State law requires those who divert water from our lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks to report their monthly diversion and use. For the health of California, it is important to understand how much water is available versus how much is being used.
The State Water Board has approved a report suggesting cutting Delta water flows 50% to restore the health of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay-Delta. Yet like so many Delta reports, it is nonbinding and can only be used to develop policy.
‘Use it or lose it’ is gone. Local initiatives to encourage reduced water usage have arrived.
Gov. Sam Brownback chose Colby, where the negotiation for the landmark legislation started, as the site of a ceremonial signing of a bill designed to conserve the state’s water supply and extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer.
Gov. Sam Brownback has signed five water conservation bills into law this legislative session. In addition to the legislation provided for Local Enhanced Management Areas, other laws end “use-it-or-lose-it” policy, amend flex accounts to give irrigators more options to manage water, amend the water banking program, and make improvements to the Water Transition Assistance Program.
SMR Farms in Bradenton, Fla., has a hefty irrigation bill, with more than 4,500 acres under irrigation, but the bill is kept in check by using wastewater from a local treatment plant. The operation was a pioneer in Manatee County in the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, originally bringing the water in to supply citrus trees.
High Plains’ producers and others will be required to limit the water they pump.
When Roric Paulman came back to the farm south of Sutherland more than 30 years ago, he assembled a team to help him resurrect an operation that had just gone through bankruptcy and the sudden death of his father. “I was 27. I didn’t know enough about farming at the time, so I pulled together a team that included an attorney, accountant and bankers to see where I stood. I also sat down with our original landlords.”
The big picture of Nebraska’s water supply is missing as the state attempts to manage water conflicts and set regulatory policies. Instead, Nebraska needs to inventory its total water supply and identify where that water goes before determining the highest-priority consumptive uses.