Tag Archive for: Capital Press

District Helps Make Desert Bloom

The Coachella Valley Water District faces hefty challenges each day: providing water for more than 1,200 ag customers on 65,000 acres in a desert environment.

The water district serves San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties and nine cities.

“I would say managing our water on a long-term basis, optimizing our Colorado River water and groundwater and using them as efficiently as possible are major priorities for us,” said Katie Evans, director of communications for the district.

The Coachella Valley’s farmland is one of the largest contributors to the local economy, known for its dates, citrus fruit, grapes and bell peppers. More than two-thirds of local farmland is irrigated in part with Colorado River water delivered via the Coachella Canal.

Western Senators Introduce Bipartisan Drought Legislation

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) today introduced the bipartisan Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, a bill to improve the nation’s water supply and drought resiliency. The legislation builds on Senator Feinstein’s 2016 California drought legislation that was included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. “The effects of climate change are here to stay, and one enormous effect on the West is more – and more severe – droughts,” said Senator Feinstein. “As California continues to recover from a historic drought, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory now estimates that the Sierra snowpack, a primary source of water for California, will decrease by 79 percent by the end of the century.

OPINION: Vilsack: Partnerships Needed To Promote Sustainable Practices

Testimony at a recent Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on solutions to climate change focused on what farmers and ranchers are already doing to lighten their impact on the environment and improve sustainability. They also stressed that solutions must be economically feasible, and that these are difficult times for producers to invest in new conservation practices. But Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and former U.S. secretary of agriculture, took the conversation to another level, pointing out the opportunities that lie in sustainable practices.

The Last Water In The Valley

Looking back 40 years, Jeff Stone said the greenhouse and nursery industry was barely a blip on the radar of Oregon agriculture. Now nursery stock is consistently among the state’s most valuable farm commodities, with sales of $947 million in 2017. Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, said the momentum really took off in the 1980s and 1990s. Based in Wilsonville, about 15 miles south of Portland, the association represents 800 members, including 600 growers. It is a success story driven by the availability of water, along with the Mediterranean climate — cool, wet winters followed by hot, dry summers — and rich soils of the Willamette River Basin.

Western Groups Push For Water Infrastructure

More than 100 Western water and agricultural organizations are urging Congress to include rebuilding and improving water infrastructure in any construction legislation it considers. The group sent a letter March 25 to key committees and Western senators, saying investments are needed to meet current and future water demands. The group is led by the Western Growers Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, Family Farm Alliance and the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. The group noted that President Donald Trump has said rebuilding highways, roads and bridges is an area both political parties should be able to work on together. The Democratic party’s list of priorities includes an ambitious infrastructure program.

El Nino, A No-Show So Far, Losing Steam

The weather has yet to be influenced this winter by a warmer Pacific Ocean and likely won’t be impacted in a major way, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports. Federal climatologists reduced the chances that an El Nino will form in January or February to 82 percent, down from 96 percent a month ago. If an El Nino does occur, it will be weak, according to NOAA. “Significant global impacts are not anticipated during the remainder of the winter, even if conditions were to form,” the agency stated, in its monthly outlook on sea-surface temperatures along the equator.

California Voters Consider $9 Billion For Water Projects

Voters will decide Tuesday whether California borrows nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure projects in the state where its scarcity often pits city dwellers, farmers, anglers and environmentalists against one another. Proposition 3 would devote the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration. It is the largest water bond proposed since California’s nonpartisan legislative analyst began keeping track in 1970.


Nonprofit Files Plan To Remove Four Klamath Dams

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation has filed its “Definite Plan” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to remove four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River. Four hydroelectric dams blocking fish passage along the lower Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California are slated for removal under a “Definite Plan” filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The dams — J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate — were built between 1911 and 1962, and are currently operated by PacifiCorp with a combined generation capacity of 169 megawatts.