Californians lose 800,000 acre-feet of water to 305 minnows

From one year ago.


It would take about four average size minnow buckets to hold 305 3-inch Delta smelt, yet that is number of minnows responsible for diverting enough water to the ocean to provide a year’s supply for 800,000 California families.

800,000 acre-feet of water went to waste based on the science of four buckets of minnows. That is enough water to produce crops on 200,000 acres or 10 million tons of tomatoes; 200 million boxes of lettuce; 20 million tons of grapes. You get the picture?

No wonder Tom Birmingham, the normally thoughtful and analytical general manager of Westlands Water District, responded with, “This insanity has to stop,” when asked to respond to a Fresno Bee news reporter’s inquiry about the Federal Bureau of Reclamation’s initial water allocation of only 25 percent of federal water to San Joaquin Valley farmers.

This is not a drought year (2013). The meager allotment is the result of too much water.


h/t Deborah B

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