Water Board’s Water Grab From Rivers Will Impact Domestic Water

State Water Resources Control Board Plan is “Pseudo-Science”

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Over one thousand farmers and stakeholders gathered at the California state capital building in Sacramento in August to protest the California Water Resources Control Board’s recent proposed Water Grab.

Ronda Lucas, General Counsel with the Modesto Irrigation District, explained to California Ag Today that the water board’s plan would severely impact Modesto citizens.

Modesto Irrigation District provides surface drinking water to the city of Modesto.

“If you take away Modesto Irrigation District surface water, you take away the domestic water supply for the entire city of Modesto, and they did not consider any of that in there,” Lucas said.turlock irrigation canal

The California Water Resources Control Board seriously underestimated the impact that their water grab would have on surrounding communities.

“Their science is shaky at best; it’s pseudo-science frankly,” Lucas said.

Modesto Irrigation District has spent more than $25 million in studies for over a decade specifically on the Tuolumne River with their partner, Turlock Irrigation District.

“We have presented them with a plan that gives them more fish that is sustainable, that protects groundwater, that protects surface water, and that allows everybody to get better together. This is our river,” Lucas said.

Also, Don Pedro is one of the few reservoirs and facilities that has zero state funding. The residents of Turlock, Turlock Irrigation District, and the Modesto Irrigation District paid 100 percent with a little federal money with Army Corp to build that facility.

“Because of that foresight, the state is going to come and try and take it and it is not theirs to take and we cannot let it happen,” Lucas explained.

California Proudly Provides Most of Thanksgiving Feast to America

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast

From California’s Farms to Your Table

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

Turkeys come from several areas of the state, and while California is ranked No. 7 in turkey production, we do supply most of the western United States.

The famous Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing comes from Sophie Cubbison, a California entrepreneur who was born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. A longer fascinating story made short: In May 1920, she graduated from California Polytechnical University with a degree in Home Economics. In 1948, she added seasoning to broken pieces of the popular Melba toast to make stuffing. A factory in Commerce, California churns it out this time of year.

Farmers and farmworkers in California produce almonds, raisins, walnuts, prunes, pistachios, figs and dates, apricots, pumpkins, pecans and pomegranates. . . right on up the food line.

These are all part of the American Thanksgiving feast.

Celery from the Oxnard and Ventura area, and the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing mix, plus carrots, lots of crisp lettuce and fresh spinach from Salinas — all these greens waiting for you, already washed and bagged in the produce department. The green beans in your casserole come from California growers.

You’ve got oranges and kiwi fruit, table grapes, strawberries, raspberries freshly harvested from the Salinas and the San Joaquin Valleys. You’ve got sweet potatoes from Merced County — this is their pinnacle season. You’ve got all kinds, colors and sizes of potatoes and tomatoes, plus parsley, onions and garlic. . .  all grown in California.

Practically all the fruits, vegetables and nuts make America’s Thanksgiving celebrations festive, and nearly all of them come from California.

And don’t forget about the great variety of California winegrapes cultivated by California growers and then crafted with great care into great California vintage.

Wait! We grow firm, juicy apples and those small round watermelons that are a great snack or accent to a flavorful dessert fruit salad. And besides poultry, we even have California lamb, beef, rice or pasta—if you want to go that way.

Of course, you’ve got Martinelli’s sparkling apple or grape cider from Watsonville, near the Monterey Bay area. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company, which is still family-owned and is run by the founder’s grandson and great-grandson.

At more than 140 years old, Martinelli’s is merely one century younger than our nation. In fact, the company received a first place award at the California State Fair in 1890.

By the way, do you know that little pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? Food public relations genius Leo Pearlstein¹, along with a turkey producer from Turlock, invented that gizmo. Pearlstein, who handled the promotions for the California Turkey Advisory Board, was contemplating the enduring Thanksgiving conundrum—how long to cook the turkey and how to figure out when it is done?

Pearlstein said he and the turkey rancher were sitting in Pearlstein’s test kitchen mulling over ways consumers could determine when the turkey was done. They noticed the fire sprinkler system overhead. When the kitchen gets too hot, the fire sprinkler turns on. A metal alloy in the sprinkler is activated or melted when subjected to the high temperature of a fire in the room (185 degrees Fahrenheit). They applied that concept to the pop-up timer.

Officially, the National Turkey Federation advises consumers also use a conventional meat thermometer to verify that the cooked turkey’s internal temperature reaches:

165 degrees F to 170 degrees F in the breast or
175 degrees F to 180 degrees F in the thigh and
165 degrees F in the center of the stuffing
.

Except for cranberries, it is really a California Thanksgiving.


¹Leo Pearlstein is founder and president of Lee & Associates, Inc., a full-service public relations and advertising firm, which he opened in 1950. According to the company website, he currently runs the company with his partners, two of his sons, Howard and Frank Pearlstein. He is also founder and director of Western Research Kitchens, the food and beverage division of his agencyHe is considered a pioneer food consultant and his agency was recently named as one of the top agencies in the country that specializes in food and beverage clients.

For more food safety guidelines, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides this portal.

RECYCLED WATER PROJECT FOR WATER STABILITY, PART 4

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability: Takes Shape, Part 4

By Brian German, Associate Editor and Broadcaster

As part of our ongoing coverage on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP), we spoke with Anthea Hansen, general Manager of the Del Puerto Water District. Over the next few months the project will start to take shape following the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signing the Record of Decision last month, the high level of cooperation taking place among all the different entities, and positive public response.

Del Puerto Water District dpwdHansen commented, “I can’t speak enough about our good experience thus far. The cities, partners and consultants on the project have come together to really advance this concept—which was all it was seven or eight years ago —into something that will become a reality.

When demands are low in the Del Puerto water district, specifically in the winter months, water deliveries can flow to storage facilities or the San Luis Reservoir for later usage when demand is high. While many areas have already been using recycled water for agricultural needs, the progress by the North Valley program has inspired some communities to improve their own water policies.

Recycled water has long been used in agriculture in other areas of the state, most notably the Salinas Valley and in the south, maybe a little bit up in the north in the winegrape country. The Del Puerto Water District currently relies on water delivered through the Central Valley Project, which had zero deliveries for the previous two years, and are only providing 5% this year. This new program has the potential to produce more than 30,000 acre-feet of water per year as soon as 2018.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: www.nvr-recycledwater.org/description.asp)

Among an estimated 100 recycled water projects in various stages of development throughout the state, Hansen stated, “For the Central Valley, I think this is definitely a big first. We received about 14 public comments on the joint environmental document. Of those 14, three or four were letters of support, and we received some broad support from the environmental community. 

A project of this magnitude to deliver needed water stability could also be accomplished in other dedicated communities, according to Hansen. “We believe this project to be a model for other municipal and agricultural agencies in ways to regionally solve issues together, and hopefully, it will be a model for the nation.”

Anthea_Hansen
Anthea Hansen, general Manager of the Del Puerto Water District

“Hopefully,” said Hansen, “people are looking at this as a good example of ways to think outside the box and use available technology to solve problems locally and regionally, which is what we have been forced to do here on the Westside.

“With all the complexities of California’s plumbing,” explained Hansen, “it would be impossible for a small district like Del Puerto to really affect any of the big picture changes, but we certainly do have the ability to affect how we act locally and regionally. I also think the Central Valley has not historically been a magnet for a lot of assistance, programs or changes that work to our benefit, so we have to devise these for ourselves or we’ll be out be of business. I’m very thankful that the two cities—Modesto and Turlockon the east side of the river in our county, were willing to work with us, and I think we have a good partnership going forward.”


AAEES logo Leadership and Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science

 

The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (Phase 3) won the 2015 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ Competition – Honor Award – Planning from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists.

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability: Collaborative Funding, Part 3

Anthea Hansen on Collaborative Funding

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Part 3 of our ongoing coverage of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program with Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District, described how the district was able to secure funding for a project of this magnitude.

“In our partnership with the cities of Modesto and Turlock and what I’ll call ancillary partners in Stanislaus County and the City of Ceres, we have leaned heavily on our partners for advanced funding,” Hansen said. Turlock and Modesto will be providing the Del Puerto Water District with treated, recycled water transported by direct pipeline to the Delta-Mendota canal for temporary storage. From there, the water will be distributed to agricultural customers within the Del Puerto service area.

Acknowledging the shared financial burden of getting the project off the ground, Hansen shared, “We have very solid agreements in place and the cities have assisted the district by fronting a great portion of the effort thus far—on the condition that once the project comes to fruition, they will recoup all of their input costs, plus a guaranteed revenue stream on the water supply over the life of the partnership. So it’s worked very well,” she said.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: www.nvr-recycledwater.org/description.asp)

Hansen also noted her appreciation for the collaboration among the people in her area and for their understanding that comprise is a much more effective way to achieve water goals, particularly given that many sectors of the community are competing for limited water supplies. “Del Puerto ratepayers have certified they are willing to pay the entire cost of the project,” Hansen said, “including all costs incurred thus far. So, agriculture will fund the delivery system and the water supply,” adding again that upfront funding by cities at the beginning of the project aided the situation.

Forging strong community partnerships to achieve a more stability water supply is key, according to Hansen, “because we haven’t been in a position to put up the risk capital and the money in advance of water deliveries, so it’s been a truly remarkable public-private partnership that we’ve developed,” she said.

 

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 2

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program Projected Completion

By Brian German, Associate Editor

In our continued coverage of the monumental North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP), Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District, talked about the projected completion for the project.

Anthea Hansen, general manager, Del Puerto Water District
Anthea Hansen, general manager, Del Puerto Water District

“We estimate the pipeline will be completed by December 2017—less than two years,” Hansen stated. “The first year’s combined quantities, if both cities (Turlock and Modesto) are online at the start date, will be somewhere between 25K and 30K acre-feet per year,” Hansen calculated.

NVRRWP will convey recycled water from Turlock and Modesto, currently being discharged into the San Joaquin River, instead to the Delta-Mendota Canal via pipeline for storage purposes and later use. “The sense that we all have here,” said Hansen, “is that this transaction and this accomplishment will change the future of the Del Puerto Water District for the better. It will give us some stability in our base [water] supply that we know will come year in and year out.”

After many years of working with various agencies and collaborating with  multiple cities, the project has passed all of its major hurdles and is set to break ground within the next few months. Using recycled water from treatment plants will reduce reliance on unsustainable groundwater supplies and also lower the amount of water pumped from the Delta.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: NVRRWP map)

“People use water in the cities every day, 365 days a year,” explained Hansen. “The reliability of the supply is so important to us because, for such a long time, we have not had reliability in our water supply,” Hansen noted.

“We have 40-year agreements in place with both cities,” she continued. “As a result of the program, even in the first years, each irrigable acre in the district will receive somewhere between one half to three-quarters of an acre-foot of guaranteed water supply, year in and year out.”

Hansen added the project will sustain a growing population. “Over time,” she remarked, “as the cites grow and the populations expand, the quantities of water are projected to grow over the build-out period for the project.”

______________________________

See Also: Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 1, “North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program: A New Water Source for Valley Farmers,” June 14, 2015.

Additional Benefits of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 1

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program: A New Water Source for Valley Farmers

Part One of a Five-Part Series

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Patterson, Calif.-based Del Puerto Water District, described the exciting work to bring more water stability in the form of recycled water to multiple Central Valley cities—in our five-part series on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP)

“After six and a half years of effort,” Hansen said, “we have fully completed all of our environmental documentation, and most of the permitting is in hand.” Recently, the partners have interviewed and selected the preferred firm to construct the Modesto component of the project, so that process is underway.”

cropped-cropped-SLDMWA200x200Logo101714NVRRWP is a collaborative partnership that includes the cities of Modesto, Turlock and Ceres along with the Del Puerto Water District and Stanislaus County to solve the region’s water supply and reliability problemsThe program will provide a new source of water for agricultural customers in the Del Puerto Water District (DPWD), whose supplies have been severely impacted by drought and by environmental restrictions on pumping water from the Delta. Hansen noted the collaboration was the largest obstacle they were able to overcome.

“One of the biggest things that happened recently, a day we were all looking forward to,” noted Hansen, “is when the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) executed the record of decision for our project, a document that supports not only the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation but also the signing of a long-term contract. It will allow us to convey and store the recycled water in federal facilities,” she said, “and it will also support the sharing of a portion of the water with the wildlife refugees south of the Delta. That was a big milestone for our project.”

The cities of Turlock and Modesto will provide treated, recycled water to the Del Puerto Water District through a direct pipeline into the Delta-Mendota Canal. The district will then distribute that water to the agricultural customers within its service area.

After so many years already invested in the project, Hansen is excited the plan is coming together. “We worked lockstep with Reclamation for over three years,” Hansen said, “and we did some very extensive and thorough analysis. We had a great team and a good working relationship, and it looks like we are nearing the end of assembling all of the different pieces of this very complicated puzzle.”

_______________________

Resources:

Del Puerto Water District

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program Map

Recycled Water Uses Allowed in California 

The Citizen’s Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Member Agencies Map

_______________________

See also, “Recycled Wastewater Could Help Growers in Del Puerto Water District, June 9, 2015.

Good News for Oakdale Irrigation District Farmers

Oakdale Irrigation District Farmers:
2015 Water Allotments Raised to 40 Inches

A couple of beneficial spring storms combined with cool weather and strong water conservation led to good news Tuesday morning for farmers in the Oakdale Irrigation District: A small bump in the amount of water they will receive in the fourth year of drought.

OID directors voted 4-0, with Al Bairos absent, to raise this year’s allocation to 40 inches from 36. When the irrigation season began in March, OID told irrigators to expect 30 inches this year – the first time in its 105-year history it has put limits in place.

Directors also declined to rescind a decision they made in April to deliver 10 inches of water to Tier 2 customers.

General Manager Steve Knell said small storms in April and May provided an unexpected bonus: enough water to keep soil moisture high in the valley, plus additional runoff into Sierra reservoirs. He told directors that 2.8 inches of rain fell above Donnells and Beardsley Lakes, which had plenty of room to capture it.

He said the rain comes on top of positive efforts by OID’s 2,900 agricultural customers to use less water. The combination has the district to easily meet its goal of pushing at least 10,000 acre-feet of “saved” water into New Melones Reservoir. OID is on target to conserve about 17,000 acre-feet, Knell said.

“When you ask constituents to step up in this district, they do it,” he said.

The 40 inches OID’s irrigators will receive compares to 36 inches for those in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and is more than double what farmers in the Modesto and Turlock districts will get this summer.

“Forty inches is an abundance of water,” said Brian Lemons, who grows almonds and walnuts.

Still, the implications of the drought were on the minds of OID’s staff and board.

Knell said the district is discussing various 2016 water scenarios with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which manages New Melones. And Director Frank Clark warned about the financial implications of the drought on the district, which has dug into its reserves to use $17 million to balance its budget the past two years.

“If these dry years continue and you have no income from hydro production and you have no excess water to sell and you keep drawing down from reserves, it looks bleak,” Clark said. “We could be looking at … raising irrigation rates.”

Record Crowd of Tree Nut Growers in Turlock

Big Crowd in Turlock for Tree Nut and Vine Expo

More than 800 growers and PCAs were at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds TODAY, to hear from many speakers, visit with hundreds of exhibitors, talk about tree nuts and grape vines, and enjoy breakfast and a barbeque Tri-Tip lunch.

“It was the 18th annual event and with a record crowd. All growers were upbeat following a good harvest and good nut prices. Also, both domestic and export sales are increasing,” said Patrick Cavanaugh, editor of Pacific Nut Producer magazine and co-host of the event.
tree nut growers
Exhibitors speak with tree nut growers about products and services
“We are pleased that both the nut and grape industry are doing well in California. All we really need is a lot of rainfall this winter,” said Dan Malcolm, publisher of Pacific Nut Producer as well as American Vineyard magazine, and co-host of the show.
Crowd gathers outside to look over equipment.

Speakers came from UC Davis, Stanislaus County Ag Commissioner’s office, UC Cooperative Extension, Almond Board of California, California Walnut Board, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, and CalAgSafety.

“We appreciate the support of the event sponsors and the record number exhibitors,” said Cavanaugh.
Ryan Genzoli with Cal Ag Safety speaks. tree nut growers
Ryan Genzoli with Cal Ag Safety speaks.
Sponsors Included:
    • Agromillora
    • American Ag Credit
    • Big Tree Organics
    • California Walnut Board
    • Compass Minerals
    • Dave Wilson Nursery
    • Diamond Foods
    • Fresno State Viticulture and Enology Dept.
    • JKB Energy
    • Novozymes
    • Principal Financial Group
    • Yosemite Farm Credit