Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

Beyond drought

More farmland could vanish as water shortages loom

The Mendota solar site was a farm field that was fallowed. Experts say we'll see farmland go out of production because of groundwater law in coming years. RANDY PENCH / Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee

After two years without water, a farm in western Fresno County is dying. It might never be farmed again. Like it or not, land retirement is coming to California. The drought will end someday, maybe even this winter, but farmers will still face long-term shortages of water. The driving force: a new state law regulating the extraction of groundwater. The relentless groundwater pumping that has kept hundreds of farms going the past four years is coming to an end.

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Hard-hit water districts will get to ask for relief

Los Angeles Times

Seven months after state regulators drew up their plan to achieve a statewide reduction in urban water use, the hardest-hit water districts will get their first formal chance to ask for relief. Gov. Jerry Brown's latest executive order provisionally extends drought restrictions into next fall and calls on the State Water Resources Control Board to consider adjusting the rules in the coming weeks.

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New earthquake-proof Calaveras dam in the works

KQED San Francisco

Since July 2010, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been hard at work on one of the biggest engineering projects in the nation, the Hetch Hetchy Water System Improvement Program. At a cost of nearly $5 billion, the program will seismically upgrade and replace aging infrastructure that brings water from Hetchy Hetchy reservoir 167 miles away to the Bay Area.

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