Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015

Inch by inch

Valley land sinking fast in drought, NASA study shows

The land sank so much along the Delta-Mendota Canal that this bridge, once well above, now nearly touches the water. SPECIAL TO THE FRESNO BEE

Fresno Bee

San Francisco Chronicle & Los Angeles Times

The floor of the Central Valley is sinking at a record pace as drought-gripped farmers pump out the groundwater beneath them, new satellite data show. In some places the ground is dropping nearly 2 inches a month, according to measurements taken by the state and NASA. Farmland near Corcoran in the southern San Joaquin Valley sank 13 inches in just eight months last year. To the north, near El Nido, the land surface dropped about 10 inches.


Leadership gap hinders federal drought plan

McClatchy & Circle of Blue

The federal response to the Western drought has been hindered by high-level vacancies, bureaucratic caution and political calculations that have thrown sand in the gears. Put another way: With more than 70 percent of California now classified in a state of "exceptional" or "extreme" drought, Uncle Sam is floundering. But the federal agencies need not wait for Congress.


Clean water law needs new act for 21st century

Circle of Blue

Earlier this month, a costly mistake by an EPA cleanup crew spilled toxic mine waste into Colorado's Animas River. The day before, NOAA reported that the Gulf of Mexico dead zone covered an area larger than Connecticut. Two days before that marked the one-year anniversary of the Toledo water crisis. The list goes on. All are evidence that water pollution is still a dismal reality more than four decades after Congress passed the Clean Water Act.

  • Field Notes