From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

‘Bay Delta Destruction Plan’ panned by Congressman John Garamendi

Coalition response… Rep. Garamendi mentions some ideas that he believes will help resolve the Delta’s ecosystem disaster and California’s water supply crisis but their effectiveness is questionable. Many of the conservation and recycling ideas he proposes are already well underway in both the farming community and urban parts of the state.

Drip and micro-irrigation acreage has increased dramatically in recent years. From 1994 to 2008 the acreage devoted to drip irrigation throughout California has increased 150 percent. During the same period areas of the San Joaquin Valley’s Westside saw a 13 fold increase in drip irrigation acreage from 17,235 acres to almost 225,000 acres.  A 2011 report by the Center for Irrigation Technology showed that there are approximately 330,000 acre-feet of water left to be conserved on the farm. And those savings would likely end up irrigating land taken out of production as a result of supplies previously lost to regulatory water supply cuts. This year alone agriculture lost over 300,000 acre-feet due to federal ESA pumping restrictions.

BDCP is designed to remedy some of the same problems that the congressman points to, such as fish populations and ecosystem needs. A report by the National Research Council shows that resolving problems in the Delta cannot be accomplished by addressing stressors one at a time. Besides the congressman’s concern about export pumping, where does he stand on predatory fish consuming 93 percent of the baby salmon before they make it to the ocean? Salmon and Delta smelt populations won’t improve until all of the challenges they face receive adequate attention.

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