Blog round-up: Restoring salmon runs in the Sac Valley, water for the environment, groundwater and more, plus 5 things that hippies get wrong about water

salmon-runsRestoring salmon runs in the Sacramento Valley: Time for action!  David Guy writes:  “For the past several decades, leaders in the Sacramento Valley have been developing innovative partnerships and projects to improve salmon, while assuring reliable water supplies for farms, birds, cities and rural communities. These efforts have significantly improved the migratory corridors and habitat for salmon throughout the Valley, leading to mixed success in restoring certain runs of salmon in the region. To further improve salmon runs—there is more work ahead. Now is the time for action! ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Restoring salmon runs in the Sacramento Valley: Time for action!

Water for the environment:  Emma Freeman and Jeffrey Mount write:  “The ongoing drought has heightened tension over how water is allocated in California. In our recent publication on overall water use in California, we show that the environment uses the largest share—50%—of the state’s water. In contrast, agriculture uses 40% and urban users account for only 10%.  The amount going to the environment may look surprisingly high, but this number is not as straightforward as it may seem. Most of what we call “environmental” water is simply too remote for people to use—or is actually reused for irrigation, drinking water, or other human benefits. In other words, most of the water that goes to the environment does not significantly detract from the overall amount of water available for other purposes. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Drought Watch: Water for the Environment

Groundwater and the foothills orchards: a primer:  Eric Caine writes: “Probably the most common misconception about groundwater is that it occupies underground caverns or occurs in the form of vast lakes of pure water. In fact, available groundwater is always contained in aquifers. By definition, an aquifer is “an underground layer of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yields water.” The Latin roots translate to “water carrier.”  In the San Joaquin Valley, common aquifer components include clay, shale, sand, silt, and gravel. Geologists and hydrologists rate the various sediments by permeability. Gravel is highly permeable because of the relatively large spaces between the rocks. Clay and silt have very low permeability. Sediments like clay that may have high porosity but low permeability are called aquitards. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  Groundwater and the Foothills Orchards

Groundwater war breaks out: Wayne Lusvardi writes: “Future historians might mark July 20 as the date when a full scale war broke out over California’s groundwater.  On July 20 in the Los Angeles Times, George Skelton, the dean of California journalists, said it was unfair to tell him he can’t hose off his driveway or water his lawn while farmers can use all the groundwater they want. And he called for a coalition to legally absolve state property and water rights law going back a century. … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Groundwater war breaks out

Five things hippies get wrong about water:  David Zetland writes: “Hi everyone. I’m a water economist, born and raised in San Francisco. I’m here to clarify a few misconceptions, help you understand how we get water issues wrong, and suggest how better policies serve social and private interests. Feel free to ask questions. — David*  1.  “Bottled water is bad”: This statement is often followed by observations on lax regulations on the quality of water in bottles, the need to fund public water systems, the oil and energy consumption from making and moving bottles, and some hostile words towards Nestle, Coca Cola and Pepsico — the three biggest sellers of bottled water. All of these statements contain some truth, but they miss other dominant factors. ... ”  Read more from David Zetland, guest blogging at the Angry Bear blog here:  5 things hippies get wrong about water

Water czar is key to California’s survival: Denny Freidenrich writes: “Last week’s state water usage report was both shocking and sobering.  Not only did California not meet its projected statewide reduction goal, overall water usage actually increased!  Talk about playing with fire (no pun intended).  We are on the verge of a catastrophe and no one seems to care.  I realize the forces of Mother Nature, politics and money are part of the problem and solution to our water crisis.  Despite the fact that California is 100 percent in drought, some things are constant:  First, we are a state of 58 counties and nearly 500 incorporated cities and towns; second, our economy is the 8th largest in the world; and third, we number more than 37 million residents.  Having said that, nothing and no one trumps the obvious:  We have make sure the state has enough water.  … ”  Read more from The Hill blog here:  Water czar is key to California’s survival

Fish passage above dams incredibly foolish? Alex Breitler writes: “I asked Doug Demko, a fisheries biologist who consults for water districts, what he thought about plans to restore migratory fish above large California dams.  Demko called the idea “incredibly foolish.”  “It creates more problems than it solves, and it’s hugely expensive,” Demko said. ... ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Fish passage above dams incredibly foolish?

The Clock is Ticking to Craft a Good, BDCP-Neutral Water Bond for California: Doug Obegi writes: “This November, California voters will almost certainly vote on whether to authorize billions of dollars of taxpayer spending for a water bond. But crucially, the next few weeks will determine what water bond will be on the ballot in November – how much borrowing it authorizes, what it spends that money on – and whether it is a good investment in California’s water future.   Since 2010, state legislators have been trying to replace the “bloated,” “pork-filled,” $11.1 billion water bond that the Legislature approved in the waning days of 2009.  Originally scheduled to appear on the 2010 ballot, the Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger postponed the vote in 2010 and again in 2012, worried that voters would reject the bond.  … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here: The Clock is Ticking to Craft a Good, BDCP-Neutral Water Bond for California

Will drought change public’s attitude towards recycled water?  Jeff Simonetti at the Hydrowonk blog writes:  “Across the western United States, both policymakers and citizens must change their ways to conserve what little water remains in the rivers, streams and aquifers. Here in California, we are bearing the brunt of the drought’s effects. Earlier this week, the California State Water Resources Control Board imposed a series of new sanctions to combat residential water waste. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Board gave local cities the power to impose fines of up to $500 per day for people who allow runoff from outdoor sprinklers, hose down sidewalks or driveways, or who wash their car with a hose that does not have a nozzle with a shutoff valve. Clearly the drought has gotten to a point where we need to think more creatively about finding more reliable water supplies for the long-term. Until this point, the general public has had an aversion towards the large-scale use of recycled water. But could the drought change this mindset? In this piece, I will discuss the potential uses for this sometimes overlooked water supply and address how the drought may change this mindset. ... ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here: Will the Drought Change the Public’s Attitude Regarding Recycled Water?

Policy implications of Castle and colleagues on Colorado River Basin groundwater depletions: John Fleck writes: “Ever since we saw early glimpses last spring of data from Stephanie Castle, Jay Famiglietti and colleagues about groundwater depletion in the Colorado River Basin, I’ve been puzzling over the policy implications. Their data, published today in GRL, is worth an “OMG IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!” While we’ve been watching Lake Mead’s bathtub ring grow and the basin has lost 12 million acre feet of stored surface water in the last decade, aquifers have declined more than 40 million feet, essentially unnoticed. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Policy implications of Castle and colleagues on Colorado River Basin groundwater depletions

But is the basin scale the right way to look at Colorado River system groundwater losses? John Fleck follows up, writing:  “I think the answer to my rhetorical question in this post’s headline is obviously “no”. I think this is enormously useful data. But I’m still puzzling over who beyond clickbaiting bloggers like myself might use it, and how.  In his coverage of the GRACE Colorado Basin groundwater depeletion, Brett Walton at Circle of Blue included an interesting comment from Arizona’s Chuck Collum: ‘ Chuck Cullom, Colorado River manager at the Central Arizona Project, which delivers more than half of Arizona’s Colorado River allocation, said the study was helpful.      “The study is useful in using GRACE to verify at a coarse scale what water managers in the Basin know,” Cullom told Circle of Blue.'” … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Is the basin the wrong scale to look at Colorado River (or Rio Grande) system groundwater losses?

Two gigantic land swaps benefit private companies; need  water!, Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service writes:  “While Californians are fighting a terrible drought, two questionable land swaps in southern California are wholly dependent on BDCP imported water for development. With water, they will be able to realize multi-million $$$ earnings, so we must ask: is this the real reason Brown is pushing the BDCP so hard that he won’t let us vote on it? This column is about the major developer Catellus. ... ”  Read more from Burt Wilson here:  Two gigantic land swaps benefit private companies; need  water!


About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet.  Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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