Posts Tagged: irrigation

Reason to question California’s “reasonable use” standard on water resources

Small alterations to irrigation practices used by California farmers could remove the need for massive new dams and canals, better protect the environment and leave more drinking water for residential customers, according to a report expected to be released to state water regulators in California next week.  Bettina Boxall profiles that report in the Los Angeles Times.

The report, certain to spark controversy among those benefiting from the status quo, suggests regulators revisit the legalistic phrase “reasonable use” in the state’s constitution: (more…)

More water under the bridge in Delta smelt debate

Delta smelt

Call it science by court ruling. A federal district court judge ordered the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service back to the drawing board late Tuesday in the latest wrinkle of the endless legal fracas over California’s water supply.

As Mike Taugher reports in the Contra Costa Times and Bettina Boxell writes in the Los Angeles Times, the court decided that regulations established to protect dwindling stocks of a tiny fish classified as ‘threatened’ were arbitrary, capricious and not sufficiently justified by research.

Though only the size of a minnow, the Delta Smelt has proven a legal leviathan. Concerns about its potential extinction have forced the shutdown of the mighty Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pump stations, which send billions of gallons of water to irrigation districts — and obliterate the smelt in the process. (more…)