Bloggers on drought, reservoir levels, ag land going out of production, federal water wasters, the Delta tunnels, levees, high speed rail, water hyacinth, trees, fake grass, and more …

weird water
Weirdness with water drops, by Stuart Anthony

The California drought of 2015: A preview: Jay Lund writes, “This fourth year of drought is severe, but not yet the driest ever. The drought’s impacts are worsened by record heat, which has dried out soils and raised the demands for irrigation, and the historical high levels of California’s population, economy, and agricultural production, and historical low levels of native fish species. There is need for concern, preparation and prudence, but little cause for panic, despite some locally urgent conditions. … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here:  The California drought of 2015: A preview

Blog Round Up
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High and dry: Reservoir levels tell only half the story, leaving California dry as drought continues: Juliet Christian-Smith writes, “You’ve probably heard about the California drought by now. If you live in California, it’s hard to hear about anything else. Unfortunately, the drought may be even worse than we realize, because the way we often measure water supply doesn’t consider future water availability. By relying on measurements of current reservoir levels, agencies in charge of water distribution are missing an important part of the water supply picture, leaving their customers vulnerable to longer and more severe droughts.  … ”  Continue reading from the Equation blog here:  High and dry: Reservoir levels tell only half the story, leaving California dry as drought continues

On the Public Record thinks 3 million acres of irrigated land will go out of production by 2040:  OtPR writes, “It is my contention that about three million irrigated acres in California will go out of production in the next few decades. My estimate is the highest I have seen.  I break it down as follows: annual overdraft in the SJV is between 4.5-5MAF. When that stops, either because groundwater management agencies bring the basins into balance or because groundwater will drop too low to economically pump, about 1.5M acres will not have irrigation water available to them. ... ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here: Why I think 3 million acres of irrigated land will go out of production by, say, 2040.  Then, use the navigation links at the top or return here for follow-up posts: Going from 9.5ish million irrigated acres to 6ish million irrigated acres. WILL WE ALL DIE?, No really. What would it mean to go from 9.5M irrigated acres to 6M irrigated acres in California?, How will 3 million acres of irrigated land go out of production?

Stop the federal water wasters:  Harold Johnson writes, “If you came across somebody gasping with thirst, you wouldn’t give him one of those prank drinking cups that would trickle water down his shirt.  By the same token, in drought-parched California, we can’t afford to have federal environmental bureaucrats drilling holes in our dams.  Yet that’s what they’ve been doing, figuratively, by imposing Endangered Species Act regulations that have sent vast quantities of water straight out to sea. … ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here:  Stop the federal water wasters

What does the drought mean for the proposed Delta tunnels?  Doug Obegi writes, “California’s drought, now in its fourth year and showing no signs of abating, is causing terrible hardship and impacts across the state to rural communities, agricultural users, and fish and wildlife populations. The drought has been a proverbial punch in the mouth, and the drought – and California’s response to it – raise important questions about the viability and wisdom of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). So what does that punch in the mouth (drought) mean for BDCP? ... ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  What does the drought mean for the proposed Delta tunnels

Caring about levees during a drought:  Jeff Mount writes, “When the sun is shining and our rivers are low, we tend to forget about levees. However, you can’t ignore the 1,100 miles of levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These levees—dikes, actually—have high water against them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They protect the islands of the Delta from flooding that would occur daily because island elevations are well below sea level—more than 25 feet below in some places.  This video is a simulation of what would happen if a severe earthquake hit the western Delta, causing widespread failure of levees. The simulation is a worst-case scenario: failure occurs in the summer when freshwater inflow from rivers is low. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Caring about levees during a drought

Another reason to love high speed rail: It’s drought friendly:  Laura Bliss writes, “California’s high-speed rail project has plenty of critics: nearly half the state, in fact, according to last year’s polls. Its $68 billion price tag has most people anxious in the shadow of the state’s foreboding “wall of debt.” Others are baffled by the starting segment in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), between Madera and Fresno, calling it a “train to nowhere.” And some are upset that the mega-project is “drought intolerant.”  … The drought is likely to last for years, foreshadowing even more devastating dry spells in the future. Does high-speed rail—a money-hungry, high-intensity mega-project—spell sustainability, from a water perspective? ... ”  Continue reading at City Lab here:  Another reason to love high speed rail: It’s drought friendly

Alex Breitler’s plan to deal with the water hyacinth:  He writes, “Someone asked me on Twitter what the most viable plan is to attack water hyacinth.  Here is my expert opinion ... ”  Nope, not going to give any clues away.  Go read for yourself:  Alex Breitler’s hyacinth plan

New data shows California cities response to drought is uneven: Matthew Herberger writes, “As California heads into its fourth consecutive year of drought, and pronouncements about our water supply are increasingly dire, new data released by the state show that water use and water conservation efforts in cities across the state are highly uneven. Since June of 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board has required urban water suppliers to submit monthly reports of water use, in order to help track conservation efforts. As of now, the state has collected 8 months of data from about 400 water suppliers.  We have created a pair of online features to help readers explore and visualize urban water use in California:  ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute Insights blog here:  New data shows California cities response to drought is uneven

Trees in the city make us happier and healthier:  Nicole Kelley writes, “Trees are often touted for providing shade, cleaning our air and capturing the rain, but did you know trees also are living anti-depressants?  Recent studies show that trees make city-dwellers happier, healthier and more connected to their communities. Just a few of the reasons you should hug a tree today. … ”  Read more from the Tree People blog here:  Trees in the city make us happier and healthier

Reliving storms past: Bad Mom Good Mom writes, “I can’t bring rain to drought-plagued California, but I can bring virtual showers by making movies showing historic Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) that hit California.  ARs can be defined in terms of satellite measurements of “20 mm of water vapor and is > 2000 km long and < 1000 km wide.”  They average about 400 km wide.  First, I made a global animation of Dec 26, 2004 to January 11, 2005 so you can see atmospheric rivers peeling off from the moisture belt of the tropics and subtropics.  … ”  Continue reading at the Bad Mom Good Mom blog here:  Reliving storms past

Visualizing drought in the Sacramento Valley: The NCWA blog writes, “Some recent satellite imagery from NASA shows the drought impacts on agriculture and the environment in the Sacramento Valley. The following images compare the summer of 2011 (a wet year) versus the summer of 2014 (the third year of drought) in the Central Valley. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association Blog here:  Visualizing drought in the Sacramento Valley

How Southern California quietly doubled its 2014 supply of Colorado River water: John Fleck writes, “Resilience is a system’s ability to absorb a shock and still retain its basic structure and function.  Here, in one complicated table, is an example of the sort of institutional plumbing valves we need to build to increase resilience in the face of drought. It’s a table accounting for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s diversions of Colorado River Water in 2014, water that provided a buffer against California’s extraordinary drought, and it shows how Met essentially doubled the amount of water it was able to take from the Colorado River in 2014 to meet the needs of coastal cities … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  How Southern California quietly doubled its 2014 supply of Colorado River water

Deal to send rice water to Southern California could dry up by summer: Wayne Lusvardi writes, “The Sacramento Bee recently reported it’s a done deal to transfer water from Central Valley rice farmers to Southern California. The transfer would alleviate curtailments of urban water allocations.  But if California does not provide the full allocation to the owners of what are called “senior water rights,” the transfers are unlikely to happen.  Explaining water rights in a general context, according to Jay Lund, water resources professor at the University of California, Davis, “If you’re a senior water right holder, you’re the last to be shorted. So, all the junior water right holders that are junior to you will lose all of their water before you lose a drop.” … ” Read more from Cal Watchdog here:  Deal to send rice water to Southern California could dry up by summer

Skip the artificial turf: The value of native plants and the truth about fake grass:For decades Angelenos have maintained an image of the perfect suburban yard. We imagine homes with neatly trimmed hedges, colorful flower beds beneath the windows and a lush, green, well-manicured lawn rolling right up to the front door.  The perpetuation of this image has skewed our sense of natural beauty. Not only is that ideal simply not sustainable in our climate, but in order to achieve it people sometimes turn to what they think is a good alternative: artificial turf. In other words, fake grass. ... ”  Read more from the Tree People blog here:  Skip the artificial turf: The value of native plants and the truth about fake grass

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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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