Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CFBF lawyer: Storms underline need for new storage

Chris Scheuring, an environmental attorney for the California Farm Bureau Federation, writes:
Driving to work each morning this past week across the Yolo Causeway, which has been intentionally flooded to take excess flows from the Sacramento River system, I have been reminded of how quickly water can appear in California—and how quickly it can disappear.

After six years of drought, our state's hydrology has turned on a dime—as we knew it could—and the various structures of the California flood control system are shunting something like 150,000 cubic feet per second of water out to sea as I write this. Some of that water is heading to the ocean because there's just no other place to put it, and flood-control protocols require water managers to make room in reservoirs for expected, later flows.

That brings to mind a couple of things we have been saying for a while here at the Farm Bureau about the capture of our water resources.

By the time you read this, the water in the bypass will probably be down again, and certainly we can't know when the rains will return again—except that they will. And we are told that California's already-inconsistent precipitation patterns will become even "flashier" in the coming decades, which is to say that the experts at places such as the Department of Water Resources predict a long-term trend toward more prolonged drought periods and more severe—if sporadic—flood events.

For the future of our farms, cities and environment, California is going to have to get a lot more sophisticated and strategic about grabbing and holding the water when it comes.
His full commentary in AgAlert is here.

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