The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) announced that the company’s director, Gina Dockstader, will join the California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC). In a news release, Dockstader’s fellow IID board members selected her to serve as a liaison.
Farmers up and down California are once again facing an uncertain season ahead of them as a state water curtailment order issued in August 2021 continues to take its toll on farming and ranching families.
In July 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order calling a drought emergency and asking for water conservation. Soon after, farmers and ranchers in California received curtailment orders from the California Water Board (CWB) to either immediately or prepare to suspend their senior water rights.
The lack of available water supplies could increase the amount of agricultural land fallowing than previously estimated. Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, said that more is needed to ensure ample water availability moving forward. The state is looking at a significant economic impact due to dismal water supplies, which could have even further repercussions.
California is once again into a critically dry year with memories of the last drought all too fresh. Scientists warn that “boom or bust” water years are the new normal, and we all knew we’d be back here again. The question is, what have we learned and what have we done about it?
Governor Gavin Newsom recently released the final version of the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio to help guide California water policy moving forward. The initial draft proposal of the portfolio was announced back in January and now includes 14 new actions after receiving input from more than 200 individuals and organizations during the comment period. The water blueprint outlines 142 policy priorities for state agencies to emphasize.
The deadline passed at the end of January for local agencies representing 19 of the state’s most stressed groundwater basins to submit plans for how the basins will reach sustainability during the next 20 years. It’s a milestone in implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Speaking during the annual California Irrigation Institute conference in Sacramento last week, Tim Godwin of the California Department of Water Resources said the department is now reviewing the submitted plans. DWR will ultimately grade the plans as adequate; incomplete, which gives agencies 180 days to submit clarifying information; or inadequate, which requires DWR to consult with the State Water Resources Control Board on next steps.
October kicks off a new water year for California and the state has a considerably more water storage than last year.
Statewide reservoir water storage is 128% of average. That amounts to about 29.7 million acre-feet of water for California, according to the Department of Water Resources.
It’s due to that marathon wet winter in 2017 that pounded the state with rain and snow. The 2018 water year was about average, which actually built up the surplus.
Of course that’s good news for California agriculture producers.