Department of Water Resources
By Lloyd G. Carter
Westlands Water District directors Wednesday (Nov. 20) hosted a workshop on the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and were told by California Department of Water Resources (DWR) officials the big federal water district in western Fresno and Kings counties may have to pony up $162 million over the next three years for pre-construction planning.
DWR Director Mark Cowin told Westlands directors DWR will need $500 million over the next three years to finance pre-construction engineering and other studies while the BDCP undergoes expected court challenges by environmentalists and Northern California/Delta farming interests. The BDCP document now runs over 30,000 pages. Westlands directors should decide by January 2014 if they wish to opt in, Cowin said. READ MORE »
Massive Loss of Endangered Winter Run Salmon
Perhaps half of this years spawning class die in irrigation ditches: survivors
hammered by mismanagement of Shasta cold water reserves
During April, May and early June, large numbers of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and other species were drawn into channels in the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin and died, according to reports by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists (NMFS). The total number of stranded fish is unknown but agency biologists said it could be as high as half of this years returning population of winter-run. This tragedy is exacerbated by high temperature stress on spawning winter-run caused by mismanagement of limited cold water pools in Shasta Reservoir this year.
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Dr. Jeffrey Michael says the Westlands Water District and Rep. Jim Costa are exagaretting the impacts of water cutbacks to the nation's largest federal water district. Westlands may only receive 20 percent of its requested amount of water this year and claims it will be impacted worse than 2009, when Westlands supplies were held to just 10 percent. Dr. Michael is director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of Pacific in Stockton. You can read his blog here: http://valleyecon.blogspot.com/
Jim Costa, a Democrat, represents the Westlands area and wrote a letter to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Michael Connor on March 3, claiming the cutbacks, due to dry year conditions and court ordered protections for Delta fish, including smelt and salmon, will cost his region's economy $2.2 billion. Thomas Birmingham, general manager of Westlands, estimated economy losses of "more than $1 billion", in a March 22 press release, more than a billion less than Costa's prediction. Neither Costa or Birmingham revealed the source of their numbers or how they define "region." READ MORE »
Editor's Note: This two-part series first ran on this website in August of 2011. It is being repeated by request. READ MORE »