Blog round-up: The BDCP’s economic analysis, benefits, and Delta outreach, also the water bond, Delta Dialogues, fat levees, and a new miracle technology that solves global warming … !!

showerWelcome to Tuesday’s action-packed blog round-up with something for everybody …

Dr. Jeff Michael stands by his economic analysis of the BDCP, explains where the two analyses diverge:  Dr. Jeff Michael responds to the State Water Contractor’s Fact Sheet on the two economic studies, explaining why his results are different on the Valley Economy blog:  ” … the difference in export water supply benefits is driven entirely by the BDCP economic studies’ assumption about no-tunnel water supply that is completely at odds with the water supply estimates in the BDCP’s EIR, and is much lower than any regulation proposed or considered by any regulatory agency.  Dr. Sunding got over $10 billion in water supply benefits and over 1 million acre feet of additional water by assuming a massive tightening of regulations will cut water exports another 25% by 2025 if the tunnels are not built.  Then, he conveniently omitted the environmental, fishing and in-Delta benefits that would occur in the unlikely case of such a dramatic reduction in water exports.  In contrast, I was much less creative and simply used the BDCP EIR estimates of water supply without the tunnels, and also used the EIR to estimate the environmental benefits generated by the tunnels themselves (nil). … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog by clicking here, or read Dr. Michael’s full analysis here:  Comparing benefit cost estimates for the tunnels 90313

Hydrowonk blog is not convinced BDCP’s benefits outweigh the costs, argues storage is key:  ” …  The heralded conclusion that the BDCP generates net benefits of $5 billion for state and federal water contractors is not convincing.  DWR understates costs.  The benefits are summary statements about the findings of two economic models that are “black boxes”.  Most importantly, the materials are silent on a simple but critical matter—did the calculation of present value of benefits take into account the decade delay between the necessary commitments to finance construction and the start of water deliveries.  Despite these reservations, DWR’s analysis offers valuable information on the economic value of avoiding water supply shortages.  In my view, this is the best of BDCP materials.  I unravel DWR’s statement of summary benefits (DWR does not separate municipal water user benefits from agricultural water user benefits).  … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Do the Benefits of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Exceed Costs?

Hydrowonk continues, saying the DWR’s estimates of benefits is relatively insignificant:  ” …  DWR’s estimates of the statewide impact of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are roughly equal to about one month of trend growth in state personal income and employment.  Other than perhaps the temporary jobs during construction of the BDCP conveyance facility, it will be difficult to measure the BDCP’s economic impact on the California economy.  … ”  Read more here:  Are the Statewide Economic Impacts of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Significant?

Statewide coalition of environmental & community organizations opposed to tunnel funding in water bond:  A coalition of environmental, water conservation, fishing, farming, Native American and community organizations calling themselves “Californians for Fair Water Policy,” have announced their opposition to any water bond measure that includes any funding to mitigate damage caused by the BDCP.   ” … The tunnels would damage water quality, the environment, fish, and farming, and impose billions of dollars of tax increases on the public to mitigate that damage,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “The governor wants the public to pay for $7 billion in ‘habitat and conservation,’ which is required to win permits for the tunnels. That is lipstick on the pig of the tunnels, and we opposed including it in any water bond measure. … ”  They are also opposed to any rush to pass a water bond in the final weeks of this legislative session.  Read more here:  Farming, Conservation, Environmental Groups Oppose any Tunnels Funding in State Water Bond

Jerry Meral says the BDCP’s plan to restore Delta habitat and improve reliability of the Delta’s water supplies would provide clear benefits to all Californians:  Meral argues in the Daily Democrat that the habitat restoration, employment benefits, and an improved salmon survival rate would benefit all the state, and furthermore, Northern California would benefit as well:  ” … The fact is the plan will do no harm to Northern California water rights, biological resources, or communities. In fact, it will actually benefit water users along the Sacramento River by helping to restore salmon and steelhead populations, relieving pressure from regulators on water users from Solano to Shasta counties. … ”  Read more here:  Meral: NorCal benefits from Delta water plan

Burt Wilson takes issue with a similar commentary from Meral in the Manteca Bulletin: Remember, when it comes to any government trying to put over a boondoggle to the people, it is propaganda that triumphs over truth,” Burt writes.  Read his point by point rebuttal here:  Just the facts, puleeze! 

BDCP answers your questions:  In a new weekly feature, BDCP staff will compile common questions from landowners, stakeholders, media and the interested public and answer them on the website, such as: ” …  “Question: Can the BDCP Drain the Sacramento River?  Answer:  Operation of the BDCP water delivery system could not drain the Delta rivers and channels dry. The BDCP only would be permitted to operate with regulatory protections, including river water levels and flow, which would be determined based upon how much water is actually available in the system, the presence of threatened fish species, and water quality standards.  More information on the ranges of BDCP water diversions, based on water year types and specific flow criteria, can be found here (on page 3.4-17) and here. Detailed limitations and operational criteria can be found in DWR’s State Water Resources Control Board Permit D1641 and additional limitations described in the Federal Endangered Species Section 7 Biological Opinions and take permits.”  Read more here:  Your Questions Answered

Delta residents not happy with outreach efforts:  The BDCP takes its case to the Delta residents with outreach sessions held in various locations around the Delta.  The River News-Herald reports from the sessions:  ” …  Unfortunately for residents, their questions weren’t answered the way they would have liked.  “What can we do to stop you?” asked 98-year old Delta resident Nancy Moser to BDCP Public Outreach.  Moser was upset that her questions continue to go unanswered. Those questions included  topics like: Will construction cross or interfere with agricultural delivery canals and drainage ditches on farms? How long will farms be without water, which months will farms be without water and how will salinity affect farms?  The consensus from residents that asked questions were, “Wait until the EIR in October, or, I’ll have to look that up and get back to you.”  “I’m going to pressure some people and get some answers,” said DWR representative Lauren Bisnett as the outreach day winded down. “The people that came today are very knowledgeable.” … ”  Read more from the River News-Herald here:  Delta residents dissatisfied with BDCP public outreach

Will participants in the Delta Dialogues process propose their own alternative for the Delta?  The ‘Delta Dialogues’ is an effort by the Delta Conservancy to bring together diverse Delta stakeholders to discuss the issues and develop a shared understanding.  The August meeting of the dialogues brought together representatives from agriculture, the fishing industry, environmental groups, state agencies, local governments, and water exporters in a day-long event:  ” … The meeting seemed to leave the dialogues, which were begun to forge shared understanding among stakeholders in the Delta, at a dramatic point, with the real possibility that participants might seek to come together to develop their own proposals for the Delta.  Leo Winternitz of the Nature Conservancy, noted that there is great uncertainty about the BDCP, and how and whether water contractors and state and federal agencies will support it. “They have spent $200 million and it is 7 years later,” said Winternitz, who then urged the dialogues group to get involved. “But if there is something else that can be proposed that significantly reduces their costs, and provides for most of the objectives they need to achieve, and provides for conservation, we should be brave and put something out there.” … ”  Read more here:  Forging Common Ground  Check out the dialogue maps here:    August 2013 Dialogue Map

The sandhill cranes are back:  Alex Breitler helps you get your “craniac” on in this post here: They’re back

Are fat levees the solution?  Dr. Jeffrey Michael and Dr. Robert Pyke both helped co-author the Delta Protection Commission’s Economic Sustainability Plan which focused on primary importance on Delta levee improvement.  While both Pyke and Michael agree fat levees are not the sole solution, they can improve on several crucial areas:  ” … “The only way to fully protect water exports from this earthquake risk is to make an earthquake resistant levee system – i.e. fat levees,” said Dr. Michael. “Not only is that approach far cheaper, but it produces a much broader away of benefits, protecting lives, property, and other valuable energy, transportation and water infrastructure.”  In a press release and “fact sheet”, State Water Contractors denounce fat levees and compare this method to the entire BDCP while not recognizing the fact that “fat levee” proponents do not suggest only levee improvements to reach the “co-equal goals.”   “A levee-only approach ignores major water system and environmental problems facing the Delta,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors. “Ongoing levee improvements are critical and the state’s commitment to continue those has not waivered, however it is clear that the Delta is in need of a comprehensive plan and any proposal that fails to address the major issues facing the Delta ecosystem and water system is a non-starter.” … ”  Read more from the River News Herald here:  State Water Contractors denouce “fat levees”

San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller to replace Don Nottoli on the Delta Stewardship Council:  Alex Breitler has all the details here on his blog.

Blog honorable mentions:  My blogger pal, Chance of Rain’s Emily Green, writes about the Owens Lake Master Plan, a process that started out hopeful but hasn’t turned out that way.  ” … And so, this, the centenary year of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, began with the LADWP making its underwriting of artful treatment of the Owens Dry Lakebed contingent on it being let off the hook for further dust control work. … ” for the Arid Journal here:  Particulate Matters:  Settling the Dust on the Owens Dry Lakebed; Also, the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood’s State and Regional Water Boards and state Health Department run afoul of Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Cal Watchdog blog’s Cadiz blending pipeline cuts salt in water

And lastly …  AMAZING BREAKTHROUGH!!!! No more expensive fertilizers and harmful pesticides! No more GM crops because they’ll grow 30% bigger with this inexpensive technology!  And global warming – solved!   What is this miracle cure, you ask?    Radio wave energized water.  And if that’s not entertaining enough, Steven Colbert on Nestle’s latest bottled water product which promises to  deliver “Electrolytenment.”

Photo credit:  “Shower” by flickr photographer Catalina Olavarria

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: