliver it to millions of Californians.