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Funding Could be Biggest Hurdle Faced by The Delta Tunnel as Water Users Weigh Costs Versus Benefits ff The $16 Billion Project

The controversial Delta Conveyance Project may have bigger problems than legal action over its recently approved environmental impact report.  Who’s going to pay the estimated $16 billion price tag?

California Ranks High Worldwide For Rapidly Depleted Groundwater

In a sign of the ongoing threats to its precious groundwater stores, half a dozen regions in California rank among the world’s most rapidly declining aquifers, according to research published today.

Tulare Lake’s Ghostly Rebirth Brings Wonder — and Hardship. Inside a Community’s Resilience

In the lowlands of the San Joaquin Valley, last winter’s torrential storms revived an ancient body of water drained and dredged decades ago, its clay lakebed transformed into a powerhouse of industrial agriculture. Rivers swollen with biblical amounts of rainfall overwhelmed the network of levees and irrigation canals that weave through the basin diverting water for farm and livestock use. Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, was reborn, swallowing thousands of acres cultivated for tomatoes and cotton and vast orchards of almond and pistachio trees.

A Vision for More Sustainable Farmlands

From above, California’s San Joaquin Valley spills out of the Sierra Nevada in a checkerboard of earth-toned farmland. It’s some of the most valuable land in the world; every year, the agribusiness industry here produces billions of dollars’ worth of milk, vegetables and nuts. But the scale, and the industrial intensity, of agriculture require an enormous amount of groundwater to be pulled out of aquifers deep belowground — more than the industry can afford to pump, according to hydrologic modeling.

According to projections from the Public Policy Institute of California, between 535,000 and 750,000 acres — around 15% of the valley’s irrigated farmland — will need to be taken out of irrigated production in order to meet the requirements of the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.