Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bigelow and coalition to feds: Don’t take water from farmers

By
From page A10 | January 29, 2014 | 4 Comments

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Vice Chair Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, and a bipartisan coalition of San Joaquin Valley legislators today sent the following letter to the United States Bureau of Reclamation calling on them to not take water from farmers:

“We write today regarding concerns raised by our constituents about the possibility of the Bureau of Reclamation not providing rescheduled water which was held over from the 2013-2014 contract year. While we understand that no decision has been made on this issue as of yet, we believe that it would be unconscionable for the Bureau to not honor rescheduled water from the 2013-2014 contract year.

“Many growers in the San Joaquin Valley rely on contracted surface water from the Central Valley Project. For years individuals have been able to reschedule water that was not used in the previous contract year for use in the upcoming contract year. These growers have been able to make these decisions because of significant financial investments in water conservation equipment, the purchasing of millions of dollars’ worth of water through transfers, and the fallowing of land. This prudent action by growers was made with the understanding that rescheduled water would protect growers from drought conditions that may happen in the upcoming year. It would be egregious for the Bureau to penalize growers who adopted these practices based on the Bureau’s own guidelines that they could reschedule water from one contract year to the next.

“Limiting access to rescheduled water would be a disastrous economic blow to our growers and our region which will result in the fallowing of agriculture land. This in turn will devastate the economies of many small communities in the Valley as well as substantially increase unemployment, which in some areas that we represent already exceeds 40 percent. Blocking access to rescheduled surface water will also result in increased groundwater overdraft and subsidence issues within the Valley.

“We understand that California is in the midst of a drought and without substantial precipitation in the near distant future things will become even worse. Penalizing growers who made responsible decisions and investments last year to reschedule water will only exacerbate problems in the Valley and in the state. We request that the Bureau continue to provide rescheduled water to growers and call on you both to find ways to increase the amount of water that is available to all Californians that rely on the Central Valley Project.

“If the Bureau is going to move ahead and restrict rescheduled water, we would request that both of you please come to the Valley and explain to our constituents why the Bureau will not be able to honor the rescheduling of water, and what the Bureau is going to do to help growers and communities in the San Joaquin Valley.”

The letter was signed by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and seven other state senators and assembly members.

Frank Bigelow represents the 5th Assembly District, which encompasses Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Placer, and Tuolumne counties and includes Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.

Kirk Kimmerlshue

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Discussion | 4 comments

  • VernJanuary 29, 2014 - 5:07 am

    I’ve recently had dealings with Bigelow’s office, just another Jack Sweeney BS artist. Cant I’m wait to see what Bigelow sets up for McClintocks pre-election campaign platforms in our area, some say he will even use the occasion honoring a dead veteran as an opportunity to get McClintock to the podium? Of course since either has served our county they won’t understand why that would be disrespectful………

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  • VernJanuary 29, 2014 - 5:10 am

    I’ve recently had dealings with Bigelow’s office, just another Jack Sweeney BS artist. Cant wait to see what Bigelow sets up for McClintocks pre-election campaign platforms in our area, some say he will even use the occasion honoring a dead veteran as an opportunity to get McClintock to the podium? Of course since either has served our county they won’t understand why that would be disrespectful………

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  • Kristy CrowderJanuary 29, 2014 - 8:49 am

    While visiting So. Calif. recently I noticed there are several new man made lakes in varieous areas that didn't used to be there. They are not for drinking or irrigation, just for recreation. Also, Castaic and Pyramid Lakes are over 100% capacity for this time of year. In the mean time our farmer's are pleading for water for their crops and our genious govenor wants to build tunnels to send even more water south. He says the water belongs to all of Calif., but the north and central part of the state seems to be getting the short end of the stick as usual. Plus, the water management of Folsom Lake is terrible, as it has been for years. Is there anyone out there that has a clue what they are doing, or is it all just polictics?

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  • Pat SnellingJanuary 30, 2014 - 10:31 am

    The farmers that Mr. Bigelow is talking about are Cotton and grain farmers. They are "not" tomato, and vegetable farmers. They are "not" fruits and grape farmers. He is talking about 40 businesses, agricultural conglomerates, made up of Oil and Railroad companies -- Today's Water Barons -- that own high desert land that needs flushing. Yes, flushing every year. They build up salts and the land grows nothing but salt tolerant plants naturally unless it is flushed out (known as the Kesterson`s runoff -- that had deformed birds, fish and frogs). So Mr. Bigelow wants these farmers to get their "Over-promised" water of over 700,000 ac-ft.... (One ac-ft is enough water for a family of 4 for one year). The contracts are for more water than the present system can possibly deliver.

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