Ag Today, December 20, 2021
California likely to crack down on water waste with daily $500 fines [San Francisco Chronicle]
After two years of drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom remains reluctant to put limits on statewide water use. His administration, however, is looking to take a first step. Next month, the State Water Resources Control Board is expected to adopt temporary prohibitions on outdoor water practices, including hosing down driveways, filling up decorative fountains and watering lawns within 48 hours of rain. A violation of these rules would carry the threat of a $500-a-day fine. “Even though it’s been raining (recently), we’re still in a water supply...
Ag Today, December 16, 2021
Amid drought, California advances big new reservoir project [The Associated Press]
Amid a severe drought, California regulators on Wednesday advanced what could be the state’s first major new water storage project in years despite warnings it would hasten the extinction of an endangered salmon species while disrupting the cultural traditions of some native tribes. The plan is to build a new lake in Northern California that, when full, could hold enough water to supply 3 million households for one year. Supporters need about $4 billion to build it. Wednesday’s vote by the California Water Commission means the lake — named Sites...
Ag Today, December 14, 2021
Big California storm dumps snow, drenches parched regions [The Associated Press]
Motorists spun out on whitened mountain passes and residents wielded umbrellas that flopped in the face of fierce winds as Northern California absorbed even more rain and snow on Monday, bringing the possibility of rockslides and mudslides to areas scarred by wildfires following an especially warm and dry fall across the U.S. West. Motorists spun out on whitened mountain passes and residents wielded umbrellas that flopped in the face of fierce winds as Northern California absorbed even more rain and snow on Monday, bringing the possibility of rockslides and mudslides...
Ag Today, December 13, 2021
State tells San Joaquin Valley agencies that groundwater plans are flawed [Los Angeles Times]
California water officials have alerted local groundwater agencies in farming areas across the San Joaquin Valley that their plans for bringing aquifers into balance don’t adequately address how continuing declines in water levels could cause many more wells to run dry. The state Department of Water Resources notified agencies in six areas of the San Joaquin Valley this week that their groundwater sustainability plans are incomplete and have deficiencies that need to be corrected. While the specifics of the flaws will be outlined when assessments are released...
Ag Today, December 9, 2021
California dairy farmers struggle to stay in the ‘Got Milk’ state [Wall Street Journal]
Dairy farmers in California, the nation’s top milk producer, face pressure from rising costs, increasingly complex environmental regulations and a quest for water—challenges all magnified by a historic drought. For some, the challenges are existential. In the north coast, home to the state’s small, organic dairy farms, shrunken reservoirs and shriveled pastures pushed some farmers to the brink earlier this year. In the San Joaquin Valley—a vast agricultural region in the center of the state where 90% of California’s milk is produced—farmers are paying more for cow...
Ag Today, December 3, 2021
Our next edition of Ag Today will be distributed Thursday December 9, after a three-day pause for the 2021 California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.
California will make PG&E pay $125 million for 2019 Kincade Fire near Geyserville [San Francisco Chronicle]
California has narrowly ratified a plan to make Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pay $125 million for sparking the largest and most destructive wildfire of 2019. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to adopt an agreement between its safety staff and PG&E under which the long-beleaguered power company will be penalized for its role in causing the 77,758-acre Kincade...
Ag Today, November 30, 2021
Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada could disappear in just 25 years [San Francisco Chronicle]
As the climate continues to warm, more and more of the snow falling on California’s mountains will be replaced by rain. Already in recent decades, the snow season has shrunk by a month, according to one estimate, while snow levels have moved upward by 1,200 feet, according to another. Scientists and water managers say that at some point California’s snowpack could simply disappear. This would leave the state without the crucial spring and summer melt-off that fills rivers and streams, nourishes plants and animals, and provides a...
Ag Today, November 29, 2021
Supply-chain snarls leave Southern California swamped in empty shipping containers [Wall Street Journal]
The biggest export out of Southern California these days is air. And it is suffocating the supply chain. Hundreds of thousands of empty containers are filling marine terminals and truck yards across the region and tying up scarce trucking equipment as ocean carriers scramble to return empty boxes to factories in Asia. The gridlock on the export side of U.S. supply chains is the mirror of the congestion tying up imports, and officials say it is complicating efforts to unwind the bottlenecks at the ports of Los Angeles...
Ag Today, November 24, 2021
Our next edition of Ag Today will be distributed Monday, November 29. The California Farm Bureau will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
‘Everybody’s pumping.’ How California’s plan to conserve groundwater ran into a drought [Sacramento Bee]
On the parched west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the drought has created a windfall for companies like Big River Drilling. A water-well contractor based in the Fresno County community of Riverdale, Big River can hardly keep up with demand for new wells as farmers and rural residents seek to extract more water from underground. “I could work seven days a...
Ag Today, November 23, 2021
Climate change fuels a water rights conflict built on over a century of broken promises [Washington Post]
The simple way to think about this crisis: There’s no longer enough water to go around to meet the needs of farmers and Native American populations as well as fish and birds. For more than a century, the federal government has overseen an intricate and imperfect system of water distribution intended to sustain an ecosystem and an economy. The whole precarious balance was based on the assumption that enough snow would always fall, and melt, and fill the vast watershed of the Klamath River...