Bloggers on the drought, 60 minutes omission, groundwater, the water bond, clean water rule, and more …

Steamy morning
Steamy Morning, by Agustin Rafael Reyes

Competing water futures for California:  “California is at a crossroads.  One path offers green cities, sustainable farms, flowing rivers, and thriving fish and wildlife.  The other promises desiccated rivers, waterless taps, bird-free skies, and the parched remnants of fields abandoned after the wells run dry.  The better path is clear.  Whether policymakers choose to follow it is anything but. Door Number One:  An Emerald Path for the Golden State: California has abundant examples of promising new technologies and policies to help respond to the current drought and embark on a path to a sustainable water future.  A broad coalition of conservation, environmental justice, and fishing groups today released a comprehensive set of actions that can be implemented to realize that future.  While the actions include more than 50 separate recommendations, they fall into a few clear categories: … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here: Competing Water Futures for California

60 MinutesGlaring Omission On Groundwater Scarcity: Denise Robbins writes: “A 60 Minutes report on groundwater depletion brought attention to a critical issue that many regard as a national security threat, but failed to mention the inherent connection between water scarcity and climate change.  The November 16 edition of 60 Minutes featured a segment on the threat of groundwater scarcity titled “Depleting the Water.” In it, host Leslie Stahl covered the severe droughts around the world that are leading people to extract fresh water from the ground at unsustainable rates, warning that “the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water.” … ”  Read more from Media Matters here:  60 MinutesGlaring Omission On Groundwater Scarcity

Blog Round Up
Click to read more Blog Round-Ups.

Aquatic plants: unsung but prime salmon habitat:For decades, California’s management and restoration of salmon and trout populations have focused on principles rooted in coastal redwood streams, mostly fed by rainfall runoff. These concepts portray ideal salmonid habitat as deep pools, shallow riffles and “large woody debris,” such as fallen trees and limbs.  Recent studies on spring-fed streams challenges this mindset. The findings strongly suggest these streams should play a larger role in the recovery and management of sensitive cold-water species, particularly salmonids. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Aquatic plants: unsung but prime salmon habitat

Can the State Reverse Downward Trend of Groundwater Supplies?: Eric Caine writes:  ““Why not do a mass balance?” said Vance Kennedy. “It’s unsustainable on the face of it.”  Kennedy was speaking during a question and answer session with Doreen, “DeDe,” D’Adamo, a member of California’s State Water Resources Control Board. D’Adamo was in Oakdale last Wednesday to meet with members of the Stanislaus Water Coalition, a group concerned with groundwater issues in eastern Stanislaus County. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here: Can the State Reverse Downward Trend of Groundwater Supplies?

Best use of water bond money now at the forefront: Todd Fitchette writes: “California’s Proposition 1 passed. That’s the good news – at least tentatively.  An editorial in one northern California newspaper that went on record ahead of the November election to oppose the California water bond measure on philosophical grounds asks a very logical next question.  Now what? ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press Blog here: Best use of water bond money now at the forefront

Water … unfinished business:  Billie Greer writes:  “Facing a fourth year of drought, many Californians reacted to voter approval of the water bond measure on the November ballot with a sigh of relief. It felt good and it is good — an important step forward. But we’re not finished, as more needs to be done, both over the short and long term, to get us through this period of drought and the next ones that are sure to come.  Some of the answers rest with the recommended actions set forth in the California Water Plan’s latest update, which has just been issued. ... ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here:  Water … and unfinished business

If Families Protecting the Valley held a drought forum …  They write:  “The Western Governor’s Association Drought Forum is being held in Sacramento where California Governor Jerry Brown said that taking on the drought will “test our imagination, our science and our political capacity to collaborate.” According to the article below he also “highlighted the need for creative thinking and continued conservation.” That’s how governors like to talk, big sweeping ideas that say little or nothing, but sound good. It looks like a lot of nothing to us. Now, if we had a drought forum we would put forth some ideas on how to get something done right now. Here is the Families Protecting the Valley Drought Forum itinerary: … ”  Continue reading here:  If We Had a Drought Forum

Water vs. Wildlife: Is there a happy medium as drought grips the West?: Jeff Simonetti writes: “We have all read about the negative effects of the drought on businesses and citizens. Farmers left an estimated 400,000 to 800,000 acres of land fallow during the year, causing approximately $1.7 billion in economic damages. Despite all of the damages, I did find one industry that is actually relishing in the drought: For all you California and Oregon wine lovers, you might want to stock up on the 2014 vintage.  The Wall Street Journal reports that growers in California and Oregon believe that the 2014 vintage may be some of the best wines in the last few years. Unlike some other important crops in California, grape vines are in general very drought tolerant. In some areas, grape vines receive little to no irrigation. Also, the hot, dry weather naturally reduced grape yields. The grapes that did grow have much more concentrated sugars, leading to bolder flavors and better tasting wines. … ”  Read more at the Hydrowonk blog here: Water vs. Wildlife: Is there a happy medium as drought grips the West?

Deal allows L.A. to plow the Owens dry lakebed:  Emily Green writes: “A deal struck last week between Los Angeles and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District puts the city back on track to satisfy terms of the Owens Valley dust suppression agreement struck under Mayor Richard Riordan in the 1990s. While oversold in the Los Angeles Times as a “truce in a decades-long dispute over water and dust,” the new deal ends a three-year-long court bid by the city to avoid on-going environmental remediation work that it didn’t want to do, spending money that it didn’t want to spare and sacrificing water that it wanted to keep. … ”  Continue reading at the Chance of Rain blog:  Deal allows L.A. to plow the Owens dry lakebed

Will MWD try — again — to sabotage client seeking new water supplies? Chris Reed writes: “I’ve been a journalist in Socal since 1990, and I’ve never seen a story about government behavior as strange as the ones about the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California trying to sabotage its biggest client’s efforts to broaden its water supply and reduce its reliance on the MWD — shades of “Chinatown.” A milder version of this has happened in recent years, but it doesn’t compare with the shadowy malice of the first effort. which came in a … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Will MWD try — again — to sabotage client seeking new water supplies?

BDCP is busy treading water until funding is approved:  Burt Wilson writes:  “When the US Environmental Protection Agency trashed the BDCP’s EIR/EIS as a violation of the federal Clean Water Act that would increase harm to endangered fish species, the BDCP immediately went into hiding, promising to emerge sometime next January or February with a “recirculation” of the EIR/EIS chapters that were called into question. “Recirculation” means that they will try to re-write the chapters to satisfy all the damaging complaints (over 10,000 complaints were received!) and to, generally, make future complaints go bye-bye. … ”  Read more from Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service here:  BDCP is busy treading water until funding is approved

The Valley Citizen’s Hyper-Guide to Groundwater: “Especially since the state of California required local authorities to achieve groundwater sustainability, Stanislaus County Supervisors have been under growing pressure to address the fact that pumping groundwater for over 30,000 acres of nut trees on the county’s east side is unsustainable.  The Supervisors and the committee they appointed to deal with the problem, the Stanislaus Water Advisory Committee (WAC), have repeatedly cited the need for more information. Almost in unison, the General Manager for the Oakdale Irrigation District just recently argued there’s no groundwater emergency and cited the need for more information, claiming there’s no need for, “sweeping regulations that could limit pumping.”  … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here: The Valley Citizen’s Hyper-Guide to Groundwater

The water haves and have nots:  “I have to admit that after almost a year of live tweeting California’s drought — and what seems likely to be at least another year of the same — there are stretches of time where I can’t help but feel totally numb to the amount of apocalyptic information that I have to sort through on a daily basis. But, today, there are a few things that have gotten my attention. First, yesterday 60 Minutes did a really great segment on drought and groundwater depletion in California and around the world. … ”  Read more from the Science Unicorn here:  The water haves and have nots

California drought response lacking key recommendation: Tina Page writes:  “Freedom and common sense collide somewhere west of the Mohave Desert in a land called Los Angeles. As a California resident, I’ve heard of this record-breaking drought, but there’s nothing here to indicate it really exists.  While Central Coast Coho Salmon go extinct for lack of river water, I’m free to soak a patch of grass that has no business growing in this climate.  Regulations and laws have been passed indicating what times I can legally waste water on the lawn, but we all know the cops have better things to do and the water posse has yet to be organized. ... ”  Read more from Greener Ideal here:  California drought response lacking key recommendation

Dried-up information: education of California’s drought is weak: Danielle Hamer at Carlmont High School writes:  ““Rain, rain go away” is a thing of the past in California as the drought has worsened many areas of the state. However, awareness and understanding of the drought may not be increasing along with it.  As San Carlos and surrounding San Mateo county cities impose water measures during California’s current dry period, it has become apparent that some citizens are not educated enough about the drought in order to be prepared to conserve water. ... ”  Read more from Scot Scoop here:  Dried-up information: education of California’s drought is weak

With rivers tapped out, Western cities turn to agriculture:  Jennifer Pitt writes:  “I’ve been a student of water use, storage and transportation for decades, but it wasn’t until I saw the effects of Colorado’s urban growth from a small plane, 1,000 feet above ground, that it really hit me: the West is getting a new look.  As we continue to push Western water supplies beyond their limits, growing cities are gradually idling farmland to meet their own water needs. It’s leaving a patchwork of permanently fallowed fields that can stretch for miles in either direction. ... ”  Read more from EDF’s Voices blog here: With rivers tapped out, Western cities turn to farmers’ water rights

Protecting watersheds as we grow our cities and towns: Kaid Benfield writes: “We don’t have to choose between a growing population and healthy economy, on the one hand, and a healthy and sustainable environment, on the other. We really can have it both ways.  But we need to be smart about it. I’m particularly interested in smart strategies that deliver greener, healthier cities and towns while allowing them to grow. In an earlier article, I wrote about how smart land use planning can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. It turns out that some of the same strategies can help clean our waterways as well. … ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  Protecting watersheds as we grow our cities and towns

Truth in Trouble: ‘The Exaggerator’ talks about the clean water rule: Lobbyists representing industries that pollute the nation’s waterways have been attacking a new clean water proposal with a flood of overstatement, dishonesty, and flat-out falsehoods. It seems that Jim (in our video above), has fallen victim to some of these myths. In reality, the proposed rule from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers protects waterways, stops polluters, and helps keep our families safe. And that’s no exaggeration.”  Read more about this video at Jon Devine’s blog at the NRDC Switchboard blog here: A Little Humor About Something Big and Serious: “The Exaggerator” Talks About the Clean Water Proposal


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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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