Delta tunnel planners must examine farms’ water use

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 - 7:10 am

Re "Bay-Delta water study leaves big questions" (Editorials, Dec. 12): The cost-effectiveness of the Delta tunnels project should be evaluated in tandem with the state's agricultural practices. Agriculture uses 80 percent of the state's water supplies, with rice and almond crops coming in first and third highest in usage. Almond growers export 70 percent of their crops to other countries, while rice growers export 40 percent. Further, not all farmers utilize the most efficient irrigation practices. Considering climate change and its impact on projected rainfall, backers of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan should ask themselves why they propose to spend billions of dollars, jeopardize the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's ecosystem, and deplete Northern California's water supplies, so agribusiness can continue exporting high-water-use crops. Why not improve irrigation practices and have agribusiness strategize to align crop choices with water supplies, not simply select the most profitable crops.

-- Dave Keneller, Shingle Springs

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