[env-trinity] Federal Funds to Western San Joaquin

Spreck Rosekrans srosekrans at edf.org
Fri Jul 2 20:14:43 PDT 2010

Isn't this from last year?

From: env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us <env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us>
To: FOTR List <fotr at mailman.dcn.org>; Trinity List <env-trinity at mailman.dcn.org>
Sent: Fri Jul 02 22:56:35 2010
Subject: [env-trinity] Federal Funds to Western San Joaquin

Fed grant funds to ease Valley water shortages

Written by Garance Burke, AP Writer

(AP) — Federal agencies pledged Thursday to send nearly $60 million in grants to help California communities, farms and dairies suffering from ongoing water shortages.

The money includes $40 million from President Obama's stimulus package aimed at drought-relief projects, the bulk of which will go to the San Joaquin Valley, where three years of dry weather and irrigation cutbacks have crippled production and caused severe unemployment.

Most of the Department of Interior's stimulus funds are intended to help growers dig new wells and install temporary pipelines and pumps to move water to farms that need it most, Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes said.

"The farming communities in the San Joaquin are central to our bread basket, to our prosperity and to our agricultural strength as a nation," he said.

The announcement was welcome news for farmers on the west side of Fresno County, the most productive agricultural county in the nation.

Farms in the area are receiving only 10 percent of their federal water allocation this year.

The grants, plus other federal funding announced earlier this year, should help put rural communities back to work by freeing up water supplies to keep crops and fruit trees growing, Hayes said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also announced Thursday it would direct an additional $18 million in grants to help California farmers, dairy operators and resource conservation districts use water more efficiently and tackle environmental problems.

"Regulations for air quality and water quality keep getting tougher, so this will be a huge help," said Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen.

The biggest winner was the sprawling Westlands Water District, which received a total of $9.5 million in grants from both agencies.

The district, which produces about $1 billion in crops annually and is one of Fresno County's biggest employers, says the water shortages have meant that hundreds of thousands of acres used to grow lettuce, tomatoes and other crops have been fallowed this year.

The grants from USDA will help Westlands farmers save enough water to irrigate 1,000 more acres and put about 800 people to work, said Tom Birmingham, the district's general manager.

More than $2.2 million will be spent so U.S. Geological Survey scientists can monitor how increased pumping affects California's central aquifer, which some state scientists fear could sink enough to slow delivery of water to Southern California.

The California Aqueduct, a major canal that delivers drinking water to more than 20 million people, is among many structures threatened by the sinking.

A study released by the USGS earlier this month revealed that groundwater pumping is causing the valley floor to sink.

Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/fax
415 519 4810 mobile
bwl3 at comcast.net<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net>
bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> (secondary)

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