Monday, May 18, 2015

Cone of silence

As California withers, federal water bill mired in secrecy

The City of Avalon may be forced to cut its water use by 50% because of the persistent drought. BOB CHAMBERLIN / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

McClatchy Washington Bureau

Five months into a new Congress, and deep into a lasting drought, California water legislation still stymies and splits the state's lawmakers. Draft copies are tightly held, as if stamped Top Secret. Myriad details are in flux. The legislative timing, though a June 2 Senate hearing could yet happen, remains unsettled. Water experts call the legislative effort a "cone of silence." It all sounds so familiar, and yet there's still no telling how this movie ends.

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Uncharted territory: Delta farmers fear water loss

Stockton Record

At the bottom of California's Central Valley bathtub, Delta farmers always have drawn from the rivers and sloughs with confidence. By virtue of their location alongside the rivers, these farmers claimed riparian water rights, among the most senior in the state. But now, in the fourth year of this drought, state regulators may cut off even riparian water users later this summer. The confidence Delta farmers have enjoyed has eroded into confusion and even fear.

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State delivers sobering facts on depleted wells

Los Angeles Times

DWR chief Mark Cowin and his colleagues last week took turns delivering some sobering facts and figures about the persistent drought: The mountain snowpack was dismal; conservation is falling far short of Gov. Brown's 25 percent mandate; officials are curtailing water rights. One fact in particular caught senators' attention, though. About 1,900 wells have gone dry.

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