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Water Shortages

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall
Despite a return to normal snowpack and precipitation this winter, state officials said water shortages will continue this summer and urged continued conservation efforts. The Department of Water Resources on Thursday slightly increased allocations in the state system that helps supply urban Southern California. Managers said they might be able to raise projected deliveries again next month but warned that they expect the final numbers to be no more than last year -- about 40% of full allocation, which prompted rationing in many Southland cities, including Los Angeles.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall
When California Sen. Dianne Feinstein drafted legislation that would weaken endangered species protections to deliver more water to San Joaquin Valley farms, her rationale was jobs. "People in California's breadbasket face complete economic ruin," the Democrat said in a recent statement. She was joining a chorus of Central Valley politicians and farm groups that during the last year have painted the region as a dust bowl, beset by drought and environmental protections that are cutting vital water deliveries and the jobs that depend on them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall
A federal judge has temporarily lifted pumping curbs designed to protect salmon migration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an action that allows the diversion of more winter storm flows to farms and cities in the south. Friday's ruling is the latest in a tortuous legal fight over Endangered Species Act protections that limit pumping from the troubled delta east of San Francisco, a source of water for 23 million Californians and millions of acres of farmland. The decision was a victory, however brief, for San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts that have tried in the courts and the halls of Congress to loosen pumping restraints that have reduced their water deliveries.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall
Federal managers said Tuesday they are speeding up delivery of irrigation water to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley because recent storms have boosted the state's water supply. "Essentially we're saying we're confident enough right now that we can provide this as an assured water supply . . . and it will give them a jump- start on this year's water season," said Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes. West-side farmers suffered the greatest irrigation cutbacks last year, largely because of the state's three-year drought.
OPINION
November 29, 2009
Steamed about water Re "Best answer to state's water woes may be you," Nov. 24 How interesting that in The Times' article about California's water shortage, you never once used the phrase "agricultural use." It also was not included in your water-use chart. The column representing agricultural use would not have fit on the page. I'm all for water conservation, but it galls me to have to beg for an eight-ounce glass of water at a restaurant when about 10 million irrigated acres of California farmland are sucking up 11 trillion gallons of the stuff a year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 1, 2009 | Bettina Boxall
In a bow to a summer of angry complaints about water cutbacks to Central Valley farms, the Obama administration said Wednesday it would invite the National Academy of Sciences to examine the environmental measures restricting some water shipments from Northern California. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would ask the academy to conduct an independent review of the science underpinning federal pumping limits imposed under the Endangered Species Act to protect smelt and salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
WORLD
September 7, 2009 | Ken Ellingwood
In the parched Mexican countryside, the corn is wilting, the wheat stunted. And here in this vast and thirsty capital, officials are rationing water and threatening worse cuts as Mexico endures one of the driest spells in more than half a century. A months-long drought has affected broad swaths of the country, from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula, leaving crop fields parched and many reservoirs low. The need for rain is so dire that water officials have been rooting openly for a hurricane or two to provide a good drenching.
OPINION
July 19, 2009
Drought. Environmental regulations. Growing urban demand. It's all meant less water for California farmers. Times editorial writer Marjorie Miller spoke with growers and a processor from the Central Valley about how water shortages have affected them. These are edited transcripts of their comments. -- Bill Diedrich, Shields, Calif. I have 515 acres of almonds, 75 acres of prunes and 23 acres of peaches, and I don't have a choice: I have to irrigate.
NEWS
July 5, 2009 | Joseph Marks
Eli Raz was peering into a narrow hole in the Dead Sea shore when the earth opened up and swallowed him. Fearing he would never be found alive in the 30 foot-deep pit, he scribbled his will on an old postcard. After 14 hours, a search party pulled him from the hole unhurt, and five years later the 69-year-old geologist is working to save others from a similar fate, leading an effort to map the sinkholes that are spreading on the banks of the fabled saltwater lake. These underground craters can open up in an instant, sucking in whatever lies above and leaving the surrounding area looking like an earthquake zone.
OPINION
April 19, 2009 | Marc B. Haefele, Marc B. Haefele is a commentator for KPCC-FM (89.3) and writes for Nomada magazine of Buenos Aires.
During a prolonged drought in the early 1990s, L.A.'s Department of Water and Power and Department of Public Works conducted an ambitious experiment. In eight homes, including those of several elected officials, they installed "gray water" equipment that diverted the outflows from washing machines, showers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks to irrigate lawns and gardens outside the homes.
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