Everyone Loses In This Python vs. Porcupine Battle


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Everyone Loses In This Python vs. Porcupine Battle

PYTHON1

The life of a python in South Africa came to a thorny end last week.

A mountain biker at the Lake Eland Game Reserve in a coastal part of KwaZulu-Natal province reportedly spotted the snake with a full belly on June 14. Last Saturday, the snake — of which there are some graphic photos below — was found dead not far from the original sighting.

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Experts at the game preserve autopsied the python and discovered a 32-inch, 30-pound porcupine inside of it.

While a snake swallowing a spiky porcupine whole may sounds like a classic case of mutually assured destruction, it’s actually not that uncommon.

“The porcupine did not injure the snake at all and eating the porcupine should not have caused the snake to die,” Lake Eland Game Reserve general manager Jennifer Fuller told The Huffington Post in an email. “The real cause of death is unknown.”

She said the stress from human interaction may have prompted the snake to try to regurgitate the porcupine but it got stuck.

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Fuller said the snake fell off a rocky ledge, according to The Telegraph, but it was unclear if the snake was already dead when it did or if the fall caused some of the quills to puncture its digestive tract.

US Falls in World Happiness Rankings


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US Falls in World Happiness Rankings

Panama tops the rankings of the world’s happiest countries for the second year in a row, according to a new report.

In 2014, people living in the Central American country known for it’s man-made canal scored the highest on a yearly survey of global well-being created by Gallup-Healthways. In contrast, Afghanistan scored the lowest out of the 145 ranked countries.

In the sur

vey, researchers asked more than 146,000 people all over the world questions about five aspects of their well-being: their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial situations, community involvement and physical health. Based on their responses, participants were considered “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” in each of those five aspects.

 

 

Texas flooding


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Texas flooding

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture

Major rainfall over the past few days has caused severe flooding and property damage in parts of Texas. Houston received more than 10 inches of rain overnight, which closed highways, shut schools, and suspended public transportation. Authorities have reported 11 people killed from the recent storms that hit both Texas and Oklahoma with others still missing.–By Lloyd Young
San Marcos firefighter Jay Horton rescues a woman from in flood waters in San Marcos on May 24. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday likened the ferocity of flash flooding that killed at least three people to a tsunami, and authorities said a dam had given way in a state park. (Don Anders/Reuters)
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Motorists are stranded along I-45 along North Main in Houston after storms flooded the area on May 26. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via Associated Press)
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Carlos and Candy Cortez, comfort each other in the Redbird Aviation Terminal in San Marcos, Texas, on May 24 after they, their three children and one of their dogs were rescued from the roof of their San Marcos home by an Army helicopter after the Blanco River flooded. Their son A.J. Cortez, 6, lies on the couch next to them. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the US Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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The water line is clear on Ruth Hansen’s living room wall on May 24 in San Marcos, Texas. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the US Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Nell Carroll/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Janie Bell helps her neighbors search for possessions after their vacation home was destroyed in a flash flood along the Blanco River on May 25 in Wimberley, Texas. Several people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Edwin Acosta, 10, plays on a trampoline as the rising waters from Mountain Creek surround his family’s home in the Willow Bend mobile home park on May 24 in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Dallas/Forth Worth received more than three inches of rain since midnight, with more reportedly on the way. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning via Associated Press)
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Volunteers walk up from the Blanco River and past flood debris as they help clean-up on May 26 in Wimberley, Texas. Recovery teams were searching as many as 12 members of two families who are missing after a rain-swollen river in Central Texas carried a vacation home off its foundation, slamming it into a bridge downstream. The hunt for the missing picked up after a holiday weekend of terrible storms that dumped record rainfall on the Plains and Midwest, caused major flooding and spawned tornadoes and killed at least eight people in Oklahoma and Texas. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
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A Dyess Air Force Base airman helps a woman and her child towards the office of the Texas State Veterans Cemetery before the beginning of a Memorial Day commemoration on May 25 in Abilene, Texas. (Nellie Doneva/The Abilene Reporter-News via Associated Press)
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Rescue personnel grab the the hand of a man stranded in rushing water at the northwest corner of Lamar Blvd. and 15th St. in Austin, Texas. Shoal Creek overflowed its banks and inundated the major traffic artery with rushing water. Several cars were stalled under and near the 15th St. bridge on May 25. (Alberto Martinez/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Ben Sioberman works to get water out of the flooded Whole Earth Provisions Company on Lamar Street after days of heavy rain on May 25 in Austin. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
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From left, Mark Norris, Retha Norris, Ally Smith, 4, and Christina Norris, are rescued by firefighters after they clung in a tree at their home on South Old Stagecoach Drive in Kyle, Texas during a flood on May 24. (Jay Janner/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Shelly Guzal (left), and her son, Grant, stand by the Blanco River by where an A-frame house owned by the Carey family once stood in Wimberley, Texas, on May 25. Corpus Christi resident Jonathan McComb and his family were guests in the house when it was swept away by floodwaters Saturday night. McComb was able to escape but his wife, Laura, and their children, Leighton, 4 and Andrew, 6, are missing. (Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News via EPA)
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With downtown Dallas in view, water from the Trinity River floods the area below the Sylvan Avenue bridge on May 25. Several people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press)
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Debi Welsh, of Corpus Christi, Texas, picks up a lamp as family and friends clean up what’s left after their home was washed away by a record flood in Wimberley on May 25. (Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News via EPA)
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Murphy Canning plays near a street that remains underwater from days of heavy rain on May 25 in Austin. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott toured the damage zone where one person is confirmed dead and at least 12 others missing in flooding along the Rio Blanco, which reports say rose as much as 40 feet in places, caused by more than 10 inches of rain over a four-day period. The governor earlier declared a state of emergency in 24 Texas counties. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
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David Lopez waits to cross the street as rain falls on May 25 in Austin. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
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Joel Venable examines the remains of a friend’s vacation home that was swept down the swollen Blanco River on May 26 in Wimberley, Texas. Authorities say recovery teams will resume looking for as many as a dozen missing people, in an area where punishing rains have destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 homes and killed at least three people statewide this weekend. (Eric Gay/Associated Press)
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A vehicle left stranded on a flooded Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive ammounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches(27.9cm) in some parts of the state, national forecasters reported, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state’s already saturated soil. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
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Mike Graf stands on the foundation of his home near Wimberley on Stone Canyon Street after it was completely swept away by the Blanco River in the flood on May 24. “It’s only things,” he said. “At least nobody was hurt.” (Jay Janner/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Nayeli Cervantes carries her friend’s daughter Sophia Aviles through the floodwaters outside their apartment in Houston on May 26. Heavy rain overnight cause some major highways to be closed in the Houston area. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)
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Don Simons (left) and Clint Followel, volunteers from the First Baptist Church in San Marcos, Texas, help clean Toby McLroy’s flood damaged home in San Marcos, Texas, on May 26. Torrential rains have killed at least eight people in Texas and Oklahoma, including two in Houston where flooding turned streets into rivers and led to nearly 1,000 calls for help in the fourth-most populous US city, officials said on Tuesday. (Tamir Kalifa/Reuters)
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Andrea Jones helps remove a downed tree on River Road on May 25 in Wimberley, Texas. Around a dozen people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via Assoctiated Press)
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A cross sits at water-level of the still flooding Blanco River on May 26 in Wimberley, Texas. Recovery teams were searching for as many as 12 members of two families who are missing after the rain-swollen river in Central Texas carried a vacation home off its foundation, slamming it into a bridge downstream. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
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A home on the Blanco River was taken off its foundation after heavy overnight rain caused flash flooding in Wimberley, Texas, on May 24. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the US Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Statesman.com via Associad Press)
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Keith McNabb looks at the damage to his friend Mike Cook’s house on Stone Canyon Street on the banks of the Blanco River near Wimberley, Texas on May 24. (Jay Janner/Statesman.com via Associad Press)
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A person stands near the creek between the 17th and 18th fairways before the start of the final round of the Colonial golf tournament on May 24 in Fort Worth, Texas. Heavy rain in north Texas has delayed the start of the final day of the tournament. (Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning via Associated Press)
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A shopping center located at Texas 80 near I-35 has high water in the parking lots from the Blanco River flooding in San Marcos, Texas, on May 24. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Hudson Doty, 18, (left) and Grant Guzal, 17, right, stand overlooking the Blanco River near the cement stilts of the Carey family home (far left) in Wimberley, Texas, on May 25. The Carey and McComb family, from Corpus Christi, Texas, have been missing since early Sunday morning after their home was swept away by the Blanco River in a flash flood. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Statesman.com via Associated Press)
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Melinda Ellisor looks for clothing to give to a family of flood victims at Wimberley High School on May 26 in Wimberley, Texas. Faculty and volunteers gathered at the school to organize flood relief supplies. Central Texas has been hit with severe weather including catastrophic flooding and tornadoes over the past several days. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
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Left to right, Dustin McClintock, 19, of Wimberley,, Brandon Bankston, 18, of Blanco, Hesston Krause, 22, of Smithson Valley, look at the Fischer Store Road bridge over the Blanco River near Wimberley, Texas, which was destroyed in a flood on May 24. (Jay Janner/Statesman.com via Associated Press)

Bird Strike Does Disturbing Damage To The Nose Of A 737


Post 6826

George Dvorsky

http://io9.com/bird-strike-does-disturbing-damage-to-the-nose-of-a-737-1703062851

Bird Strike Does Disturbing Damage To The Nose Of A 737

Bird Strike Does Disturbing Damage To The Nose Of A 737

Looking at the caved-in nose of this Boeing 737-800, you’d think it flew into a flying water buffalo. But the damage was caused by a single bird — a potent reminder of what can happen when objects collide at high speed.

The incident occurred earlier this week during Turkish Airlines flight TK2004 from Istanbul to Nevşehir. The bird struck the plane as it was landing, but the pilot managed to land without incident. None of the 125 passengers were injured.

 

As a Turkish Airlines spokesperson told Mashable, this sort of damage is not uncommon:

The nose cone “of a plane is being constructed by soft materials (composit) to minimalize the impact of such hits. Therefore, such standard/normal deformation occurs as a natural result of such incidents,” Dr. Ali Genc, Turkish Airlines senior vice president of media relations, said in an emailed statement.

“The critical bird hits in aviation [are] the ones that occur on the engine area,” Genc said. “Any other area of the aircraft than the engine area, such as [the nose cone], wings, hull and etc. are not [at] risk by bird hit.”

Bird strikes are indeed dangerous when they hit the engine area, as witnessed by the 2009 incident when US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River off Manhattan.

Female Afghan ‘Top Gun’ soars above gender barrier


Pre History Green Axe Stone

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Female Afghan ‘Top Gun’ soars above gender barrier

“Ever since I was a child, when I saw a bird in the sky, I wanted to fly a plane,” Afghanistan’s first female pilot Niloofar Rahmani tells AFP (AFP Photo/Shah Marai)

With a hint of swagger, Afghanistan’s first female pilot since the fall of the Taliban is defying death threats and archaic gender norms to infiltrate what is almost entirely a male preserve.

 Dressed in khaki overalls, aviator shades and a black headscarf, 23-year-old Niloofar Rahmani cuts a striking presence as she struts across the tarmac at the Kabul Air Force base, which is otherwise devoid of women.

“Ever since I was a child, when I saw a bird in the sky, I wanted to fly a plane,” she told AFP at the base, hemmed in by rolling dun-coloured hills.

“Many girls in Afghanistan have dreams… but a number of problems, threats stand in the way.”

Rahmani, who grew up in Kabul, enlisted for an air force training programme in 2010 and kept it secret from her relatives who believe a woman does not belong outside the home.

Two years later she became the first female fixed-wing aviator in Afghanistan’s history and the country’s first woman pilot since the ouster of the Taliban regime.

The once-unimaginable feat recently won her the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award –- and earned her the sobriquet “Afghan Top Gun” on social media, after the 1986 Tom Cruise film about flying aces in the US Navy.

It is believed there were female Afghan pilots during the pre-Taliban Communist era, but details are scant.

Nearly 14 years since the Taliban government was toppled in a US-led invasion, Afghan women have taken giant strides of progress, with female lawmakers and security personnel now commonplace.

That marks a sea change in women’s rights, as previously women weren’t allowed to leave their homes without a male chaperone and were brutally consigned to the shadows.

But gender parity still remains a distant dream as conservative attitudes prevail.

Rahmani has received threatening calls and letters purportedly from the Taliban, warning her to quit.

The threats grew so menacing in 2013 that she was forced to leave the country for two months.

“They threatened to hurt me and my family,” she said over the roar of military transport planes.

“My only choice was to be strong and ignore them.”

Rahmani always carries a pistol for her protection and though she has grown accustomed to the ogling eyes of men, she never leaves the base in uniform, lest it make her a target.

– ‘I have hope’ –

“Simple things like walking in the streets, going shopping is no longer possible. My freedom has all gone,” she said.

But more than physical threats, it is pervasive conservatism that hurts the most, with Afghanistan stuck in what many deride as a medieval time warp.

Rahmani says she was heartbroken when a mob in Kabul savagely lynched a young woman called Farkhunda last month after an amulet seller, whom she had castigated, falsely accused her of burning the Koran.

“Animals don’t do this to other animals,” she said of the daylight murder which sparked nationwide protests.

“This wasn’t done by the Taliban. These were ordinary people, the young Afghan generation.”

Rahmani also recalled a flight mission when she defied orders from a superior who stopped her from airlifting wounded soldiers in a restive southern province.

Women are traditionally forbidden from transporting the dead or wounded in Afghanistan as “many believe that females have a small heart and are too emotional,” Rahmani said.

Upon completing the task, “I told my commander, ‘punish me if you think I did anything wrong’,” she recalled.

“He smiled and said: ‘you did good’.”

In order to be treated on a par with her male colleagues, Rahmani says she can’t afford to display jangled nerves.

“I have to be tough — so tough, showing no emotion,” she said.

But while Rahmani is pushing at the boundaries of change, she is cautious not to disrespect cultural norms in a country known for its strict gender segregation.

One recent morning, when a male colleague at the base reached out to shake her hand, she declined.

“Why not?” he said, disappointed.

Rahmani smiled politely and later told AFP she didn’t want to send out the wrong signal.

In conservative Afghanistan, even a simple gesture such as a handshake between men and women can sometimes be interpreted as a sign of bad character.

Rahmani is only one of three Afghan women who have trained to become pilots since the 2001 invasion, and one of them has since quit the air force.

When asked how long it would be before the air force has an equal number of men and women pilots, she was forthright.

“Not anytime soon. Maybe 20 or 30 years,” she said.

Woman Finds 3.69-Carat White Diamond at Arkansas State Park, Names It ‘Hallelujah Diamond’


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Woman Finds 3.69-Carat White Diamond at Arkansas State Park, Names It ‘Hallelujah Diamond’

Good Morning America

https://gma.yahoo.com/woman-finds-3-69-carat-white-diamond-arkansas-121328920.html

Susie Clark and her husband spent days hunting diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and on the last day she said a prayer.

“Are you going to bless me and let me find a diamond today?” Clark, from Evening Shade, Arkansas, prayed, according to a park news release.

Her prayer was answered shortly after with a 3.69-carat white diamond, which she saw “sticking out of a furrow ridge in the plowed dirt,” the release said.

Arkansasstateparks.com

Clark has named the teardrop-shaped rock “the Hallelujah Diamond” because it was an answer to her prayer, the release said.

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox described the stone as frosted white with a pearlescent shine.

Oklahoma Teenager Finds 3.85-Carat Canary Diamond

Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond in Park, Doesn’t Plan to Keep It

According to the park, Clark’s find is the largest of this year, though other park-goers have found 121 other diamonds. A visitor found a 6.19-carat white diamond — named the Limitless Diamond — on April 16, 2014. Other diamonds of note found by the park’s visitors include a 16.37-carat white diamond and a 3.85-carat canary diamond.

Arkansasstateparks.com

Clark had first visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park 33 years ago with her mother and grandmother from Germany. ABC News could not reach Clark for comment, but the release said that she plans to keep the diamond.

According to Cox, rainfall in recent weeks, combined with park staffers’ plowing the 37.5-acre search field — eroded the surface of a diamond-bearing deposit, helping to bring more of the stones to the surface and increasing visitors’ chances of finding them.

“Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, and they lack static electricity, so rainfall slides the dirt off diamonds that are on the surface of the search area, leaving them exposed. And when the sun comes out, they’ll sparkle and be noticed,” he said in the release.

Crater of Diamonds is the world’s only diamond-producing site that is open to the public, according to the park. Visitors who find diamonds are allowed to keep them.

California delta’s water mysteriously missing amid drought


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California delta’s water mysteriously missing amid drought

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — As California struggles with a devastating drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and the prime suspects are farmers whose families have tilled fertile soil there for generations.

 In this photo taken Friday March 27, 2015, farmer Rudy Mussi poses at one of his pumps that draws water from a slough to irrigate his farm land in the...
In this photo taken Friday March 27, 2015, farmer Rudy Mussi poses at one of his pumps that draws water from a slough to irrigate his farm land in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta near Stockton, Calif. As California enters the fourth year of drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and farmers whose families for generations have tilled fertile soil there are the prime suspects. Delta farmers deny they are stealing water, still, they have been asked to report how much water they’re pumping and to prove their legal right. Mussi says he has senior water rights in a system more than a century old that puts him in line ahead of those with lower ranking, or junior, water rights.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

A state investigation was launched following complaints from two large agencies that supply water to arid farmland in the Central Valley and to millions of residents as far south as San Diego.

Delta farmers don’t deny using as much water as they need. But they say they’re not stealing it because their history of living at the water’s edge gives them that right. Still, they have been asked to report how much water they’re pumping and to prove their legal rights to it.

At issue is California’s century-old water rights system that has been based on self-reporting and little oversight, historically giving senior water rights holders the ability to use as much water as they need, even in drought. Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if drought continues this system built into California’s legal framework will probably need to be examined.

Delta farmer Rudy Mussi says he has senior water rights, putting him in line ahead of those with lower ranking, or junior, water rights.

“If there’s surplus water, hey, I don’t mind sharing it,” Mussi said. “I don’t want anybody with junior water rights leapfrogging my senior water rights just because they have more money and more political clout.”

The fight pitting farmer against farmer is playing out in the Delta, the hub of the state’s water system. With no indication of the drought easing, heightened attention is being placed on dwindling water throughout the state, which produces nearly half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S.

A large inland estuary east of San Francisco, the Delta is fed by rivers of freshwater flowing down from the Sierra Nevada and northern mountain ranges. Located at sea level, it consists of large tracts of farmland separated by rivers that are subject to tidal ebbs and flows.

Most of the freshwater washes out to the Pacific Ocean through the San Francisco Bay. Some is pumped — or diverted — by Delta farmers to irrigate their crops, and some is sent south though canals to Central Valley farmers and to 25 million people statewide.

The drought now in its fourth year has put Delta water under close scrutiny. Twice last year state officials feared salty bay water was backing up into the Delta, threatening water quality. There was not enough fresh water to keep out saltwater.

In June, the state released water stored for farmers and communities from Lake Oroville to combat the saltwater intrusion.

Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources, said “thousands of acre-feet of water a day for a couple of weeks” were released into the Delta. An acre-foot is roughly enough water to supply a household of four for a year.

The fact that the state had to resort to using so much from storage raised questions about where the water was going. That in turn prompted a joint letter by the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation calling for an investigation into how much water Delta farmers are taking — and whether the amount exceeds their rights to it.

“We don’t know if there were illegal diversions going on at this time,” said Vogel, leaving it up to officials at the State Water Resources Control Board to determine. “Right now, a large information gap exists.”

Some 450 farmers who hold 1,061 water rights in the Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds were told to report their water diversions, and Katherine Mrowka, state water board enforcement manager, said a vast majority responded.

State officials are sorting through the information that will help them determine whether any are exceeding their water rights and who should be subject to restrictions.

“In this drought period, water accounting is more important to ensure that the water is being used for its intended purpose,” said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Louis Moore.

Mussi, a second-generation Delta farmer whose family grows tomatoes, wheat, corn, grapes and almonds on 4,500 acres west of Stockton, said Central Valley farmers have long known that in dry years they would get little or no water from state and federal water projects and would need to rely heavily on groundwater.

“All of a sudden they’re trying to turn their water into a permanent system and ours temporary,” Mussi said. “It’s just not going to work.”

Shawn Coburn farms 1,500 acres along the San Joaquin River in Firebaugh about 100 miles south of the Delta. As a senior rights holder, he figures he will receive 45 percent or less of the water he expected from the federal water project. On another 1,500 acres where he is a junior water rights holder, he will receive no surface water for a second consecutive year.

“I don’t like to pick on other farmers, even if it wasn’t a drought year,” said Coburn. “The only difference is I don’t have a pipe in the Delta I can suck willy-nilly whenever I want.”

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