Bloggers on groundwater, drought, climate change and more …

white globeNew groundwater policy brings California into the 21st century:  Marcus Griswold writes: “For decades, California’s voluntary Groundwater Management Plans have effectively failed to protect the people and ecosystems that depend on this water. Too many people are siphoning off water from our extremely limited resources, resulting in declining groundwater levels, sinking of land, and drying of streams. Without integrated groundwater and surface water management, California’s water users and the environment will face broad challenges accessing water supplies in future years.  But today, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a number of bills that could halt or reverse these declines. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here: New groundwater policy brings California into the 21st century

Blog Round Up

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Connecting the Dots: Drought, Climate Change, and Groundwater Regulation: Heather Cooley writes: “Although California is known as a leader when it comes to climate change, its approach to groundwater has been more reminiscent of the Wild West. Groundwater provides around 60 percent of the state’s water supply in dry years, but it has remained largely unregulated since the Gold Rush era. Today, California took a major leap forward into the 21st century as Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law aimed at protecting groundwater for current and future generations.  This year’s record-breaking dry conditions shined a spotlight on the state’s out-dated approach to groundwater. ... ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here: Connecting the Dots: Drought, Climate Change, and Groundwater Regulation

Crises as a catalyst for policy change:  Jeffrey Mount and Ellen Hanak write: “Today Governor Brown signed three bills that require portions of the state to start managing groundwater sustainably. These bills are historic. Until today, California was the only western state that did not regulate groundwater, typically the source of more than one-third of the state’s supply, and much more during dry years.  Why, after a century of failing to address much-needed reform, has the state finally acted on this problem? It’s the drought. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Crises as a catalyst for policy change

California’s Groundwater Legislation Wrap-up: The Potential Implications of this new “Ground-Breaking” Legislation: Jeff Simonetti writes: “Just how bad has the drought gotten in California? A few interesting articles last week crossed the wires about how water thefts are happening in places where you would least expect it. In Poway, the Volunteer Fire Department allegedly stole 10,000 gallons of water from Poway fire hydrants to fill up dry tanks that a Fire Department Board of Directors’ friend owned. In Los Gatos, the police removed a pipeline that regulators say a nudist colony was illegally using to divert water from the protected Hendry’s Creek. Both of these stories show just how desperate citizens, businesses and farmers are getting for water supplies. However, as California fights through the worst drought in recent history, water supply will continue to face more restrictions as the state plans to adopt the newly-passed groundwater legislation that Governor Brown just signed.  .... ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here: California’s Groundwater Legislation Wrap-up: The Potential Implications of this new “Ground-Breaking” Legislation

Is groundwater depletion keeping California fruits and veggies cheap during the drought: Tom Gleeson writes: “Food prices in the United States are increasing slightly but not as significantly as one might expect given the severe drought in California. Margret Munro, a science journalist with Postmedia, recently asked me a great question: is groundwater depletion keeping California fruit and veggies cheap during the severe drought? Following up on her article, here is what I found and what it means for the Central Valley aquifer system in California. … ”  Continue reading at the Water Underground blog here:  Is groundwater depletion keeping California fruits and veggies cheap during the drought

Groundwater: The law and the lawsuits: John Bass writes: “The flurry of excitement over California’s new, Governor-signed legislation is just that – a flurry. A thing that is only briefly present. Now comes the really interesting part, the What does this mean in practice, in law, access to records and research, in the ability for a state (or any unit of the commons) to regulate the use of private property.  … ”  Continue reading at the Delta National Park blog here: The law and the lawsuits

Q: When Is Land Subsidence Due to Groundwater Pumping Good? A: When You Say It Is: Michael Campana writes: “It is difficult to to believe that a groundwater geek such as WaterWired, who is fond of picking on California and its (formerly?) inept management of groundwater and groups that marginalize the importance of groundwater, would suggest that land subsidence due to excessive groundwater pumping could be considered good. How can the accompanying picture, depicting land subsidence in California’s Central Valley (almost 30 feet maximum), be illustrative of anything good? … ”  Continue reading from the Water Wired blog here: Q: When Is Land Subsidence Due to Groundwater Pumping Good? A: When You Say It Is

Water.wellDrought? What Drought? I’ve Got My Own Well!  Michael Campana and his wife stroll Ashland, Oregon: ” … When Mary Frances and I took a recent morning walk among the upscale residences here we encountered a lushly-landscaped home (not the only one, by the way) prominently displaying the sign you see to the right. I have seen signs like this before, usually in areas where there are drought restrictions imposed by utilities and/or municipalities.  If people are about, I usually ask them why they have the sign, although I generally know why ... ”  Read more from the Water Wired blog here:  Drought? What Drought?  I’ve Got My Own Well!

Water: We want it all:  Alex Breitler writes:  “The recent L.A. Times poll about water and the drought suggests the public is unwilling to make the tough choices that accompany times of shortage.  While likely voters were supportive of voluntary water conservation efforts (77 percent), they were considerably less enthusiastic about mandatory conservation (49 percent) and the possibility of increasing water rates (42 percent). ... ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Water: We want it all

Our disappearing snows: Climate change and water resources:  Peter Gleick writes:  “As the Earth has warmed over the past 30 years, the global water cycle has begun to change. In particular, our snows have begun to disappear. The implications for the water systems we’ve built and operate are vast and pervasive. And despite decades of research, observations, and outreach to water managers, we’re not ready.  Nearly three decades ago, as a young graduate student at the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, I published initial results from the core of my doctoral dissertation to integrate regional hydrologic models with output from the three major general circulation models of the climate in operation in the United States. … ”  Read more from Peter Gleick at the Huffington Post here:  Our disappearing snows: Climate change and water resources

Reclamation raises fish flows while humans go without water, says Todd Fitchette of the Western Farm Press Blog:  He writes: “California’s January drought declaration by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. may have declared that “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions…” but apparently the federal government didn’t get that memo.  That, or they’re willfully ignoring it as third-world conditions continue to increase throughout California.  A recent story in the Manteca Bulletin illustrates the pure lunacy I find evident within the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press Blog here:  Reclamation raises fish flows while humans go without water

Drought journal: Hope springs eternal: Peter Moyle and Rebecca M. Quiñones write: “Is the drought hastening the decline of California’s native fish? Will they be able to recolonize once normal conditions return?  To help find out, a team of researchers with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences took the pulse of about 70 streams and rivers across northern and central California this summer, examining habitat conditions and recording the composition and density of fish communities. The selected streams all have data from earlier fish surveys for comparison. Here, the scientists leading the effort report on some of the more obscure streams fed mainly by springs rather than snowmelt and rain runoff.”  Read this post at the California Water Blog here:  Drought journal: Hope springs eternal

Listen to the tree rings on Sacramento River hydrology:  Rod Smith at the Hydrowonk blog writes: “With a third and extreme year of drought, how will future hydrologic conditions compare to current ones? There are two strands of thought suggesting a challenging future: the 20th Century was an unusually wet period, and climate change will confront water managers with more severe drought conditions in the future.  For the Sacramento River watershed in California, there is unexpected good news. While California must confront variability in hydrologic conditions, Department of Water Resources’ recently released tree-ring data suggesting that current severe drought conditions do not signal that California will be facing more severe hydrologic conditions in the future. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Listen to the tree rings on Sacramento River hydrology

The two demands of radical farmers: Families Protecting the Valley begins with a recap of the year’s events, and then gets back to the headline:  ” … we will first let you know that we’re the radical farmers. That’s what environmentalists call us for what they say are our radical ideas. What are these radical ideas?  First of all, the San Joaquin River Restoration needs a re-do. This radical idea is so radical that Senator Dianne Feinstein said as much back in February in an interview with the Fresno Bee … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: The two demands of radical farmers

Does drought pricing violate state law?  Wayne Lusvardi writes:  “Calls now are going out to raise water prices even higher to spur conservation. Instead of fining people for watering their lawns, numerous economists are recommending just tacking a punitive surcharge onto water rates until use drops.  But there’s a problem with this drought fix: It would violate Proposition 218, which voters passed in 1996. It requires voter approval for any tax increase. And higher rates for using more water effectively are a tax on usage. CalWatchDog.com brought up the matter with Jon Coupal, president the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a major backer of Prop. 218 and defender in court of voter consent for taxes, especially punitive or luxury taxes. … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here: Does drought pricing violate state law?  Part 2 here: Fact-checking drought-water pricing

Are California municipal water rates too low to spur conservation? Wayne Lusvardi writes: “Water economists from both sides of the political spectrum are claiming that one reason California water use has actually increased 1 percent in a drought this year is that municipal water rates are too low. Free-market think-tank scribes and water economists, joining with those who advocate government solutions to drought, have called for higher water prices not by market but by government coercion. … ”  Read more from Master Resource here:  Are California municipal water rates too low to spur conservation?

Stanislaus County supervisor dodges hot (ground)water: Eric Caine writes: “Two things were crystal clear after Stanislaus County Supervisor Bill O’Brien met with members of the Stanislaus Water Coalition last Wednesday in Oakdale. One, Supervisor O’Brien wants no part in regulating water use in Stanislaus County. And two, members of the Stanislaus Water Coalition agree that the state’s 2040 deadline to achieve groundwater sustainability is far too distant to prevent serious and lasting harm from ongoing overdrafting of groundwater. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Supervisor dodges hot (ground)water

And lastly … TROUTS and EELS in a SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans!  [Cue scary B music movie stunner here]:  Jasper Hamill has all the details:  “Boffins have observed a worrying alliance between trout and eels, which have joined forces to launch a sea-had (jihad, geddit?) against other ocean-dwelling species.  Cooperation is as rare in the animal kingdom as it is in the United one, so fish-folk at the University of Cambridge were astonished to see two different underwater species working together.  They found that coral trout and eels actually cooperate as well or even better than chimpanzees, which are humanity’s closest relatives. … ”  Read more from The Register here: TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans

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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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