Solutions for combating drought

July 8, 2014 

I encourage all Valley residents to ride into the foothills near LaGrange, Knights Ferry and Angels Camp – anywhere east – where millions of new trees have been planted, sometimes as far as the eye can see. The corporations that own the land have new wells pulling tens of thousands of gallons per minute from our groundwater.

The State Water Resources Control Board has stated “there’s simply not enough water for all to take what they think they’re entitled to.” Our county has irresponsibly allowed these new orchards to multiply. The 60 new wells in the waiting should be stopped.

Almost 8,000 junior right irrigators can be fined for taking water from the rivers. Hopefully the state will quickly step in to protect our groundwater. The new corporate farms are certainly junior in their water rights. Our county has shown a serious lack of common sense and foresight. California is one of the only states that doesn’t regulate groundwater. Insane. We no longer have the luxury to assume anyone who owns property can take any amount of water from under the ground. All wells in California should be metered and monitored. Anything less is not facing reality.

Barbara Swier, Hughson

Not all water goes back into aquifer

I’ve seen two letters in the paper which say that the water used for crops goes back into the soil, so watering crops is not a big deal. Some of the water does go back to the groundwater table, but not all. If it did, all the plants and orchards would die of thirst. The process is called evapotranspiration, in which water evaporates from the soil and from the leaves of the trees. It goes into the atmosphere in the form of water vapor. I think readers should be aware that it is a simplistic notion that all the water goes back into the groundwater table. Evapotranspiration is highest in the southwest and where there’s drought.

Richard Starke, Manteca

Figure out how to help the farmers

Regarding “Modesto’s rain year ends on low note” (Page A1, June 30): I question why the lack of rain is the main cause of our drought. Rain is not the only source of water. Even though very easy to get, rain is unpredictable and unreliable. The state of California is known for its agriculture. Why not let the farmers get more water and help them out? Farmers are suffering.

Raman Bakoz, Ceres

Give us more ideas for saving water

I constantly read in The Bee about the drought and almost every article ends with not just the farmers but everyone should do what they can. It occurred to me that maybe The Bee could ask for ideas to share with readers on how they’re saving water; the list could be published. You could begin with what I do and go from there. I do not use the dishwasher or the garbage disposal. Whenever I am waiting for hot water from the tap, I save the cold water, this includes in the shower. Whenever I wash fruits and veggies, I save the water. I live in Turlock where we can water lawns three times a week; I have cut down the time watering and only do it two days a week. (I think lawns are going to be a thing of the past.) All this water saved goes to my plants. I also put timers on all my outside faucets just in case I forget to turn off the drip. I could use more ideas, so I hope people respond.

Nancy Haydock, Turlock

Don’t be in a rush to flush

The media is full of drought predictions, reservoir water levels and reminders to save, save, save our precious water. But I remember one piece of advice we got during the last really bad drought around 1990, I think, and I haven’t seen this mentioned this time. Very simple: If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.

Marilyn Rowland, Modesto

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