Blog Round Up: Bloggers react to BDCP release, the portfolio approach, and more

Last Thursday, the first four chapters of the preliminary draft of the BDCP were released to the public.  Here’s what bloggers had to say:

Environmental groups take a ‘wait and see’ approach:  Kate Poole has posted a joint statement from the NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, the Planning and Conservation League, and The Bay Institute that outline the criteria the groups feel would define a successful project, and says they will be carefully reviewing the documents to see how they measure up.  “Ultimately, we want to see BDCP succeed, and select a project that is environmentally and economically sustainable, consistent with the criteria we’ve identified.  In order to do so, BDCP must meaningfully evaluate all of the alternatives, including our portfolio alternative, before selecting a project.  We’ll see whether the new BDCP documents mark a significant shift in the right direction.”  Read more here from the NRDC Switchboard blog:  What to Look For in The New Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Water rate payers should take note of Santa Barbara, says the California water spigot blog:  Santa Barbara ratepayers built a desal plant and paid for connection to the State Water Project for water, it turns out, they couldn’t really use:  “Unlike in Santa Barbara, the BDCP does not claim to produce any new water for contractors. It calls for an historic average of water exports to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California of 5.3 million acre feet (maf). (One maf is enough to satisfy the needs of 6.7 million residents). But it claims to make the supply more “reliable.” There’s that word again. By “reliable,” they mean pumps won’t stop to protect thumb-sized smelt from getting chewed up in export operations in Tracy. On the other hand, the northern pumps might take out too many salmon. So who knows? … ”  More here from the California Spigot blog:  A Cautionary Tale for California: BDCP fails in wet and dry years 

Scientific uncertainty in the Delta:  The Delta National Park says that embracing scientific uncertainty may be reasonable, but where’s the science behind this remark?  ““If we had intakes in the northern Delta and a way to convey those supplies to the existing aqueducts, as proposed by the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, we could have diverted more supplies without impacting fish species such as Delta smelt,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors.”  More here from the Delta National Park blog:  The fall of Delta science

Q&A from press conference:  Alex Brietler recaps questions and answers from the BDCP press conference here:  Notebook Dump

The blog commentary wheels were already in motion before the press conference, with Restore the Delta posting this: Pinocchio Item 1: BDCP will eliminate export fish kills  and this: Pinocchio Item 2: BDCP will benefit the regional economy by creating jobs;  Alex Brietler talks about thos jobs, too: About those twin tunnels jobs

Barry Nelson takes to the blog waves saying that a new USC report backs up the portfolio approach:  “The portfolio-based approach proposes an analysis of the trade-offs between investments in the Delta and investments in local water supplies designed to reduce reliance on the Delta.  The USC study explicitly addresses the need for such an analysis, stating that: “The Bay Delta Plan is proposing to construct twin tunnels to bypass the Delta, thereby reducing the Delta’s vulnerability and increasing the reliability of imported water for Southern California. With a projected cost of $23.7 Billion to be paid by user fees, this project could foreclose other water supply options for Southern California.”  … ”  Read more from Barry Nelson here:  New USC Report Shows Promise of the Portfolio Approach  Barry follows it up with a post listing reasons why it’s a new era in water management and why the portfolio approach may be the best option.  More here:  The Bay-Delta and a New Era of Water Solutions

The impacts of the BDCP will be felt all the way north to the Trinity River, warns Dan Bacher in his latest commentary, quoting Tom Stokely:  “The project will harm Trinity County and Trinity River interests by drawing down Trinity Lake even more,” said Tom Stokely of Mt. Shasta, a former Trinity County natural resources planner now with the California Water Impact Network. “There is absolutely no protection for Trinity River interests from this project. Water export amounts and fishery protection flows are being put off until after the project is constructed, a ʻplumbing before policyʼ decision to misinform the public about the true costs and benefits.”  Read more here;  Peripheral Tunnel Plan Will Hurt Trinity River Also

In other blog commentary …

What about that drainage system for Westlands:  Lloyd Carter does a retrospective on lobbyists, lawyers, and the Westlands drainage system here; Westlands’ $20,000-a-month lawyer/lobbyist runs into new troubles

Little things make a difference, like water efficient toilets:  Peter Gleick flushes out the water savings here: On the back of an envelope: The water benefits of an efficient toilet

Colorado River storage dropping, and the Inkstain blog is thinking it’s time to get back to the old narrative: River Beat: The emptying of Lake Powell

Inkstain blog digs up the “Severe Sustained Drought” Study done on the Colorado RIver in the late 80s and early 90s:River Beat: The Severe Sustained Drought Study

Tough case for farmers:  The Pacific Legal Foundation recaps and comments on the recent San Luis Unit Food Producers vs, the United States here:  Farmers lose another water battle

And lastly …

Need a belated Pi Day gift for the mathemitician on your list?  Rush on over to the National Academies Press where they are offering special discounts for the rest of the month in celebration of Pi day!  Click here for more ….

Water cup art:  Artist creates mosaic with 66,000 cups of water

…. and two of my favorite things together: sound and water!

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