Ag Collaboration with the Netherlands

Karen Ross: Ag Collaboration with the Netherlands

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

One of the best ways to overcome the challenges that arise in farming, is ag collaboration with countries that have already found solutions to the issues we face.

Karen Ross, secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture, led a delegation of Californians to the Netherlands last month, “for shared discussion on all of the ways we can collaborate on climate-smart agriculture,” Ross said, “including water-use efficiency and improved fertilizer use.”

“In particular, the Netherlands has a shared issue with us—nitrates in groundwater—and what we can do to improve our water management and fertilizer management to avoid that. They’re doing some interesting things with greenhouse technologies and salt-tolerant crops, so we saw some real opportunities. We had university people with us to do some trials here.”

Ross’s group was able to visit Wageningen UR (University & Research centre), Netherlands’ prominent agriculture university. She said between the University of California, Davis and the Dutch university, “we found ways that we can collaborate together to find the solutions that are not just about here in California,” Ross said. “If we can solve these problems on water-use efficiency, desalinating brackish water, and salt-tolerant crop issues in California, we will make a contribution to solving these problems on a global basis.”

Ross’s team also visited many farmers, primarily of specialty crops. Ross commented, “We saw some of their digester technology, which we know is one of the solutions for our dairies. We really want to advance that technology, make it affordable and provide value to our dairies.”

Phone Calls Needed Now

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND MAKE AS MANY CALLS AS YOU CAN!

CALL all Senators to support the WESTERN WATER AND AMERICAN FOOD SECURITY ACT OF 2015

WE ARE DEDICATING THE REST OF THE DAY TO MAKE THESE CALLS.

OUR LIVES DEPEND ON THIS!

 

H.R.2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015 has passed the House and is on the way to the Senate.

MY JOB Depends on Ag urges each and every one of us to call all U.S. Senators and tell them we want a YES vote.

  • Here’s a template letter to email.
  • Call these Senators, starting with CA and moving onward.
  • Say you are calling regarding HR 2898 and want the Senator to vote YES!! They may ask for your zip code and say they will pass along your concern.

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) TODAY released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Western Water and American Food Security Act:

“The House today passed a drought bill that included some useful short-term provisions as well as some provisions that would violate environmental law. While I cannot support the bill as passed, I remain hopeful we can come to an agreement that can advance through both chambers.

“House Republicans are right that we need to increase the flexibility of the state’s water delivery infrastructure. We need to facilitate water transfers and maximize water pumping without violating environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act or biological opinions, and we must do this using updated science and real-time monitoring. Provisions to accomplish this were in the bill the Senate unanimously passed last year, and I plan to include them again this year with added environmental protections.

“I also believe we must look closely at ways to support water recycling, storage, desalination and groundwater replenishment projects. There are already 15 ocean desalination projects and 65 water recycling projects being considered throughout California. These types of projects—as well as building or increasing reservoir capacity—must be a part of any long-term solution.

“To get a bill through the Senate and the House we’ll need to include provisions that benefit the entire West and help support the development of alternative water infrastructure. If the climate continues to warm, as I believe it will, these alternatives will be key.”

Slant Well to Address Water Shortage Without Harming Environment

By Valerie King; National Driller*

History is unfolding along the coast of California, according to Dennis Williams, president of GEOSCIENCE Support Services Inc.

His groundwater consulting firm has designed something like 1,000 municipal water supply wells in almost 40 years. But those were typical wells, vertical wells. What he’s working on now he’s only done once before.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” he said, alluding to a well technology his firm is designing for California’s Monterey Peninsula. It’s called a slant well or subsurface intake, and while the technology has been used in Europe and tested in the United States, he says it’s still a very rare method.

“The evolution of the subsurface slant well technology,” as Williams calls it, is an outcome of California state regulators and environmental groups that prefer an environmentally friendly approach to desalination. Their goal is to avoid harming marine life like more traditional ocean pipelines tend to.

The slant well will be drilled close to the coastline at a diagonal and collect enough ocean water to produce about 100 million gallons of drinkable water daily.

That’s what California American Water hopes, according to Rich Svindland, vice president of engineering. California American Water is a subsidiary of American Water Works Company Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. They proposed the idea after California ordered reductions to the Monterey Peninsula’s current water sources, a local river and aquifer that are expected to lose more than half of their current supply in the next decade.

“The idea is that we’re trying to launch a well field out under the ocean floor to basically ensure that we capture ocean water as opposed to inland ground freshwater,” Svindland said. The local groundwater basin he’s referring to is protected and cannot be exported to residents across the peninsula.

*This article was originally published in National Driller, Copyright 2014.  The entire article can be found at National Driller.

A Rant on the War for Water — or perhaps just a restatement of the obvious

Commentary by Laurie Greene, Editor

The War for Water has become more complex, fractious, and dire.

 

The battles are marked by staggering amounts of purchased-but-undelivered water supplies; broken contract obligations;

 

local water districts scrambling to find any source of water at any price; water theft; water diversion; water re-diversion; fishery restoration;

 

rapidly escalating overdraft and land subsidence conditions; lack of river improvements; reservoirs drying and dying; an epidemic of well drilling;

 

aging water infrastructure; farmers resorting to water sales profits instead of crop profits; fallowed fields;

 

threatened species, pitting environmental conservationists against farmer environmentalists and humans versus fish;

 

fish trucking; climate change confusion and unpreparedness; deals for more water imports; decisions for no Delta exports; water supply runoff;

 

compromised and halted agricultural research; approvals, denials, exceptions. . .

Drought - No Water Logo

 

We are employing politicians, lawyers, government agencies, scientists, and institutions of education to discuss and solve our water crisis. . .

 

and money has been thrown at farmers, food banks, and emergency services;

 

but we are not investing in, creating, and aggressively launching new water storage, balanced and effective environmental solutions for threatened species;

 

improved sewage disposal; enforced urban water conservation; modern water conveyance and infrastructure; groundwater renewal; wide-use of desalination technology.

 

We face curtailed critical agricultural research; unemployment; increased crime–according to some; increased health costs; declining water quality; disappearing snowpack;

 

school and business shutdowns; mortgage forfeiture; homelessness;

 

community failures; permanent loss of farm laborers; food shortages; increased stress on food banks with dwindling food supplies;

 

increased food insecurity and exposure to imported food safety risks; raised food and water prices; possible loss of domestic and foreign markets; threatened economies—

 

‘not to mention sheer human stress, panic, and grief.

 

Yet, we are urging, pleading, debating, meeting, emailing, tweeting, phoning, rallying, regulating, appealing, suing, petitioning, curtailing, strategizing; lobbying . . .

 

What academic or worldly discipline – geography, sociology, biology, chemistry, economics, politics, psychology, medicine – or realm of life – will NOT be affected?

 

Who does not need food, water, air, and an income?

 

At what point will we hit bottom, having suffered so much that we are finally forced to compromise and reach a survivable compromised existence?

 

At that point, will it even be possible?

 

 

Sources and Inspiration:

Friant Waterline, “Today’s River And Salmon”, http://friantwaterline.org/todays-river-and-salmon/

Merced Sun-Star, “Merced Irrigation District Seals Deal with State for More Irrigation Water”, mercedsunstar.com/2014/04/23/3615393/mid-seals-deal-with-state-for.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1

Western Farm Press, “Drought Chokes Research Efforts in California”, http://westernfarmpress.com/irrigation/drought-chokes-ag-research-efforts-california?page=5

Maven’s Notebook, in general, http://mavensnotebook.com

Salt, “Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California’s Worsening Drought”, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/22/303726931/fields-and-farm-jobs-dry-up-with-californias-worsening-drought

State Water Resources Control Board; ACWA eNews; ACWA; Western United Dairymen