Jeffrey Mount, UC Davis Professor of Geology Whereas agriculture used to consume 80% of the state's water supply, today 46% of captured and stored water goes to environmental purposes...
|Scooped by Jack Lindblad|
Brown read ahead and his twin tube 40-foot-wide, 35-mile-long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta boondoggle is moot. Yah!
No clear purpose has been put forward for any tunneling or burrowing water from upstream to downstream except too favor Central Valley farmers.
Our Campaign's railing against Brown's warmed over, not appropriate twin tunnel proposal helped in the larger effort to see it removed from the table.
"agriculture claiming 80% of state's developed water" appears to be not accurate and even alarmist:
'In the long run, what's sorely needed in California is a reprioritizing of water use. Currently, agriculture claims 80% of the state's developed water. And 55% of exported delta water goes to two irrigation districts in the southern San Joaquin Valley.'
Quoted below seems to be the authoritative breakdown of California water usage, not what Skelton quotes from the above reference:
"Under the new reporting system, gross water use includes both the applied water for urban and agricultural use, as well as that set aside for flow requirements to meet habitat and water quality needs. This is the source of the second part of the above statement. A more accurate figure is roughly 40% agriculture, 10% urban and 50% environment.
Sounds like the environment is taking all the water after all, even with the new accounting system. But this is a larger total volume of water than in the old accounting system, since environmental water is now added in to the mix. This accounting method is both flawed and misleading.
The method used by DWR sums up all of the instream flows required by regulations. The large environmental number is dominated by flows in rivers designated as Wild and Scenic. Most of the volume that flows down Wild and Scenic Rivers is in the North Coast and includes flood flows, where there is no practical way to recover it for either agricultural or urban use (see blog “water to the sea isn’t wasted”).
When you examine water use within the interconnected network of California that feeds farms and cities, use is roughly 52% agricultural, 14% urban and 33% environmental. While a big difference, even this overstates the environmental take.
When you account based on net water use—meaning water that is lost to evapotranspiration or salt sinks and not returned to rivers or groundwater for alternative uses—this translates to 62% agricultural, 16% urban and 22% environmental. And some of that environmental water is used to keep water quality high enough for drinking."