The water molecule is quickly becoming the newest California endangered species with rulings last fall limiting water deliveries to protect Delta smelt and now the latest judicial proclamation that the government has not done enough to protect salmon and steelhead.

The smelt ruling last December that limits pumping based on populations of the minnow in Delta has already reduced the water supply to farmers and cities by 600,000 feet long before the heights of the ag and city water user seasons.

More water will be taken for the salmon and steelhead from the latest ruling, according to water law experts.

This bureaucratic/judicial drought has spawned a host of meetings from the University of California and commodity groups to help growers get by this year with sparse surface water supplies.

The UC’s West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points, Calif. is in the heart of the Westland Water District, the largest federal irrigation project in the nation, and that is where UC is hosting an irrigation management workshop April 24.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. with the first presentation at 8:30.

Westlands is expected to bear the brunt of the bureaucratic fish drought. The meeting next week covering field and row crop irrigation organized by UCCE Farm Advisors Dan Munk, Tom Turini and Shannon Mueller is expected to draw a big crowd to hear:

—Considering Deficit Irrigation In Alfalfa? by Blaine Hanson, UC Cooperative Extension, Davis

—Drip Irrigation Maintenance and Fertilizer Application by Larry Schwankl, UC Cooperative Extension, Parlier

—Irrigating Grain and Silage Corn by Carol Frate, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Tulare County

—Developing and Using Crop Coefficients for Vegetable Crop Irrigation by Jim Ayars, USDA-ARS, Parlier

—Practical Benefits of Irrigation Evaluation Programs by Eric Athorp, Kings River Conservation District, Fresno

—Contrasting Drip and Surface Irrigation Issues by Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension, Five Points

—Cotton ET and Deficit Irrigation Approaches by Dan Munk, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County

—Irrigation and Groundwater Management Using Center Pivots by producer John Diener, Five Points

—California State University Center for Irrigation Technology Irrigation Research Update

Lunch will be followed by a session on Improving Agricultural Pump Efficiency by Bill Green, Center for Irrigation Technology, Fresno. The meeting is free.