Friday Must Reads: Instead of Cutbacks, Big Ag Demands More Water; Some Southern California Cities Refuse to Conserve Water


Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Despite the historic drought, California agribusiness is demanding that Governor Jerry Brown allow more Northern California water to be pumped out of the delta and shipped to the dry San Joaquin Valley for farming, the Fresno Bee$ reports (via Rough & Tumble). In his emergency drought declaration earlier this week, Brown shielded Big Ag from mandatory water rationing. But agribusinesses, which use 80 percent of the available water in California, say that wasn’t enough and that they need more water because of the dry conditions. Agribusinesses, which have increasingly planted water-intensive crops, such as almonds, want Brown to suspend environmental laws to allow for more pumping in the delta.

2. Some Southern California communities, meanwhile, have failed to conserve water over the past year, the Mercury News$ reports. Palm Springs, for example, is still using 347 gallons of water per person per day — nearly triple the statewide average. Overall, California cities have a long way to go to meet Brown’s mandatory 25 percent rationing order.

3. UC Berkeley seismologist say the risk of a major earthquake in the East Bay is greater than once thought, because they’ve found evidence that the Hayward and Calaveras faults are linked, the Chron reports. The new evidence also means the East Bay is now vulnerable to a bigger quake — one of a magnitude 7.3.

4. A Southern California Democratic legislator is sponsoring a bill that would exempt restaurants from having to pay food servers more than the current $9 minimum wage — if the state raises the wage to $13 an hour, the Sacramento Business Journal$ reports (via Rough & Tumble). The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Daly of Anaheim is sponsored by the California Restaurant Association.

5. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said he plans to push for the termination of officers involved in the department’s racist and homophobic texting scandal, the Chron reports.

6. And Caltrans plans to close the 29th Avenue Overcrossing in Oakland today through October 2016 in order to demolish it and build a new above I-880, the Trib$ reports.