We could get past these disputes over the drought if both sides would cool their rhetoric and commit to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, says Jerry Meral: The drought means urban users may have to cutback or even deal with rationing, but the effects are far worse for farmers, who will fallow fields, cut down orchards, and endure other impacts. Fish species will suffer, too: “The reactions to these two calamities are predictable. Farmers call for rolling back protections provided fish by the endangered species act in order to allow more water to be delivered from the Delta. Environmentalists call for reduced pumping to provide more water for endangered fish. Their respective congressional allies call for law changes to suit their constituencies. There is an opportunity to get past this hot dispute, but only if both sides cool their rhetoric and devote themselves to a compromise recently proposed by state and federal fish and water agencies. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan calls for development of vast new areas of wildlife habitat in the Delta, which could help restore fish populations. The Plan requires water flows providing a reasonable water supply for both fish and people. ... ” Read the full commentary here: Water convergence
Doing the Math on California Water Solutions: Dams Can’t Compete with 21st Century Options, says Doug Obegi: “The Department of Water Resources upcoming announcement of dismal April 1 snow survey results, an important measure of available water supply for the coming year, will confirm that, despite a few welcome storms, California remains in the grip of drought. How we respond to the drought today will undoubtedly define our water use and availability for years to come. Drought is a fact of life in California and across the West, and we cannot know if the drought will end next year, or whether we’re facing many more dry years. With climate change creating the conditions for longer and more frequent droughts, we cannot afford to be wasting water and money on 19th and 20th century water habits – like building more dams. Instead, California should take charge of our water future by investing in 21st century sustainable water solutions right now. Why? Because 21st century solutions are far more cost-effective than massive new dams. … ” Read more from Doug Obegi at the NRDC Switchboard blog here: Doing the Math on California Water Solutions: Dams Can’t Compete with 21st Century Options
Dwindling snowpack is a warning of more dire changes to come: Ben Chou at the NRDC Switchboard blog writes: “California’s annual April snow survey results, which provide an indicator of how much water will flow into streams and rivers during the dry summer and fall months, will be announced tomorrow by the Department of Water Resources. With drought conditions affecting more than 99 percent of the state, this year’s April snowpack measurement is likely to be the lowest since 1988. Although this year’s low snowpack is due to drought, warmer temperatures from climate change are expected to dramatically reduce April snowpack in the future, jeopardizing important seasonal water supplies for farms and cities throughout California in the long-term. ... ” Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here: Dwindling California Snowpack is a Warning of More Dire Water Challenges to Come
Noah – Would 40 Days of Rain Solve California’s Drought Problem?: Brian Stranko and Maurice Hall from the Nature Conservancy write in the Huffington Post: “In the movie, Noah, released this week, Russell Crowe plays a man afflicted with visions of an apocalyptic deluge. And on faith, Noah takes action. Of course, this comes during a historic California drought, so it begs the obvious question — what would 40 days and 40 nights of rain, or even a bit less, mean for California? Well, most likely it would end the drought, but it would not solve our water woes. Instead, it would result in flooding in many parts of California that would negatively affect our farms, communities and fish and wildlife. So, we’d have a drought that hits us hard, followed by floods that hit us hard. And, guess what? That is not too far from the truth of California’s historic precipitation pattern. Granted, we haven’t had the biblical-scale rains depicted in the movie, but we have typically experienced very dry periods followed by very wet periods. And, as climate change advances, we can expect the peaks and valleys of this pattern to get longer and more severe in the future. … ” Read more from the Huffington Post here: Noah: Would 40 Days of Rain Solve California’s Drought Problem?
“What water crisis?” says OID: The Valley Citizen blog writes: “There’s nothing like a job as general manager of one our local water districts to give a person a rosy outlook. Seems like only yesterday Allen Short, then riding high as General Manager of the Modesto Irrigation District (MID), was touting a sale of “excess water” to the City of San Francisco. This was just prior to his exit from the MID, a departure expedited by public outcry against the sale. Now, Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) General Manager Steve Knell has taken umbrage with the Modesto Bee for documenting water district sales to buyers outside the area. The Bee article followed widespread alarm brought about by pumping billions of gallons of groundwater for newly planted orchards on the east side of the valley. ‘“Is there a crisis?” said Knell in a Bee opinion piece: “In my opinion no.”’ … ” Continue reading from the Valley Citizen blog here: “What water crisis?” says OID
Managing expectations from the Colorado River pulse flow: “More than once last week while I was down in the Colorado River delta, I heard people involved with the historic “pulse flow” talk about one of the problems that comes next: managing expectations. This headline and file art, from Fox Latino, illustrates the problem. “Colorado River Begins Flooding Dried Up Delta,” the headline reads, accompanied by a picture of the Colorado River near Page, Arizona. The Colorado River I watched last week flowing past San Luis Río Colorado in Sonora, Mexico, was a beautiful thing to see, but it was another thing entirely from the stock imagery you see here. ... ” Continue reading from the Inkstain blog here: Colorado River pulse flow: managing expectations
Photo credit: Water in a window by flickr photographer Dave Morris.