Blog round-up: Immanuel Kant and the California Water Crisis, Is Australia’s water rights system coming to CA?, Delta stressors, water cuts, drought, and more …


Immanuel Kant and the California Water Crisis: Johnathan Zasloff writes, “Last week’s rain in southern California will hardly make a dent in the state’s devastating drought, and it raises an important question for individual consumers: exactly how should we decide how much water to use? There are obvious things: don’t hose down your driveway, take shorter showers, do full loads in the washer. But there are a lot of other decisions to make, and it isn’t clear to me how to go about choosing.  So consider this as an example: ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  Immanuel Kant and the California Water Crisis

Australia’s water rights system: A look at things to come in the state of California, post-drought?  Jeff Simonetti writes, ” … Some pundits and lawmakers are looking into the possibility of re-examining the State’s often complex water rights system. Governor Brown alluded to the point that California may review its water rights system when he announced mandatory water restrictions in April. He called the water rights system “archaic” and commented, “Some people have a right to more water than others. That’s historic. That’s built into the legal framework of California. If things continue at this level, that’s probably going to be examined, but as it is, we do live with a somewhat archaic water law situation.” Recent articles have cited the Millennium Drought in Australia and the wholesale changes that the country made to its water rights system in the aftermath of the drought as a roadmap to what changes California may be able to make. However, as Governor Brown mentioned in his quote, California has more than a century of water rights law “built into the legal framework of California.” Are the changes that Australia made to its water rights system applicable to California? From a political and practical standpoint, would the Australian water rights system have a chance of passing through the myriad of California’s government agencies that would have to agree to these changes?  … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Australia’s water rights system: A look at things to come in the state of California, post-drought?

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Many Delta stressors impacting Delta health and Delta smelt:  The California Farm Water Coalition blog writes, “There are far bigger issues affecting the Delta than water exports and returning to a time prior to Western development is unrealistic.  To describe the Delta as altered is to say that New York City is populous or California water politics contentious. Since the 19th century when locals began to reclaim the marshlands, dike the rivers, and develop settlements on the rivers- the history of the Delta has long been one of change. California’s largest river delta, the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta has been forever altered by human habitation. Little remains of the complex estuary network of tidal wetlands, freshwater rivers and recurring saline incursions. ... ”  Read more here:  Many Delta stressors impacting Delta health and Delta smelt

Water cuts hit farmers:  James Poulos writes, “As state policymakers turned their eye on reforming groundwater rules, California’s farmers sought a new deal on water rights, voluntarily proposing to slash their own consumption.The latest cascade of cuts underscored fears that current rationing rules just weren’t enough to put residents on a viable path to resource security. “This week, a group of farmers who enjoyed a so-called riparian right to as much water as they needed from the San Joaquin River sought to strike a bargain with state officials,” the Washington Post reported. “They would voluntarily cut the amount they use by 25 percent in exchange for keeping the remaining 75 percent for irrigation, even as the drought continues.”  That put the ball in the hands of the head of the State Water Resources Control Board, who has final say over whether the deal goes through. … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Water cuts hit farmers

Whose fault is the California drought this time?  The everybody else edition: Julia Carrie Wong writes, “It’s hard for Californians to really enjoy a nice, long, hot shower or a handful of almonds these days, thanks to the drought and its constant companion, drought-rage. You can’t water your estate’s lawn, blow up a kiddie pool, or start a water-bottling business without someone shaking his head in dismay.  But the New York Times came through for Californians today with some beautiful, drought-shame-resistant ground cover: an interactive feature that proves the drought is really everybody else’s fault.  ... ”  Continue reading at the SF Weekly blog here:  Whose fault is the California drought this time? The everybody else edition

A (sometimes) beautiful equilibrium:  Dan Farber writes, “John Nash and his wife died yesterday in a cab crash while returning from a trip to Norway to receive a major mathematical prize.  He is best known to the public because of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, which described his struggle with mental illness.  His concept of the Nash Equilibrium is basic to a great deal of economic theory.  It also has a lot to tell us about environmental issues.  The fundamental idea is very simple.  Consider a situation where a finite number of players (individuals, companies, countries) each has a finite number of possible strategies.  The combination of strategic choices made by these players determines the payoff to each of them.  Nash proved that there is always a defection-proof set of strategies.  That is, knowing the choices made by the other players, no player would ever want to change its own strategy. … ”  Read on for how this relates to groundwater here:  A (sometimes) beautiful equilibrium

Ten questions with Felicia Marcus:  The Groundwater Act Blog has the first in a series of 10 question interviews with people involved with California water policy, starting with Felicia Marcus:  “Q: Tell us a little about your background?  A: It’s kind of an eclectic background. I moved into environmental work when I was a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, taking a break to try domestic policy before heading off to graduate school to focus on US-China relations (I had been an East Asian Studies major in college).   Then Love Canal happened, and I saw that the environment affected public health and people of all income levels vs. protecting rich people’s backyard views. I was hooked. I’ve done air, water, recycling and toxics, and land conservation. I’m kind of ecumenical when it comes to environmental issues, but water has a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. … ”  Read more from the Groundwater Act Blog here:  Ten questions with Felicia Marcus

Water cutbacks in the Sacramento Valley: More than 25% in every part of the Valley:  The NCWA blog writes, “Water supplies in the Sacramento Valley have been reduced more than 25 percent in every part of the Sacramento Valley this year—with many areas having their surface supplies reduced 100 percent. Importantly, these cutbacks will have a negative impact on all the water uses in the region, including cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds and recreation.  The December and February storms in Northern California led to storage in certain reservoirs that is higher than 2014, which will help the region get through this year. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Water cutbacks in the Sacramento Valley

Improving water quality in the Sacramento Valley:  Bruce Househeldt writes, “For more than a decade the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition (Coalition) has brought together farmers, ranchers, wetlands managers, conservation organizations, water resources managers, resource conservation districts and Agricultural Commissioners to implement a “Regional Plan for Action” that focuses on improving surface water quality. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Improving water quality in the Sacramento Valley

Oakdale Irrigation District’s water math:  Eric Caine writes, “Thursday, May 14, Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) General Manager Steve Knell told a group of local farmers he was more worried about OID’s financial situation than he was about the drought.  Knell said OID lost $7 million last year and would lose $10 million this year. “Those losses will be made up with water sales,” he added.  Knell is a staunch advocate of water sales, euphemistically known as “water transfers.” Over the past ten years, OID has sold nearly 400,000 acre feet of water outside the region. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Oakdale Irrigation District’s water math

Not my grandpa’s Metropolitan Water District:  John Fleck writes, “In 1952, Robert Gottlieb and Margaret FitzSimmons explain in their 1991 book Thirst for Growth, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California essentially extended a promise to the communities it served: build away, we’ll get you the water as needed. It came in the form of the “Laguna Declaration” (so named because of the lovely beach community where the declaration was signed) ... ” Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here:  Not my grandpa’s MWD Daily emails

Photo credit: Air drops by photophllde.

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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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