Blog round-up: Bloggers on the BDCP and desalination & water supply reliability, plus tempers flare in the Central Valley, exaggerating drought, and more!

Discovery Park

Discovery Park, Sacramento

As spring starts to blossom, so are the blogs as discussion of the BDCP continues:

The BDCP and desalination:  Jeff Michael at the Valley Economy blog asks why, if we make assumptions about sea level rise, precipitation, and earthquakes, why do we not assume that technological innovations will occur?  ” … I am confident that we will have game-changing technological advances concurrent with if not before any of those climate change and natural disaster impacts hit California water in a large way, and I am certain we would if our policies did more to encourage these technological advances.  If water policy analysis is going to assume 18 or more inches of sea-level rise by 2050 and a 2/3 chance of levee destroying earthquake by 2050, it seems realistic to also assume that the real cost of alternative water supplies, including desaliniation, will drop by half or more in the same time frame. … ”  Read more here from the Valley Economy blog:  What Should We Assume About New Technology in California Water Policy?

The BDCP will mean the end of the Delta’s ecosystem, writes Dan Bacher in this editorial:  Besides refuse to consider alternatives: ” … The State Water Resources Board has already concluded that delta outflows must be significantly increased in order to protect public trust resources, Jennings said. “It rejected an analysis of how much water the estuary needs in order to survive as a functioning ecosystem—because increased outflow translates to reduced exports,” he said. “You can’t restore an estuary hemorrhaging from lack of flow by stealing more fresh water from it.” … ”  Read more here from the Point Reyes Light:  Bay Delta Plan would spell end of ecosystem

No love for the BDCP from the Cal Watchdog blog either:  Steve Greenhut writes:  ” … The plan has two equal goals: restore the Delta ecosystem and improve water reliability. It won’t increase water flows, but by resolving the Delta Smelt issue it will end the court-ordered water stoppages — at least in theory. Here, the administration proposes the use of tax dollars and massive engineering feats to solve a legal and regulatory problem. This is a poor use of resources, especially in a state that still is largely broke and that already faces some of the biggest debt and tax burdens in the nation.  What are the chances that once the smelt issue is fixed that environmentalists won’t find another reason to sue to stop the water flows given that the water flows are the source of the real dispute? … ”  More from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Water plan threatens taxpayers, environment

The BDCP cannot increase water supply reliability, argues the California Water Research blog:  A report released by California Water Research determined “that, if the projections of the drier climate change models hold up, then we will see increasing long and increasingly severe droughts in the Sacramento River watershed, and that we are likely already seeing such changes in the San Joaquin River watershed.    Under the drier climate change scenarios, there is simply no way that two 40 foot tunnels can make future CVP or SWP deliveries more reliable.    Thus BDCP cannot meet the co-equal goal of “increasing water supply reliability. … ”  Read more here from the California Water Research blog: Update: Bay Delta Conservation Plan & Climate Change

Hoopa Valley Tribe concerned BDCP will take Trinity River water: The tribe says that Reclamation is overlooking North Coast communities’ long-standing water rights to the Trinity River, and therefore overestimating water availability:   ” … “The Trinity River is vitally important to the North Coast economy,” stated Humboldt County supervisor Ryan Sundberg. “If the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and state agencies don’t make the decision to uphold our long-established right to Trinity River water, what confidence can other Californians have that their rights will be honored in the BDCP process?”   … ”  Read more here: Humboldt County, Hoopa Valley Tribe Warn Tunnels Could Take Trinity Water

Tempers flare in the Central Valley:  Expletives, racial slurs … things get out of hand in the comments section at the Fresno Bee as Westside grower Mike Borba explodes at what he sees as Feinstein’s inaction on water issues … and it goes on from there.  The Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog writes about here:  Water at heart of heated email exchanges between Borba, others

Drought in the Central Valley and the numbers: Is Westlands exaggerating the economic effects of the drought?  The Valley Economy blog writes ” … Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham says Westlands farmers alone will lose $350 million in revenue, and total economic impact will exceed $1 billion.  In this letter (that I only read thanks to Mark Borba’s infamous rant), Congressman Costa says there will be agricultural production losses in the San Joaquin Valley of $873 million and economic impacts of $2.2 billion.  Neither statement reveals the source of the numbers. … ”  So the Valley Economy blog takes a look at the numbers here:  Is Westlands Exagerrating Drought Impacts Again?

What does ACWA think should be done with the water bond?  Read here from ACWA’s Water News: ACWA Identifies Priorities for 2014 bond

The U-T San Diego got it wrong about the new stormwater regulations, says the GrokSurf San Diego blog:  The editorial claimed that the environmental group Coastkeeper joined in the opposition to the new regs, but that was just wrong.  The Coastkeeper responds “With due respect to the U-T Editorial Board, you are wrong.  … The standards that you suggest are “effectively impossible to meet” are not. In fact, the County and local cities have employed engineers to create a Comprehensive Load Reduction Plan, which includes a suite of options for the cities and county to implement that “are predicted to be effective” to reach the target pollution levels. … ”  More from GrokSurf’s San Diego blog here:  San Diego’s “major metropolitan” newspaper is confused about stormwater

In other blog news, the Aguanomics blog says there is no such thing as the water-energy nexus, the Inkstain blog tells us why “when the Ogallala runs out” is not the right way to think about this, and KQED takes a side trip off the I-5 through the Central Valley, which is truly quite lovely this time of year …

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