Readers' views for Oct. 15, 2010
'Bio-beets' really just GMOs
It would be nice to see that Capital Press is a little bit more honest and correct in its articles about beets. Calling them "bio-beets," especially in the headlines, in the last three articles, gives the wrong impression. You should be using GMO beets because that is what they are! Your use of "bio" is rather like the food industry labeling their processed foods as "natural" in an attempt to confuse people who may think that means organic. And are absolutely none of those "stecklings" ever going to go to seed and produce some GMO seed?
And by the way, the word "steckling" is not found in the newest American Heritage dictionary, nor is it found in the dictionary in our computer ... but a quick search with Google finds that in Wikipedia, steckling is a German word with its description all in German. Perhaps we should all be able to read German! Why not just say cuttings? You newspaper people are wordsmiths, so why not use words everyone understands especially in headlines?
Potential savings misrepresented
A report that identifies a million acre-feet of new water in California agriculture has received poor reviews for misstating potential savings and using the wrong numbers in creating newfound water.
"California's Next Million Acre-Feet: Saving Water, Energy and Money" by the Pacific Institute exaggerates agricultural water conservation potential with their solution toward resolving California's water problems.
1. The report references 60 percent efficiency for flood irrigation; yet, in a report last year by this same group they pegged that number at 73 percent. Institute President Peter Gleick attempted to explain this away by claiming this year's 60 percent number was intended to represent urban flood irrigation efficiency but the source document cited in their report is a 21-year-old agricultural irrigation publication.
2. Regulated deficit irrigation estimates are controversial because university researchers don't agree how much potential actually exists. The institute used the maximum potential for acreage referenced in their report.
3. On-farm water use efficiency potential doesn't account for projected costs that could be incurred by irrigation districts to accommodate on-farm irrigation system upgrades. That could easily double their acre-foot cost estimate.
4. The report misrepresents the potential water supply from a planned Sites Reservoir and fails to acknowledge that part of their missing water would be used for environmental purposes during months when it is needed. Sites Reservoir offers a lot of water for improved environmental purposes, such as summer and fall fish flows and improved Delta water quality. The institute didn't mention that.
Increased water conservation is an important part of California's future -- on the farm, in homes and at work. Using the right tools is necessary if we are to achieve that goal. This report does not move us toward that goal.
Mike Wade, executive director
California Farm Water Coalition