Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Rice farmer Don Bransford walks along a berm in one of his rice fields near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A farmer plows a field in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Irrigated fields near Chico in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Cracked dry earth in the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A crop duster dives over a flooded rice field near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Water bubbles up from a pump flooding a cornfield in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Pelicans wade in the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Rice grows in a watery field on Don Bransford's farm near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A lateral canal flows off the Glenn-Colusa Canal near rice fields and nut orchards near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A lateral canal flows off the Glenn-Colusa Canal near rice fields and nut orchards near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Countless insects swarm along a road near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A dusky sky is reflected in a flooded rice field near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A grain silo is silhouetted against the evening sky near a flooded rice field near the city of Williams in the Sacramento Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A flooded rice field, left, reflects the rising sun alongside the Glenn-Colusa canal in the Sacramento Valley near the city of Williams.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | Aug. 24, 2015

Monday's Pictures in the News begins with the global stock market sell-off,  as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,000 points at the opening as the U.S. stock market...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | October 3, 2014

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in the Southland, where a fall heat wave is scorching the area with triple-digit temperatures and red flag warnings. Hong Kong: Screaming...   View Post»

   

56th Grammy Awards | Jan. 26, 2014

56th Grammy Awards | Jan. 26, 2014

Framework is proud to present a glimpse of the excitement, the anticipation, the fashions and the winners at the 56th Grammy Awards, as documented by the photojournalists of the...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | February 11, 2013

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in Italy, where Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Roman Catholic world on Monday by saying he would resign on Feb. 28 after less than eight...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | Nov. 27, 2012

In Tuesday's Pictures in the News, The Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait inspects the troops with Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle during...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Southern California Moments Profiles: Rinzi Ruiz

Rinzi Ruiz is a painter of light. As I walked around with him in his stomping grounds in downtown L.A., the 35-year-old street photographer is constantly watching the sun, the...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | May 22, 2012

In Tuesday's Pictures in the News: SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket streaks into the sky behind a model of NASA's space shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center, heading for a rendezvous...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | June 16, 2011

Guests attend the annual White Dinner in Paris against a backdrop of the famed Notre Dame Cathedral at dusk; restoration work on St. Paul's Cathedral in  London is finally...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Pictures in the News | April 20, 2011

We begin Wednesday's Pictures in the News feature in Louisiana, where it was one year ago today that an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11...   View Post»

   

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

The Week in Pictures | Nov. 29 - Dec. 3, 2010

Each week we bring you the best images from around the world, and this week is no exception. Europe's deep-freeze provided an assortment of images, including motorists...   View Post»

Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today’s crises

A shallow inland sea spreads across more than 160 square miles, speckled with egrets poking for crayfish among jewel-green rice shoots.

The flooded fields could be mistaken for the rice paddies of Vietnam or southern China, but this is Northern California at the onset of severe drought.

The scene is a testament to the inequities of California’s system of water rights, a hierarchy of haves as old as the state.

Thanks to seniority, powerful Central Valley irrigation districts that most Californians have never heard of are at the head of the line for vast amounts of water, even at the expense of the environment and the rest of the state.

The delta’s native fish are hovering on the brink of extinction. Its waters are tainted by farm and urban runoff and infested with invasive species. Most problematic, biologists say, is the chronic shortage of what defines the delta: fresh water.

Year in and year out, so much is diverted by farms and cities upstream in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins and pumped from the delta itself that the average volume of flows out to San Francisco Bay is about half what it once was.

2 Comments

  1. March 24, 2014, 11:23 am

    What, are you nuts you better take a trip and have a look at the area you write about. Someone has filled your head with garbage, sad part is you sat and listened and soaked like a sponge. Your wrong with what you write and the L.A. basin takes more of the water then we use here in the north.

    By: fmhunt@comcast.net
  2. March 24, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Why does California still furrow irrigate? Why are segments of irrigation ditches remain unlined? Why doesn't agricultural irrigation systems have a stronger water loss control program? Water practices suggest there isn't any drought.

    By: barrybws

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published