Bloggers on drought and water management, State Water Board’s TUCP decision, alarming headlines, fish versus people, Medicine Lake, and more …

You're fired
You’re fired!

Sao California: David Zetland of Aguanomics weighs in on the California drought:  He writes, “I was speaking to a reporter a few weeks ago about Sao Paolo, Brazil. He wanted my opinion on what would happen in their developing water shortage and how policy might minimize the harm to the millions of people living there.  My response to him (in short) was: 1: It’s too late to use price signals to ration water because (a) the rich will pay and get water the poor cannot afford and (b) demand has to drop a LOT faster. 2: Physical rationing will not work if people are connected to the network, since people facing service cuts — water delivered 6 hrs per day in each neighborhood, for example — will just fill tubs and tanks for insurance AND pressure changes will damage the network and water quality. and 3: Which leaves us with the de-industrialized option of closing down the network and distributing water in trucks ... ”  What does this have to do with California?  Read on from Aguanomics here:  Sao California

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The scorching of California – How green extremists made a bad drought worse: Victor Davis Hanson writes, “In mid-December, the first large storms in three years drenched California. No one knows whether the rain and snow will continue—only that it must last for weeks if a record three-year drought, both natural and man-made, is to end. In the 1970s, coastal elites squelched California’s near-century-long commitment to building dams, reservoirs, and canals, even as the Golden State’s population ballooned. Court-ordered drainage of man-made lakes, meant to restore fish to the 1,100-square-mile Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, partly caused central California’s reservoir water to dry up. Not content with preventing construction of new water infrastructure, environmentalists reverse-engineered existing projects to divert precious water away from agriculture, privileging the needs of fish over the needs of people. Then they alleged that global warming, not their own foolish policies, had caused the current crisis.  … ”  Read more from the City Journal here:  The scorching of California

The problem with Victor Davis Hanson’s case for California water policy failures:  “In a twitter discussion this morning, Brian Jordan shared a telling graphic that exposes the problems with Victor Davis Hanson’s recent City Journal essay about California’s water problems. Hanson’s argument is that California abandoned a dam-building program that, had it been pursued, would have provided the necessary storage to meet needs in this year of drought: [quoting Hanson] ‘Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition.’ Hanson’s reflexive culture wars rhetoric makes him painful to read … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  The problem with Victor Davis Hanson’s case for California water policy failures

A little is too much to ask: You probably haven’t heard about the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) decision not to allow even a tiny amount of additional water diverted out of the Delta for SoCal and the Central Valley except under “very limited circumstances” (See it here). The request is called a Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUPC).  we hate to flood you with initials, but it’s the only flood you’re going to get. We haven’t seen any stories about all this except for the one below in the Stockton Record. 
The media apparently doesn’t think it’s much of a story, and they’re right. It’s not. It’s just a story about some farmers and thirsty people trying to get a little bit of relief from the water experts who run the water show in California. It’s not much water we’re talking about, and that’s probably why they don’t think it’s a big story. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  A Little Is Too Much to Ask!

Temporary Urgency – permanent extinction? Restore the Delta writes, “Releasing his latest Delta water quality order late on March 5th, Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board, added a loophole allowing state and federal water contractors reliant on Delta exports to tell the state and federal water project operators they need more health and safety water supplies.  State and federal operators must merely inform the State Water Board they will export more from the Delta to meet those claims for water.  This is a loophole you can drive a Mack truck through. Clearly the busloads of farmworkers paid to attend the February 18th Water Board workshop by Westlands Water District provided the necessary political theater for Howard and the Board to change the original exports limit. ... ”  Read more from the Delta Flows here:  Temporary Urgency – permanent extinction?

On headlines: John Fleck writes, “Here’s a reader quiz. Which headline would be more like to draw your click? 1: “California has about one year of water left.” 2:“California has about one year of reservoir storage and then we must rely even more on groundwater”  The first is the headline the Los Angeles Times put atop a Jay Famiglietti op-ed last Friday. It was a scary as hell, a click-generating machine. OMG, California’s gonna run out of water! Why aren’t we talking more about this? ... ”  Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here:  On headlines

Fish versus people? Nonsense! Eric Caine writes, “With rivers running dry, reservoir levels dropping, and no rain in sight, it was probably inevitable that local politicians and their allies try to sell the tattered old false dilemma of, “Fish vs People.”  Back in the 1980s and 90s it was “Owls vs People.” That was when the Endangered Species Act was invoked to save old forest habitat for Spotted Owls. Foresters and others whose jobs depended on logging claimed the government had chosen owls before people.  Now, absurd as it is, the cry, “Fish vs People,” rings out at every gathering where people learn that California’s long binge on “paper water” has come to end. Then, the words are repeated in headlines and news reports throughout the state. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Fish versus people?  Nonsense!

Pit River tribe and allies unite to save Medicine Lake:  Dan Bacher writes, “On March 12, the Pit River Tribe and their Native American and environmental allies optimistically left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco following oral arguments in their long legal battle to protect the Medicine Lake Highlands from geothermal destruction and desecration. The Pit River people, the lead defendants in the case, are fighting in court to defend the Highlands, known to them as “Saht Tit Lah.” The Pit River, Wintun, Karuk, Shasta and Modoc Nations hold the Medicine Lake Highlands sacred, and have used the region for healing, religious ceremonies and tribal gatherings for thousands of years.  … ”  Read more from Dan Bacher here:  Pit River tribe and allies unite to save Medicine Lake

Salmon finding a home in my backyard – could it be? Peter Moyle writes, “The sound of splashing drew me to the stream. A dark finned back cut the surface. Salmon? The fish came into view and its snout was a giveaway, maroon-hued and curved like a hook.  This was a spawning male Chinook salmon. It alternated between chasing another hooknose and two jacks, small males that sneak in to add their sperm to the mix when a standard male and female are spawning.  The source of the commotion soon became clear: A mottled female was turned on her side and fluttering her tail in a patch of clean gravel, digging a nest, or redd. Several small rainbow trout hovered nearby, waiting to feast on loose eggs. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Salmon finding a home in my backyard – Could it be?

Sturgeon rescue:  Alex Breitler writes, “Check out the patience of state fish and wildlife officers, who spent 20 minutes reviving this large white sturgeon on the Sacramento River near Clarksburg last week.  The fish was taken by a poacher who had thrown the fish in the back of his truck, officials said. … ” Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Sturgeon rescue

Legal intern surveying local agencies about SGMA: Louise Dyble writes, “Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) local agencies are in the driver’s seat when it comes to addressing one of the state’s most important and difficult environmental challenges: preserving and managing aquifers to ensure the future health and prosperity of California.  Having followed the development and passage of this landmark legislation with interest over the past year, I am very excited to have the opportunity to help ensure its success. My job as a legal extern at Governor’s Office of Planning and Research this spring is to support and inform local agency implementation of SGMA. … ”  Read more from the Groundwater Act blog here:  Legal intern surveying local agencies about SGMA

Water demand compels future societal choices:The demand for water is straining the available supply. This demand requires a series of critical societal choices to be made locally, regionally, and nationally.  Fresh water is a finite resource, renewable annually yet variable through time and space. Societies rely on both surface and groundwater supplies for normal water uses but growing water demand has increased groundwater withdrawals. Climate change has exacerbated our available, fresh water supply by changing annual precipitation patterns, timings, and types. Humanity has also decreased surface and groundwater supplies through pollution and salinization. … ” David Cehrs Opinion: ‘Water Demand Compels Future Societal Choices’

USDA’s Bay Delta Initiative Enables Landowners to Remove Insecticides from California’s Walker Creek: “Water in California’s Walker Creek is now safer for residents, farmers and wildlife because of the hard work of conservationists, with funding made available through Bay Delta Initiative, (BDI), an effort of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS).  The Bay Delta region, located in the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds of California, encompasses over 38 million acres and is one of the most important estuary systems in the nation. BDI helps clean and conserve water in this region as well as enhance wildlife habitat.  BDI helped a landowner coalition create a watershed management plan to prevent chlorpyrifos from entering the creek through agricultural runoff. … ”  More from the USDA blog here: USDA’s Bay Delta Initiative Enables Landowners to Remove Insecticides from California’s Walker Creek

Photo credit: You’re fired! by John&Fish

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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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