Blog roundup: Jobs and the BDCP, Delta smelt take limits, Delta realities, drought and more!

Happy Monday!  Here’s what the blogs have been chattering about lately:

Jobs and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan:  Over at the BDCP blog, Karla Nemeth writes that an analysis by natural resource economist David Sunding of the University of California Berkeley determined that jobs created in habitat restoration work would more than offset the loss of agricultural jobs for a net gain of 15,000 jobs.  ” … Job creation is not the primary purpose of BDCP. And employment impacts are certainly only one metric by which to understand the potential effects statewide and on the local Delta economy. In addition to evaluating overall impacts to Delta agriculture in the BDCP’s Environmental Impact Report/Statement, the Department of Water Resources is developing potential strategies to help support the Delta’s overall agricultural economy. DWR recently vetted ideas such as improvements to water quality and reliability for Delta agriculture, and the incorporation of recreation, agritourism, and ecotourism into restoration efforts at the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy. Additional work is underway. … ”  Read more from the BDCP blog here:  Understanding the Potential for Restoration Jobs in the Delta

It’s really 136,000 jobs, blogs Charles Wilson:  While Karla Nemeth’s post talked more of restoration jobs, Charles Wilson of the Southern California Water Committee counts them in: ” … The biggest boon to employment though is from the actual construction of the tunnels. The construction, design and materials manufacturing sectors would all directly benefit from the jobs generated by the tunnel construction. Over seven and half years the construction of the tunnels would create 110,000 jobs. Operation and maintenance of the tunnels would add on another 11,000 jobs. The majority of these construction, operation and maintenance jobs would be located in the Delta region as well. … ”  Read more from the Southern California Water Committee here: Delta Tunnel Construction and Habitat Restoration Would Create 136,000 New Jobs

136,000 jobs?  No way, says the opposition:  Alex Breitler blogs about an email he received from some one critical of the study, who wrote:  “A total of 56,307 people were involved in building the Panama Canal during its 14 year construction period,” he writes. “Around 12,000 were from Europe, 31,000 were from the West Indies and 11,000 were from the United States. The rest were of unknown origin.” Another example? The Transcontinental Railroad required only 30,000 workers, he writes. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler here:  Not buying it

Creating jobs is easy when you have money, says David Zetland over at the Aguanomics blog:  ” … First, jobs are COSTS, not benefits. Give me $1million and I could create twenty $50,000 jobs for stoners who would play video games. ... ”  and do farmers really want to do restoration jobs?  Read more from Aguanomics here:  Jobs, Tunnels and the Delta

The BDCP is really all about oil for fracking, says Burt Wilson on his Public Water News Service blog:  “As the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) nears completion, some unusual elements of the project have been revealed piecemeal and when they are all put together the total effect is that there is a hidden agenda going on that is far from what has been revealed on the surface. … “  Read more here:  BDCP’s  Hidden Agenda: It’s all about water for fracking!

Take limit gets a do-over:  The Delta smelt seemed to have moved away from the pumps, writes Alex Brietler on his blog:  ” …What’s more, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recalculated the total number of smelt that can be killed this year under the state and federal water projects’ permits. The number went up from 305 to 362.  … ”  Read more here: Fewer fish killed at pumps

The Delta smelt: a political football:  Wayne Lusvardi over at the Cal Watchdog blog writes:  ” … You may ask: Why shut down the pumps on the Delta to protect the smelt when, in 2010, a federal judge ordered that the pumping be resumed and the artificial drought ended? He found no scientific basis to shut down water shipments. Environmental agencies and organizations had asserted the smelt was endangered. Answer: Because the smelt is a political football. And political issue that in intentionally left unresolved for many reasons. … ”  Find out what the Cal Watchdog blog thinks they are here:  Both sides in water war need smelt to provoke compromise

Dr. Doom on the Delta and the peripheral tunnel/canal:  Criag Miller over at KCET interviews Jeff Mount, asking him, among other things, what he thinks about the peripheral tunnel:  Jeff Mount answers:  ” … To meet the co-equal goals of the 2009 legislation, I think you’re going to have to have a tunnel or two. Don’t like it, go back and change the policy. You could say, “We’re going to manage this ecosystem. We’re going to go for ecosystem health as the primary objective within it.” If that’s the case, at best you want a tiny little pipe – a peripheral garden hose would be the best description of it. You want to dramatically reduce your withdrawals from the Delta, both in-Delta exports and then all those people upstream; all those people like San Francisco … ”  Read more here: Aboard the Tugnacious With Dr. Doom

Peter Moyle gets real about the Delta:  Over at the California Water Blog, Peter Moyle dives into the statements of the obvious that are often overlooked in public debates about the Delta, things such as the historical Delta cannot be restored, island flooding is a mixed bag for fish, and climate change will alter the ecosystem.  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Ten realities for managing the Delta

Earthquakes and the Delta:  OK, not really a blog, but worth mentioning that The Planning Report covers a panel at the VerdeXchange conference that included Jeff Kightlinger, Lucy Jones, Jerry Meral, and Phil Isenberg who discuss the resiliency of the Delta after an earthquake.  For part 1, click here; for part 2, click here.

We’ll all be paying for this beautiful weather come summer, says the AccuWeather Western Weather Blog:  ” … Compared to the weather some have endured in the U.S. lately this seems like pure heaven. But there is a dark side to the persistent, dry, warm, weather pattern. It comes in the form of having enough water to feed the huge agricultural machine which is California, where a large percentage of crops that feeds America are grown year in and year out. The fact is there just may not be enough water for the fields this summer. That means less produce and higher prices. … ”  Ken Clark takes a look at the numbers at the Western Weather Blog:  Summer Water Woes Coming?

The Colorado River Basin’s not looking any better:  Sandra Postel over at National Geographic’s Water Currents blog writes:  “The thin snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has already led the prime ski resort towns of Vail and Aspen to declare “severe drought” emergencies.  But it’s not just the ski industry that needs to worry. If the drought continues into spring, there will be mounting threats of fire, water shortages, fish die-offs, and economic losses to river-based recreation businesses.  The likelihood of water shortages looms large. As of February 1, Colorado’s snowpack statewide was at 72 percent of normal.  While that might not sound terrible, this year’s below-average snows come on the heels of last year’s drought and paltry snows. … ”  Read more here:  As Drought Persists in the West, Time to Prepare for Summer Shortages

Paddle down the Colorado River from source to sea in 3 minutes:  Take the trip with this video over at National Geographic’s Water Currents blog: The Colorado River, Source to Sea (Not Quite)

Honorable mentions:  The Inkstain blog fills you in on where the Bellagio Fountain’s water really comes from, the Liberty Blog says California supreme court to decide whether fish and game commission should correct mistakes, and the Legal Planet blog writes about the Casitas Water District’s takings claim against the federal government.

And lastly … cool stuff:  Lima, Peru is in a desert, receiving virtually no precipitation, but it’s coastal location means there’s plenty of humidity in the air.  Potable water is a big problem, but now check out the video of a billboard that makes water from the air:  Billboard converts desert air into drinking water and Thirsty in Suburbia’s found a unique way to display the water cycle here: Pop-ups, Paper Cuts and the Water Cycle

NOTE:  The blog round-up is a compilation of relevant and sometimes irrelevant commentary in the internet world of California water.  Inclusion here is not meant to be construed as an endorsement of that position, and exclusion is not meant to be construed as rejection of a position either; I simply might not have seen it. The more views represented here, the better, in my opinion.  So, if you have an item of interest that you think should be included, please email me.  –Maven

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One comment

  • Michael J. Lehner

    Interesting that turning the whole culture upside down in the Delta can be summarized as an equation that lost ag jobs = gained non-ag jobs. Yet there is nothing coming from Central Valley or SoCal to indicate any culture change down there to reduce the demand on Delta water.

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