Blog round up: Bloggers on the costs of the BDCP, the fortress Delta option, plus more on infrastructure spending, the Borba email exchange, whitewater rafting and a peripheral playground … ?
How is the BDCP going to pencil out? The sizeable costs of the project are going to be divided between the water users and the public, with the water users paying the larger costs of tunnel construction while the public will pay for the restoration of the ecosystem, writes the BDCP blog: ” … How do we determine whether a large and costly public works project such as the BDCP is actually going to deliver the full range of intended public benefits and is worth the cost? The answer is that the BDCP is being subjected to six major studies. Alternatives to the proposed plan also are being studied. These full-scale evaluations are being conducted by ICF International Inc. and the Brattle Group, led by Prof. David Sunding, an esteemed economist with the University of California, Berkeley. … ” The BDCP blog previews the coming attractions of the various financial analyses we’ll be seeing in the next release of documents here: Are the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s benefits worth the expense?
Hey, there’s no benefit-cost analysis on the list, says the Valley Economy blog: ” … The new economics glossy says they are going to let the public interpret this hodge podge of narrow reports, rather than have their consultants put this and other information together into a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis. While there is some additional analysis, this is a complete regression to the position BDCP was taking a year ago when they were dodging the benefit-cost analysis question. … ” Read more here: BDCP Appears to Have Canceled Their Statewide Benefit-Cost Analysis
A tunnel and not a canal means no recreational benefits that were envisioned with the original peripheral canal: Alex Breitler has found a DWR report from 1980 where recreation benefits such as auto-aquatic parks, observation areas, boat-in developments and beaches were contemplated as part of the project. No such fun with a tunnel … Read more at Alex Breitler’s blog here: Peripheral Playground
Keeping construction on time and on budget is the point of the joint exercise of powers agreement being contemplated, says the BDCP blog: ” … Under the preliminary proposal that has been under discussion, DWR would retain control of key decisions about the design and construction of new facilities, such as those involving location, budget, scheduling, and other matters. Any majority vote decisions of the JEPA would provide only for adjustments within specific boundaries already established by DWR. All other elements of the BDCP, including implementation of ecosystem restoration projects, would be completed by other agencies or parties, independent of the JEPA. … ” Read more here: Finding A Way to Share Design and Construction Oversight
Restore the Delta has produced a short video for YouTube on tunnel costs – click here.
The BDCP is a death sentence for the Delta, says Bill Jennings, who notes he’s been fighting for the estuary for over a quarter of a century: ” … BDCP is simply a scheme to perpetuate an unsustainable status quo that enriches a few powerful water brokers at the expense of reliable water supplies and healthy fisheries. It is a classic shell game to benefit special interests and, if implemented, would represent a death sentence for one of the world’s great estuaries. … ” Read more at the California Progress Report: Proposed “Water Tunnels” a Death Sentence for the Bay Delta
A fortress Delta with a permeable levee at Sherman Island and habitat benches is a good alternative for the BDCP, argues the Delta National Park blog, so why won’t it be considered? ” … It is pretty clear that the BDCP doesn’t want to include such an alternative, not because fortressing the Delta would be significantly less costly than the twin-tunnel or NRDC alternatives (which it would), but because the Delta would remain a strategically important political entity. The tunnels would effectively neuter the Delta as a political space, and shift a great deal of power to the southern half of the state. … ” Read more at the Delta National Park blog: Occam’s Razor and Delta Geography
In other blog commentary ….
The $39 billion needed for water infrastructure isn’t really a shortfall, the Legal Planet blog learns from Ellen Hanak of the PPIC: ” … the biggest chunks of spending needed — water supply and wastewater infrastructure — are pretty well funded, mainly because funds come from local ratepayers. The bad places lie in flood management infrastructure, ecosystem management, and state planning and oversight, all three of which pale in terms of total spending, but are absolutely critical. … ” Read more here from the Legal Planet blog: Some Good News on California’s Water Planning
Unanswered questions about the Borba-Birmingham heated email exchange reported in the Fresno Bee remain for the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood blog, questions like why didn’t more local TV outlets, DWR’s news clips, or even the Maddy Institute itself pick up the story? Why won’t Feinstein talk about the emails? Or what drove Borba to this: ” … In the strangest part of this saga, Borba, in the racial slur email, tells Birmingham that he has broken his keyboard pounding out his angry emails and that his fingers are bleeding. He demands that Birmingham pay for the broken keyboard. … ” Read more from the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood blog here: Some unanswered questions about Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba’s racial slur against President Obama and the behind-the-scenes efforts to get Westlands more Northern California water
Upcoming scientists at UC Davis learn whitewater rafting and swift water rescue skills, a tradition started by Jeff Mount, one of the founders of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Mount was first introduced to whitewater rafting in 1983, talked into it by a couple of undergraduate outdoor adventure guides, and he became hooked. Besides the incredible views, there are real work-related benefits: ” … Scientists say their swift-water skills have enabled them to survey a greater range of river habitat in their field research. Rafting reduces time spent hiking and hauling gear. Proficiency in river-reading tells them where they can safely wade and place equipment, like fish traps, and where they can’t. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: A confluence of whitewater and watershed scientists
Decision time for San Diego on recycled water, says GrokSurf’s San Diego blog: The one-year demonstration project has completed, a report has been generated: ” … The City Council enthusiastically accepted the report. Now it needs to decide whether to authorize a full-scale IPR program. That decision will have to wait until Public Utilities Department staff report back in 90 days to the Natural Resources & Culture Committee with a recommended preferred plan. The committee would then forward a recommendation to the full City Council. The really big part of this story, though, is that San Diego’s wastewater management policy has been a problem for many years and it’s in that context that the potable reuse program needs to be understood. … ” The GrokSurf’s San Diego blog discusses how the recycled water project and San Diego’s Point Luoma Wastewater Plant are connected in this post: San Diego faces a major decision on wastewater treatment and water recycling
And lastly … The Owens Valley gave Los Angeles more than just water to help it grow: silver from the Cerro Gordo mines was used to fuel the growth of Hollywood film making, hence the term “the silver screen”. An artist’s project now underway at the old Pittsburg plate glass factory is now producing prints using Owens Valley minerals, much as they did in the past: ” … The Owens Lake prints by the Optics Division are a prime example of the geoaesthetics being exercised by artists in the Anthropocene, which provides a larger context for Bon’s work. Artists have increasingly come to rely upon the geologic as a metaphorical bedrock from which to construct a critique of what we have done to the natural environment. … ” More from KCET here: De-silvering the Mirror: Mining for Film in the Owens Valley
Photo of three drops of water on a DVD by flickr photographer Doug88888.