Food Grows Where Water Flows

For more than 25 years, the California Farm Water Coalition has been working with our members to share information about farm water issues, and reminding Californians that "Food Grows Where Water Flows."

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Releases and Statements

It Is Time to Modernize Our Water Supply Infrastructure

April 21, 2020 in CFWC Blog, Releases

It Is Time to Modernize Our Water Supply Infrastructure

“Today’s letters by over 150 agricultural organizations and water interests to President Trump and Congress underscores the need for investments in our water supply infrastructure to protect the nation’s food supply

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how much we all depend on a reliable food supply chain. Making sure farmers are prepared to feed the country tomorrow is only possible if we make smart investments in our water supply system today.”

“Simply put, farmers need water to grow the food we all depend on. Many of the facilities that supply water to farms, rural, and urban communities were built more than 50 years ago and are unable to meet the needs of an increasing population without investments to keep them operating.”

 

Statement by Water and Agricultural Interests

(Washington, D.C.) – A coalition of 150 organizations representing water and agricultural interests in the western U.S. urged Congress and President Trump today to address aging Western water infrastructure as further measures are considered to help the U.S. economy recover from the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of safety and stability provided by domestic food production,” the groups stated in separate letters to Congress and the president. “As this crisis has pointed out, a stable domestic food supply is essential and of national security interest. For farmers and ranchers to survive, and for food to continue to be produced here in the American West, a stable water supply is a necessary part of any conversation about our national food security.”
 
President Trump has stated his belief that renewed efforts to meet the systemic infrastructure demands of the nation will be an important step in combating the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
 
“We strongly agree,” the organizations stated in the letter to the White House. “In particular, we urge you to advance critically needed investments that address the shortcomings of our aging Western water infrastructure.”
 
Existing water infrastructure in the West needs rehabilitation and improvement. Most of the federally funded water infrastructure projects that benefit the large cities, rural communities and small farms in the West were built more than 50 years ago. As hydrological conditions in the West change and populations continue to expand, failure to address water security has become increasingly critical.
 
“Failing to improve water infrastructure and develop supplies will inevitably result in additional conflict as pressure grows to ‘solve’ urban and environmental water shortages,” the groups stated in the letter to Congress. “Moving water away from Western irrigated agriculture will surely contribute to the decline of our national food security.”
 
The coalition letters-spearheaded by the California Farm Bureau Federation, Family Farm Alliance and Western Growers-emphasize that water conservation, water recycling, watershed management, conveyance, desalination, water transfers, groundwater storage and surface storage are all needed in a diversified management portfolio.
 
“If and when additional infrastructure funding is discussed as part of a larger economic stimulus package, we need your help to ensure that federal dollars flow to the water infrastructure needs mentioned above,” the letters conclude.

Statement by Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition on the Initial Allocation Announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation

February 25, 2020 in CFWC Blog, Releases, Water Allocations, Water Supply

Statement by Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition on the Initial Allocation Announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation

February 25, 2020

“Today’s announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation of a 15 percent initial allocation for water supplies south of the Delta is clearly the result of the dry hydrology California is experiencing. February is shaping up to be possibly the first time in recorded history without any measurable precipitation. That alone is evidence that California may be on the leading edge of another drought.

“These dry conditions are similar to what we saw in 2009. For months farmers were not given an allocation amount and told they may get zero water. In April of that year, well past the time to make effective planting decisions, the allocation was set at 10 percent.

“The new biological opinions implemented last week are already making a difference by allocating 15 percent in February. We’re obviously hopeful that allocations will rise, but we’re pleased to be off to a better start than we were under the old operating rules.

“Had the new biological opinions been in place last year we believe an additional 1 million acre-feet of water could have been stored for use this year, delivering more water and offering better species protection, based on what we’ve learned over the past 10 years studying the Delta and its tributaries.

“That kind of operational flexibility is essential for California to remain the nation’s leading farm state and to continue to produce more than half of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the U.S. as well as vast amounts of dairy, beef and nursery products.”

Statement on the Adoption of the New Biological Opinions

February 19, 2020 in Endangered Species, Releases

Statement by California Farm Water Coalition Executive Director Mike Wade on the Adoption of the New Biological Opinions

“For the first time in more than a decade, the federal rules known as Biological Opinions are being updated. These rules exist to protect threatened species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region while also meeting the water supply needs of farms, businesses and people.

“The new Biological Opinions, based on more than 10 years of scientific study, will allow California to manage water in real-time using the latest science rather than relying on an arbitrary calendar approach that takes years to recognize updated research. The decade-old rules are based on outdated science and have failed to help Delta smelt, Chinook salmon and other threatened species. And to keep us from once again letting rules get outdated while struggling species suffer, the new Biological Opinions allow for ongoing scientific review as well as independent evaluation by outside experts.

“Getting these rules right impacts the entire state. Water from the federally-run Central Valley Project delivers enough water to meet the needs of 1 million California households, over 3 million acres of some of the most productive farmland in the world and over a million-acre feet of water for fish and wildlife and their habitat, including state and federal wildlife refuges and wetlands. The State Water Project serves the water needs of 750,000 acres of productive farmland and the domestic water supply for two-thirds of all Californians. We applaud the Trump Administration as well as California leadership including Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes for their part in making this a reality.

“To be clear, this is just one piece of a very complicated puzzle that we hope includes new Voluntary Agreements on water. We support the Newsom Administration’s efforts to make water policy work better for all Californians.”

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