Category Archives: Uncategorized


All of San Joaquin County, and 58 percent of the state, is now considered to be in a state of “exceptional” drought, federal officials said today. That’s the most severe of five categories. Until today, only the southern and western portions of the county were classified as “exceptional” by the U.S. Drought Monitor. New maps [...]

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‘It’s up to all of us’

San Joaquin County pieced together a 30-second water conservation commercial that aired recently on Comcast. The ad cost about $9,000, county Public Works staff recently told water commissioners. Check it out:

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‘We’re heading for Venus, and still we stand tall’

This blog will be silent until Wednesday, July 30. So, in honor of Tuesday’s twin tunnels comment deadline, here’s a little something to motivate any last-minute letter writers.

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Fish passage above dams “incredibly foolish?”

I asked Doug Demko, a fisheries biologist who consults for water districts, what he thought about plans to restore migratory fish above large California dams. Demko called the idea “incredibly foolish.” “It creates more problems than it solves, and it’s hugely expensive,” Demko said. You’d have to either trap both incoming and outgoing fish and [...]

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Water surpasses air quality as No. 1 concern

For the first time since the Public Policy Institute of California began environment surveys in 2000, residents are more worried about water than air pollution. And it’s not even close. That interesting tidbit comes from the depths of the PPIC’s latest poll, released tonight. Thirty-five percent of poll respondents said that water supply or drought [...]

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(Ground)water on the brain

Responding to Sunday’s story about groundwater levels dropping in east San Joaquin County, reader Robert Lee offers this suggestion: “Groundwater is subject to the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ whereby an aquifer theoretically owned by all those who own land above it may be drained by the farmer with the biggest well. But there is a [...]

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‘Better pay attention to your mail’

That’s some free legal advice from Delta water attorney Dante Nomellini. Nomellini pointed out at a meeting last week that farmers or other water users who fail to respond to curtailment notices could face fines. It’s true that the State Water Resources Control Board ultimately decided that senior water rights holders — those whose rights predate [...]

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What’s on tap — week of July 21 and beyond

Tuesday, July 22: Stockton East Water District weekly board meeting. Noon, 6767 E. Main St., Stockton. Agenda available here. Wednesday, July 23: San Joaquin Bike Coalition’s weekly ride. 7 p.m. behind the Empire Theater in Stockton. Anyone with basic bike riding skills welcome. More details here. Thursday, July 24: Community workshop on Stockton’s general plan. Share your views how the city [...]

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Not quite Sally Savewater, but…

San Joaquin County has launched a new drought website,, which is intended to give residents practical advice and conservation tips. That info might be especially important now that state officials have approved penalties of up to $500 a day for those who waste water. The county has also produced a $9,000 commercial that you [...]

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The drought, in context

My initial, layperson’s take on today’s drought report: 1) This is a billion-dollar drought — the report predicts $1 billion in crop revenue loss across California, to be exact — but consider the fact that the state enjoys $45 billion in crop revenue in a typical year. So, put in context, the revenue loss this [...]

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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