Blog round-up: Simple story of the BDCP, a $3 billion error, media tour, Folsom Dam construction, Pat Mulroy retiring and more, plus fly like an eagle!

BDCP InfographicInfographic:  The “simple” story of the BDCP:  Can the BDCP be distilled down to one infographic? Apparently so.  The Southern California Water Committee has released an infographic titled “The Simple Story” of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  Click on the graphic or click here to view it in a larger size.

$3 billion error in portfolio approach analysis:  Kate Poole at the NRDC points to the BDCP blog’s $3 billion correction to the math and says:  ” … The Agency’s goof is disconcerting as the citizens of California look to the State to capably analyze and select the best alternative for the State’s water future before embarking on a $25 billion project. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect is that, regardless of which cost estimate is correct, a $3 billion difference appeared to have no effect on the Agency’s conclusion about the feasibility of the portfolio alternative or the desirability of its own big, expensive twin tunnel proposal. … ”  Read more from Kate Poole at the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  The Natural Resources Agency’s $3 Billion Error in Estimating Delta Tunnel Costs

The Valley Economy blog agrees with Kate Poole – to a point:  Economist Jeff Michael writes:  ” … I agree with NRDC that alternative water supplies, storage, and levee improvements have a better return on investment than the tunnels.  I agree with NRDC that the extremely costly tidal marsh restoration with uncertain environmental benefits is another area where BDCP can produce a better return on investment by shrinking in size.  Their proposal is a major step in the right direction, and has sparked a useful discussion.  But the NRDC portfolio proposal still has tunnel vision.  I am unconvinced that the smaller tunnels have a positive benefit-cost ratio, although it may be better than the big tunnels.  Even more important, I think the proposal exacerbates the cost/benefit allocation issues between urban and agricultural contractors that doom a viable finance plan for the big tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  The NRDC Portfolio Proposal and The Cost Allocation Problem

The Valley Economy blog says to listen to the Hydrowonk blog:  Dr. Jeff Michael says Dr. Rod Smith over at the Hydrowonk blog is posting faster than he can respond:  ” … The only serious critical comment I have had about Dr. Smith’s commentary until now is that he takes the exaggerated water yield estimates in the BDCP economics reports at face value.  I delivered that comment to him in San Diego last week in person, and he immediately responded with his most recent post and its very handy list of costs under different water yield assumptions.  Now, my only criticism is that his table assumes all the water yields are positive!  The EIR tables show a negative water yield under one scenario, and the biological opinions are still being litigated. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here: Listen to the Hydrowonk

BDCP Media Tour doesn’t include any Delta representatives:  Restore the Delta objects to yesterdays media tour which included Southern California media (but not Maven 🙁  … ):  ” … Restore the Delta (RTD) called out the Natural Resources Agency and the Department of Water Resources for choreographing a media tour of the Delta that does not include one Delta area representative. The group strongly opposes Governor Jerry Brown’s rush to build peripheral tunnels under the Orwellian-named Bay Delta “Conservation” Plan, noting that the $54.1 billion dollar boondoggle would drain the Delta and doom Central Valley Chinook salmon and other Pacific fisheries. Restore the Delta Executive Director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, said, “Directors and public relations officials are conducting a tour with officials from the Metropolitan Water District in the Delta at taxpayer expense to sell the project to Southern California media, but they have managed to exclude all Delta community representatives from talking with these members of the media to learn the Delta perspective of the peripheral tunnel project.” … ”  Read more from Dan Bacher here:  Brown Administration Media Tour Excludes Delta Communities

DWR quietly building new diversions, alleges the Public Water News Service:  ” …  the Dept. of Water Resources has been quietly building a bunch of new water diversions on the upper Sacramento River and especially at Folsom Lake. What this and other past construction has done is to build a de facto through-Delta conveyance system that can easily take the place of the tunnels.   Master researcher Nicole (Nicky) Suard, Esq., has put this all together in a short video. It’s worth watching. ... ”  Read more and watch the video here:  The DWR’s secret northern California water diversions!

Speaking of construction of Folsom Lake, take a video tour of the Folsom Dam construction:  It’s billed as one of the largest construction jobs in the nation with crews working around the clock to complete the new spillway by fall of 2017.  Take a video tour here:  Video tour: New Folsom dam construction

The evolving value of Shasta Dam:  David Guy at the Northern California Water Association blog reflects on Shasta Dam’s impact on Northern California: ” … By retaining flood flows on California’s largest river with the largest reservoir, the project provides public safety and has reduced damage to property. Lake Shasta, in tandem with other reservoirs and an ingenious system of bypasses and levees, regulates ravaging flows and then releases water through the valley, avoiding impacts to rural and urban areas, including Sacramento, which simply would not exist today as we know it without Shasta Dam.  … To be sure, Shasta Dam impeded salmon runs to upper reaches of the system and it has affected natural wetlands and early communities in the Sacramento Valley. The public values in our water system have evolved from the Great Depression to now, and they continue to evolve. … ”  For links to the full piece plus pictures of Shasta Dam from the NCWA blog, go here:  The evolving value of Shasta Dam

Groundwater depletion and the race to the bottom:  John Fleck over at the Inkstain Blog remembers the teachings of Elinor Ostrom:  ” … Ostrom’s genius lay in the way she grasped the need to generalize from the welter of specific cases of groups of humans succeeding or failing at the task of sustaining community-resource interactions in situations where there is a risk of irreparably depleting a resource on which your community depends. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  California groundwater: bring on the social scientists

ACWA’s Tim Quinn recaps the water bond’s progress in 2013:  In a post over at the Voices on Water blog, Tim Quinn says ACWA and its coalition partners played an effective role this past year” …   While ACWA spent significant time and energy opposing a move to transfer the state’s entire drinking water program to the State Water Resources Control Board (AB 145) and worked on many other bills, including California Environmental Quality Act reform, we also played a leadership role in advancing the dialog on the 2014 water bond.  There are now three distinct proposals on the table for serious discussion in 2014 and in the months before the Legislature convenes in January. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water blog here:  First Half of 2013-’14 Legislative Session Yields Some Progress on Water Bond

Pat Mulroy retiring … !!!???  Hard to imagine what life on the Colorado River would be like without her – although these people never really go away, do they …  More from the Inkstain blog here:  Pat Mulroy retiring

The Delta smelt and endangered species restrictions a reason to support the Cadiz project, says the “Water4SoCal” blog:  ” …  Even if the continuing legal battles over the smelt and other Delta fish are resolved, everyone recognizes that the high water mark of water deliveries from the Delta is behind us.  We will need to conserve more and find new supplies, like recycling, re-using stormwater, desalinating ocean water – and bringing water to Southern California from the Cadiz aquifer.  Another 50,000 acre feet annually of precious water supplied by Cadiz will make all of us who rely to some extent of Delta water to breathe easier.  … ”  Read more here:  We Thought We Smelt a Story Here  Need another reason?  How about a steam locomotive powered by water from the Cadiz aquifer:  ” … If you share our excitement about the prospect of touring the beautiful and historic Mojave on an equally beautiful and historic steam locomotive, you have an other great reason to support the Cadiz water project, since the steam locomotives won’t be able to operated until the water project is approved. … ”  Read more here:  Cadiz announces plans for steam locomotive excursions  (See also this story from the Riverside Press-Enterprise)

Big bucks for U.C. Davis Watershed Sciences:  The California Water Blog has the details:  ” …  UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced a major donation to the Center for Watershed Sciences. The $10 million gift from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation will enable the Center to expand its scientific research and public engagement capabilities as the climate warms and water demands increase.  The gift emphatically endorses multidisciplinary academic engagement with environmental problem-solving. … ”    Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Major gift endorses UC Davis’ multidisciplinary engagement with California’s water problems

And lastly …  Sometimes there’s nothing for this spot – the one place on the blog where I allow myself to post items that may or may not have anything to do with water – but today there are a few contenders.  Here’s an article about deadly brain-eating amoeba in the drinking water systems, and now you can see what every state is worst at on the map of the United States of Shame.  Best of all, though, proving that you can put a GoPro anywhere, cue up Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle and press play  …

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