Storm #30, Tea Parties, San Joaquin River

Not much of a storm, described a “weak system” by the Weather Service.
Though weak, it’s momentous. It kicks off the early spring (California lowlands spring) storm cycle, a period that determines whether we head into summer with plenty of water or in another drought year. At which point I will continue to piss off the farmers by saying they shouldn’t get to have all the water in the San Joaquin River diverted into irrigation canals, that some of it belongs to the Delta and the River channel itself. But just like the Tea Parties are really just anti-Obama rallies, the San Joaquin Valley Farmers water movement is really just a bunch of anti-environment cranks.
Not that they have no support. People have high regard for farming and react emotionally quite favorably to a farmer that says she’s in distress. And they are not going to react very emotionally to an environment in distress. The Delta, the smelt and the California Salmon run have few friends, but deserve more, especially here in the Valley, where once stood gorgeous riparian forests and splendid expanses of wetlands and lakes, where once teamed herds of Tule Elk and was home to the Giant California Grizzly Bear. Most of the forest, wetland and wildlife is gone, (The Grizzlies are still here, if you like baseball), covered and drained for farming. But a little bit remains in the delta, where the valley’s once free-flowing snowmelt waters enter the Sea. Salmon runs went up these waters and they can run again just up into a restored section of Delta.
Water resources are to be shared, and the farmers of the San Joaquin Valley have no right to demand it all go to their crops, especially when they can adopt ways to irrigate that involve fewer floodings and more drip. Drip irrigation has been so successful on grapes, farmers who once couldn’t expand for lack of water expanded their operations onto virgin land because they could spread it out more using drip.
But then, you can see a pattern here, they will expand and expand their farms until, once again, they don’t have enough water in dry or average rainfall years.

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