Rep. Jeff Denham named to the Subcommittee on Water and Power

Rep. Jeff Denham today expands his influence over the House debate on water issues and his ability to address California’s water crisis by joining the Subcommittee on Water and Power in the House Committee on Natural Resources.  With a seat on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well, Rep. Denham now has jurisdiction over many programs including the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The unemployment rates are consistently above the national average in the Central Valley. As a long time farmer in the area, Rep. Denham understands the immediacy of the water crisis and will remain committed to bringing water back to the Central Valley in order for farmers to grow crops and put people back to work.

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Don Curlee: Agriculture, urban goals are similar in California

The powerful Westlands Water District recently withdrew its support for the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan, action that might light a fire under other water organizations in the state.

The bold action by Westlands indicates that it is no longer willing to put up with unwanted and unmerited federal interference in the conscientious efforts by water interests in California to make the best use of water.

Westlands’ concerns regarding political interference by the Department of the Interior and its creation of further water restrictions without scientific basis are well-justified. Among other questionable activities, this department has been criticized recently by federal and state legislators for holding secret meetings on its planning process and for manipulating science to support its drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the loss of 12,000 jobs.

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Water: Upbeat first assessment of year’s supplies



The rainy season isn’t over yet, but California farmers already have reasons to be optimistic about the 2011 harvest.

A torrent of early winter storms and higher-than-expected water left from 2010 prompted federal regulators Tuesday to issue an upbeat first assessment of the year’s water supplies.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the sprawling network of pipes and pumps that bring water to Central Valley farmlands and some urban customers in the Bay Area, expects to deliver as much as 100 percent of the water supplies requested.

“The new year starts with an encouraging water supply forecast, thanks to the precipitation delivered by Mother Nature,” David Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/18/BARH1HARF6.DTL#ixzz1Bh1HaBxh

California water wars focus on Salton Sea, Colorado River pact

HOLTVILLE, Calif.

The evaporating Salton Sea is the flashpoint for the latest dispute in California’s water wars, testing an uneasy alliance of farmers and city dwellers to wean the state from reliance on Colorado River water.

California officials agreed in 2003 to stop taking more than its share from the Colorado, ensuring that Arizona and Nevada don’t get shortchanged. The plan’s centerpiece called for shifting enough water from the agricultural Imperial Valley to serve nearly 600,000 San Diego area homes.

The huge farm-to-city water transfer threatened California’s largest lake . More than 200 feet below sea level, the Salton Sea survives on water that seeps through the soil of Imperial Valley farms.

For seven years, the solution has been to pump enough water into the Salton Sea to offset what was lost to San Diego. The 350-square-mile lake is evaporating at a rate of roughly 450 million gallons a year, but the thinking was to prevent the San Diego transfer from hastening its demise.

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New Report Targets Unreasonable Water Use in California

Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson will present a highly anticipated report to the State Water Resources Control Board on January 19 suggesting that a particularly contentious area of California water law, the California Constitution’s “Reasonable and Beneficial Use Doctrine,” be applied more broadly.

In his report, Wilson recommends that the State Board employ this doctrine to promote agricultural water use efficiency. The doctrine states a water right does not include the right to waste water and mandates that “the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use,” according to the Planning and Conservation League Insider (http://www.pcl.org).

A small percentage of increased agricultural water use efficiency adds up to significant water savings in California, according to Wilson. The report recommends that the State Board convene a “Reasonable Use Summit” to develop specific actions to improve efficiency and create a “Reasonable Use Unit” within the Division of Water Rights.

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Cold water cracks aging water pipes in downtown Sacramento

Two downtown office buildings were closed and hundreds of workers were sent home Wednesday because a nearly 100-year-old water main cracked in the cold weather.

It was at least the 15th broken water main that the city Department of Utilities has responded to in downtown Sacramento in the past week, department spokeswoman Jessica Hess said.

Stretches of cold like the one the city has experienced over the past week put a strain on aging pipes in the downtown and midtown areas, Hess said.

“It’s pretty typical that we have a week or so where we’ve got an increased number of main breaks,” she said.

“It’s just the age of the pipes combined with the type of material and the cold that led to this.”

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/13/3320505/pipes.html#ixzz1B26YSP1Z

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Comment: So much for “global warming,” just as the state government begins imposing AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The state government is more out of touch than usual.

Expert urges agriculture water use changes

An expert says small changes in agricultural irrigation practices could eliminate wasteful water use.

Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson says in a report being presented to the State Water Resources Control Board next week that California should crack down and aggressively enforce the state’s ban on wasteful water use.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that Wilson proposes broader enforcement of the state Constitution’s “reasonable use” doctrine rather than current case-by-case enforcement.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/01/11/state/n054733S81.DTL#ixzz1AkUIlw4h

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