Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Water supply and drought

According to an article in the Ojai Valley News, the current drought and new water pricing is creating tension between water agencies and farmers. When wells run dry, growers have become accustomed to subsidized water imported from Lake Casitas. But with rate increases intended to cover the true cost of water, a local water district is reaching economic limits.

“The Senior Canyon board states that agriculture is no longer a viable aspect of our environment,” the rebuttal letter said. “We believe this statement is wrong. Agriculture is an integral part of life in Ojai’s East End … If the choice needs to be made between preserving agriculture in the East End and preserving the water company known as Senior Canyon, we choose to preserve agriculture.”

Lack of integrated management between multiple water districts, municipalities, private well owners, and public agencies has resulted in over-allocation of the limited ground water basins and ongoing conflicts over current and future water use.

And as the creeks dry up, ecosystem function is impaired by diminished surface flows and degraded water quality.

Meanwhile, the statewide drought continues to worsen. The Central Valley Project, which provides irrigation water to central valley farmers, may have ZERO water this year. And water rationing is being considered for the majority of Ventura County which relies on imports from the State Water Project.

This is not just a local trend. A recent headline states: Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in