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    Jul 22 2014

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    Blog round-up: Groundwater and the public trust doctrine, California style; why the response to drought has been so weak, our thirsty lawns, and more …

    Water Fall altGroundwater and the public trust doctrine, California style: Holly Doremus writes:”If you follow California water law or environmental law, you probably have been aware that the Environmental Law Foundation has been pursuing a public trust claim based on groundwater pumping that affects the Scott River. Last week they gained a victory at the trial court level, with a ruling that endorses the principle that groundwater removals affecting flows in a navigable stream are subject to the public trust doctrine. Appeals are sure to follow, and it’s still a long road to getting the Scott (and other California rivers) flowing more regularly, but this is an important step along that road. (Full disclosure — as you’ll see if you read the decision, fellow Planeteer Rick Frank is on the plaintiffs’ legal team.) ... ”  Continue reading at the Legal Planet here: Groundwater and the public trust doctrine, California style

    ‘Better pay attention to your mail’

    That’s some free legal advice from Delta water attorney Dante Nomellini.

    Nomellini pointed out at a meeting last week that farmers or other water users who fail to respond to curtailment notices could face fines.

    It’s true that the State Water Resources Control Board ultimately decided that senior water rights holders — those whose rights predate 1914, or whose land directly abuts a river — are not subject to emergency rules bypassing the normal curtailment process.

    – See more at: http://blogs.esanjoaquin.com/san-joaquin-river-delta/2014/07/21/better-pay-attention-to-your-mail/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+san-joaquin-river-delta+%28Alex+Breitler%27s+San+Joaquin+Delta%2C+Delta+College+Blog%29#sthash.KQWNuSP4.dpuf

    Why Has the Response to the California Drought Been so Weak? Peter Gleick writes: “In the past few weeks, I have had been asked the same question by reporters, friends, strangers, and even a colleague who posts regularly on this very ScienceBlogs site (the prolific and thoughtful Greg Laden): why, if the California drought is so bad, has the response been so tepid?  There is no single answer to this question (and of course, it presumes (1) that the drought is bad; and (2) the response has been tepid). In many ways, the response is as complicated as California’s water system itself, with widely and wildly diverse sources of water, uses of water, prices and water rights, demands, institutions, and more. But here are some overlapping and relevant answers. ... ”  Read more from Peter Gleick at the Significant Figures blog here: Why Has the Response to the California Drought Been so Weak?

    Our thirsty lawns:  Caitlin Chapelle, Ellen Hanak and Jeff Mount write:  “The unprecedented restrictions on outdoor water use that the state enacted this week send a message that Californians need to conserve more water. But we can do more to move toward sustainable consumption. To help the state get through this drought—which may continue into 2015—and prepare for a future that will include repeated droughts, local agencies should go further to encourage long-term changes in how we use water outdoors.  Outdoor water demands—which account for roughly half of all urban water use—are highest during the hot, dry summer months. Experts regularly cite reductions in landscape watering as “low hanging fruit” during droughts. But, as we’ve learned, it is not enough to just ask people to cut back: during the 2007–2009 drought, outdoor water use did not significantly decline despite repeated calls for conservation. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Drought watch: Our thirsty lawns

    ‘Better pay attention to your mail’:That’s some free legal advice from Delta water attorney Dante Nomellini. Nomellini pointed out at a meeting last week that farmers or other water users who fail to respond to curtailment notices could face fines.  It’s true that the State Water Resources Control Board ultimately decided that senior water rights holders — those whose rights predate 1914, or whose land directly abuts a river — are not subject to emergency rules bypassing the normal curtailment process. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler's blog here:  Better pay attention to your mail

    Watering chickens and feeding cows in a drought: Holly Dawley of Big Bluff Ranch writes: “This year, 2014, is the year that will be remembered by my family for two things. It is the year my son, George, was born. And, it is the year the reservoir did not fill. These two events, although both individually extraordinary, could not be more juxtaposed from tremendous joy to stomach churning apprehension. Well, to be fair, George is a newborn, so apprehension plays a role there, too. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Blog here: California Drought: Watering Chickens and Feeding Cows

    Over Twenty-Five Years Later, How Does the Drought in California Compare?  “In the midst of the California drought and the hot summer months ahead, more data and public information are needed about what to expect and what are our options for action. The Pacific Institute works to give the public and policymakers the ability to access the latest data on the California drought and have been doing so for over 25 years. Recently, two past reports from the Pacific Institute regarding the California drought that occurred in the late 20th century have been released online. Even then, the drought warned that future impacts would be more severe than ever before. For those who have wondered how the current drought compares to those of the past, these are fantastic resources that give insight into previous drought conditions and how California responded. … ”  Continue reading at the Pacific Institute's Insights blog here: Over Twenty-Five Years Later, How Does the Drought in California Compare?

    What Do Lady Gaga and the State Board Have in Common? They Both Want You to Save Water: Tim Quinn writes: “The State Water Resources Control Board took the unprecedented step yesterday of ordering mandatory conservation measures to address California’s deepening drought. Less than 24 hours later, pop star Lady Gaga released a public service announcement urging Californians to save water.  These are extraordinary times, and we need extraordinary measures like these. Asking California’s urban water users to go the extra mile to avoid wasteful practices and conserve water now will help preserve the water reserves we’ll need if this drought continues in 2015. ... ”  Read more from ACWA's Water News here: What Do Lady Gaga and the State Board Have in Common? They Both Want You to Save Water

    El Nino alone can't save us: Tim Johnson at the California Rice blog writes: “Lots of headlines these days include predictions about the impact of El Niño this winter. Some are hopeful it will end the drought. Others seek to dampen expectations. Reading the stories and it seems like it could go either way.  While it is within the human experience to hope for salvation from the skies, the better question is not if El Niño will save the day, but rather if we can muster the discipline to save ourselves. … ”  Read more from the California Rice blog here: El Niño alone can’t save us

    How secret agreements affect Delta exports:  Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service writes: “In 1994, state officials and five of the 29 State Water Project (SWP) contractors met secretly in Monterey, CA, to resolve water shortage issues. The contractors included the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the Kern County Water Agency (KCWA), which together held contracts for about 75 percent of the state's water, and representatives from Paramount Farming, a private agricultural corporation owned by billionaire Stewart Resnick. … ”  Read more from the Public Water News Service blog here:  How secret agreements affect today’s Delta water exports!

    Water Grab in the Foothills? Yes!  The Valley Citizen blog writes: “… Like many Valley citizens, Dr. Kennedy is alarmed at intensive groundwater mining in the foothills of eastern Stanislaus County. His background as an award-winning hydrologist enables him to offer authoritative analysis of the perils brought about by mining groundwater for unsustainable farming practices. Here, in his own words, are Dr. Kennedy’s latest comments on mining groundwater in the foothills.:  Farmers in the foothills have three sources of water: rain (12 to 16 inches per year), groundwater directly below their property (occupies perhaps 15 percent of pore space in the rocks), and underground flow from aquifers underlying adjacent properties, including those having reservoirs or rivers on them. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here: Water Grab in the Foothills? Yes!

    Eating the Colorado River shortage elephant, one bite at a time:This line from a paper a few years back by Edella Schlager and Tanya Heikkila may seem obvious, but in the context of current discussions over the future of Colorado River management, it bears repeating: ‘A water allocation rule that allocates more water than is available in a river is not well matched to its setting.'  Yup. That in a nutshell is the problem highlighted by this oft-revisited Bureau of Reclamation slide demonstrating how the Lower Colorado River Basin’s water budget works. … ”  Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here: Eating the Colorado River shortage elephant, one bite at a time

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    About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet.  Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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