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    Dec 10 2013

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    Blog round-up: Bloggers on the BDCP, Mono Lake campaign, San Joaquin River restoration, climate change conspiracies, and just how much water do those SoCal swimming pools use?

    "Water Double Shot"

    “Water Double Shot”

    From the watersheds of the north to the swimming pools in the south, this week's blog round-up covers the state, and of course the Bay Delta Conservation Plan too, so let's start first with bloggers on the BDCP …

    Restore the Delta says agri-business gets the water, urban ratepayers get the bill:  “Restore the Delta (RTD) today released water export tracking tables showing that urban users get just 31% of the water, while huge agribusiness in the Westlands, Kern and other districts get 35% of water exports. The tables show a ten-year-average of the amount of water exported from the Delta to water agencies south of the Delta pumps. “Urban water rate payers in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District are being asked to pay for a significant portion of the proposed peripheral tunnels, as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, without receiving any additional water,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “Yet, these urban agencies receive a smaller percentage of Delta exports (30.8%) than the big agribusiness growers found in the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water Agency (34.5%). It’s time to stop forcing the rest of us to subsidize unsustainable agriculture. … ” Continue reading from Restore the Delta here:  Water Tunnels Opponents Release Charts: Urban Ratepayers Get the Higher Bill, Huge Agribusiness Gets More Water

    North State leaders remain committed statewide water solutions, says the NorCal Water Association blog:  ” … The North State Water Alliance this week continues our call for the Governor to develop an innovative and comprehensive statewide water plan. This plan must not exclusively focus on new infrastructure in the Bay-Delta and related restoration actions, however much as those elements may be needed, but must also meet the Legislature’s overarching goal of providing a more reliable water supply for all of California. As the North State Water Alliance and its local entities evaluate the BDCP and related environmental documents, we will measure the BDCP against four policy pillars to determine whether it will affect the ability for water resources managers to assure sustainable water supplies for the economy and environment within the North State-both now and for the next 50 years. … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Alliance here:  The BDCP and the Further Need for Statewide Water Solutions

    BDCP not realistic, says the Fish Sniffer:  Dan Bacher writes:  “Dennis McEwan's opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/01/5957581/the-delta-the-plumbing-and-rectifying.html) glorifying the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels is a classic example of the triumph of political science over natural science that characterizes the agency that he works for, the Department of Water Resources (DWR).  Nowhere in this piece does the DWR biologist mention that federal agency scientists skewered the BDCP's draft environmental documents – and have repeatedly said that the plan's implementation may hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other species.  … ”  Read more from the Fish Sniffer here:  Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not the ‘most realistic plan’

    Mark Gold sees possibilities in the BDCP:  There are a few concerns to be addressed, he notes:  ” … Most notably, in a state that has lost its appetite for large environmental bonds and water and energy rate increases (call it a major recession hangover), the BDCP could cause the public to lose their appetite to pay for essential local, sustainable water projects. If Metropolitan Water District and LA Department of Water and Power rates go up substantially to pay for the tunnels, will ratepayers also support rate increases for water recycling, groundwater remediation, and stormwater capture at the local level?  That's asking a lot. But if the state takes an aggressive leadership approach on recycled water, conservation, groundwater management, and stormwater capture, and bundles this local approach with the BDCP and the new state water plan, then maybe the public would support a comprehensive water reform package that provides benefits for everyone in California and begins to provide the resiliency we need to cope with climate change. ... ”  Read more from Mark Gold at LA Observed here: A crucial week for water in California

    Napa County stands up for the Delta:  The Friends of the SF Estuary want you to note:  “Napa County has taken a stand on behalf of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, and planning processes underway in Sacramento should take notice.  In October, the Napa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for increasing fresh water flows to the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Supervisor Mark Luce, who introduced the resolution, said, “Napa County is committed to the conservation of sensitive resources and has been at the forefront of providing for the conservation of natural resources including surface and ground water, soils, fisheries, wildlife, important plant species, and habitats.” … ”  Read more from the Friends of the SF Estuary here:  Napa County speaks up for the estuary

    BDCP Propaganda is always changing, says Burt Wilson:  ” … To those of us who have been following this fiasco since 2006, we have to smile at the fact that for the first four years of its existence, the BDCP was all about conveyance. Not a word about conservation or the development of areas in which habitat was to be restored. Finally, after the twin tunnels were accepted as the conveyance system, the BDCP went to work hiring a plethora of science people to fill in what was lacking. … ” Read more from Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service here:  BDCP propaganda changes

    And bloggers on everything else …

    So just how much water DO those oft-mentioned Southern California swimming pools use?  Peter Gleick works it all out at the Significant Figures blog:  “Water policy and water problems always seem to be someone else’s responsibility. Those farmers who use all the water; the guy down the street who lets his sprinklers run all over the sidewalk; the Central Valley cities that don’t even have water meters; the environmentalists who are demanding water for some inconsequential fish we can’t even eat; those swimming pool owners in hot Los Angeles. The reality, of course, is that water problems belong to all of us. … Just recently, however, an interesting piece of information became available that let me actually calculate something I’ve always wondered. How much water do those Los Angeles pools actually contain, and how much is lost every year to evaporation? Could we solve California’s water problems if we just addressed the “swimming pool” problem? … ”  Read more from Peter Gleick at the Significant Figures blog here: Water Policy: What about All Those Swimming Pools in Los Angeles?

    Why did the Mono Lake campaign succeed?  Johnathon Zasloff at the Legal Planet blog explores:  “Environmentalists celebrate the campaign to save Mono Lake as one the iconic triumphs in US environmental history.  As well they should.  But why did it succeed?  It’s a critical question not just for environmentalists, but for any scholar or member of social movements. In a previous post, I have suggested that the identity of the adversary — in this case — the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power — serves as a key variable.  Arrogant and reactionary, LADWP could unify just about everyone against, and very few in favor of it — even water customers from the City of Los Angeles.  But while that is a plausible hypothesis, I had never really developed a way to test it. But some light has emerged, from a relatively unlikely source: Marshall Ganz’ wonderful book … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  Why Did the Mono Lake Campaign Succeed?

    Prominent environmentalist says take Sac Valley water and send it south, says Bruce Ross:  The editor of Redding's Record Searchlight writes: “This piece from the Natural Resources Defense Council is really quite astonishing. The NRDC's Kate Poole, riffing on a recent L.A. Daily News editorial complaining that the state's water laws unfair to L.A. residents, takes the Southland newspaper's call to overhaul “ancient and unfair water rules” a step further. In a nutshell, she argues that Sacramento Valley water rights should just be abrogated so that Westlands Water District can have more. No, really. … ”  Read more from Bruce Ross's blog here:  Leading enviros: Take Sac Valley’s water, send it south

    San Joaquin River restoration a big lie, says Families Protecting the Valley:  “On November 9th of this year, a SalmonFest was held in Fresno by the organizations expousing the San Joaquin River Restoration program (see here).  The primary sponsors behind this event are the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) headquartered in New York, with California offices in San Francisco and Santa Monica, and Trout Unlimited headquartered in Arlington, Virginia with a California office in Berkeley.  As usual, a few locals are trotted out to give the appearance of local support. ”  Continue reading from Families Protecting the Valley here:  The Great Lie!

    Users should pay for watershed work, says Bruce Ross:  “I caught up with Assemblyman Brian Dahle for a few minutes by phone today while he was on his way to yet another water meeting. He stressed that he agreed with my thoughts yesterday that a bond is actually not a particularly good way to pay for forest restoration, but that he'll take whatever opportunity he can to keep the issue in the political conversation. (As for the bond itself, he argues for more water storage: “If storage isn't in, then I'm out.”)  He thinks we should cut bigger logs and pay for thinning that way. And in some cases that could work. But if you need a steady source of income to do work for a watershed, why not just ask the people who use the water. One small city in New Mexico has actually found a remarkable way to do that. … ”  Read more here:  Why can’t water users pay for watershed work?

    If the Calaveras River could speak … : Alex Breitler writes about a local man's watch over a portion of the Calaveras River:  “Marsh has spent the past year regularly visiting a 3-acre portion of the Calaveras where native grasses were planted last winter in a modest effort to restore the glorified drainage ditch. During his weekly visits, Marsh does what most of us would never think to do along that stream. He opens his eyes. There isn’t much to see yet in the restoration area, or so it would seem, but Marsh has found surprising beauty even in the smallest insects and flowers found at the site. He also listens to the ambient noise — the wind, the birds, the bustle of the surrounding city. His observations are written down in a journal. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler here: If the Calaveras River could talk…

    Climate change ‘conspiracies':  “Some members of Congress — not to mention any number of bloggers — think climate change is a hoax.  Most famously, Senator Inhofe has said: “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising — conspiracy theories in general have a degree of perennial popularity.  But even if you’re a person who believes in conspiracy theories, you shouldn’t believe in this one.  It is much more likely that 9/11 was deliberately allowed by the government, Elvis is still alive, and the moon  landing was faked. … ”  Read more from Dan Farber at the Legal Planet blog here:  Conspiracy!

    The Mono Lake Committee raps for more snow: Snow Man, I’m not sure if you’re really there / But on the off chance you are, well, you’re being quite spare / In fact, to be blunt, it just isn’t fair / That we’re slaving away while the mountains stay bare. / We MLC staff, see, we love Mono Lake / And we want it to rise, for we all have a stake /
    In a healthy living lake with water enough / That the brine shrimp can live and the birds can stuff / Their bellies on fresh food that keeps them well / And allows them to migrate to the places they dwell. … ” Continue the beat at the Mono-Logue here:  An appeal for more snow

    And lastly … WIRED Magazine has a gallery of the best images of earth from space that is a feast for your eyeballs:  These Are Some of the Year’s Best Images of Earth From Space

    Photo credit:  “Water Double Shot” by flickr photographer Leon Dafonte Fernandez

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