Bloggers on the State Water Contractors lawsuit, Delta tunnel alternatives, CEQA exemptions, drought, water conservation, groundwater, the salmon cannon and more …

Space Dock by Brian Hawkins Sliderbox

“Space Dock” by Brian Hawkins

State Water Contractors are not satisfied until they grab every last drop of water out of the Delta Watershed, says Restore the Delta: Restore the Delta (RTD), the leading opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to the Metropolitan Water District and the State Water Contractor’s complaint against the State Water Resources Control Board that Delta farmers are stealing water that “belongs” to State Water Contractors.  “The pumps for the State Water Projects have yet to be turned off one day during the drought. Water quality standards are being violated in the Delta each and every day this year, impacting Delta urban water users and family farms. We are perilously close to losing Delta smelt, and our iconic salmon fisheries, and despite Delta family farms already taking a voluntary 25 percent reduction in water use, the State Water Contractors believe the Delta should be made into a complete sacrifice zone for their water exports,” said Restore the Delta executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  State Water Contractors are not satisfied until they grab every last drop of water out of the Delta Watershed

WhereTheWaterWent_copy_copyState Water Contractors respond to Restore the Delta, call it a “Delta Doozy”:  ” … Some Facts for the Record: The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation monitor how much water flows into the Delta, and how much water flows out of the Delta on a daily basis. Based on real-world measurements, the chart below provides a breakdown of where water has gone after entering the Delta since May 1. The State Water Project exported just 5% of Delta water since May 1. In dry and critically dry years, this low percentage is not unusual. Nor is the fact that landowners in the Delta take more water—by far—than the state and federal water projects combined.”  Sourced from the State Water Contractors webpage here:  The truth about Delta exports

Update:  Barbara Barrigan-Parilla offers her rebuttal at Michael Fitzgerald’s blog: She responds, “There is very little water flowing through the system, and what this graph doesn’t tell you is that Delta outflow is required to keep the exports pumps at Tracy from salting up.  The entire system is being managed for exports, so I stand by our statement. … ”  Read more here:  Delta Doozies and other spin

Blog Round Up

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Why water needs CEQA: Eric Caine writes, “The pipes extend in all directions from their exoskeleton pumping arrays, each one entering the ground like the alien proboscis of an off-world insect. Some of the arrays have as many as seven or eight 300 horsepower pumps, each one capable of lifting thousands of gallons of water a minute.  These powerful pumping systems are the signature apparatus of the industrial almond orchard, a favored investment of speculators looking for, “hard assets with outstanding market value and stellar outlook,” according to Trinitas Partners, a Bay Area investment group. In Stanislaus County, Trinitas Partners has exemplified the new investor/mega-farmer and driven many members of this ordinarily pro-farming community into spirited opposition to an ever-expanding forest of nut-bearing trees. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Why water needs CEQA

Bob Pyke responds to former Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson’s alternative to the Delta tunnels:  ” … There are not one but two pieces of wisdom in Craig Wilson’s commentary. The first has nothing to do with water conveyance but has to do with him noting that the word limits that are typically applied to Op-Eds in newspapers are insufficient to allow adequate discussion of complex issues. This is really important because it means that there is no readily available forum to respond adequately to official pronouncements and slanted arguments such as those being made in the TV advertisements being run in support of The Fix by Californians for Water Security. The fact that we are better off than Russia, where President Putin and his cronies control all the major media outlets, does not mean that we have close to a level playing field in expressing our opinions with adequate supporting arguments. There are important things that are usually lost in both short newspaper and TV reports. In particular, if one wants to get quoted in the press or heard on the air, you usually have to talk in catchy sound bites, to become what journalists called a quote machine in fact. ... ”  Continue reading here:  An open letter – Part 7

History, water, and Devin Nunes:  Eric Caine writes, “To hear Congressman Devin Nunes tell it, politics and litigation are tools used solely by radical environmentalists to further their goals of depopulating the San Joaquin Valley. Nunes just published an extended diatribe arguing that “the Natural Resources Defense Council and several other environmentalist groups” are engaged in a plot to remove 1.3 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland from production.  In what has become a recurring theme for Nunes and other political leaders who carry water for corporate agriculture, Nunes claimed today’s drought is for the most part man-made: “From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.” … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  History, water, and Devin Nunes

On the Public Record has some straight talk for Mr. Del Bosque:  OtPR writes, “I am among the almond blamers, and I am happy to explain my reasons for pointing at almonds (again). As always, I find that greater precision in speech would make additional explanations nearly unnecessary. Mr. Del Bosque says:  ‘A smart farmer is going to pick the crops the market wants. And every time someone buys food in the store, they’re telling us what we should be planting. What consumers are saying is: almonds. Plant almonds.’  [OtPR:] That isn’t exactly the dynamic. What is happening is that consumers on the other side of the world are saying “we’ll eat a relatively infinite number of almonds” and growers here are still, in this drought, planting almond acreage with no plans of slowing. ... ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here:  Some straight talk for Mr. Del Bosque

Californians and water conservation:  “In our May statewide survey, we found that 60 percent of Californians think people in their part of the state aren’t doing enough to respond to the current drought. The prevalence of this belief varies somewhat across regions. It turns out that Californians’ assessments of their neighbors’ efforts generally align with their area’s water conservation levels.  Earlier this month, the State Water Resources Control Board released conservation statistics for April 2015, showing how much each of the state’s ten hydrologic regions reduced its monthly water use compared to April 2013. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Californians and water conservation

One California policy response to rural water problems:  John Fleck writes, “California, in the depths of drought, is pushing for a modest policy initiative that could help deal with the problem of poor rural communities running short of water.  In the depth of New Mexico’s 2013 drought, I got really interested in the communities that were, and more importantly were not, running out of water. What was the difference?  The root answer, of course, was water. There wasn’t very much of it around. But given that reality facing so many communities, what separated those that were, and those that were not, running out? The answer I found was this vague thing folks have taken to label “capacity”. All the communities running out were rural, and rural is mostly far less affluent than urban here in New Mexico. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  One California policy response to rural water problems

The high cost of drought for low-income Californians:  “Californians across the state are feeling the impacts of the severe drought, now in its fourth year. Among those hit hardest are the state’s low-income residents and communities.  The worst impacts are occurring in poor rural communities. Rural residents generally rely on groundwater, from either their own wells or wells managed by small community systems. Even before the drought hit, contamination by nitrate and other pollutants was a big problem. With the drought, many wells are now going dry. These problems are now firmly on policymakers’ radar, but the solutions aren’t simple. Affordability is a major challenge, not only because of low incomes, but also because small systems don’t benefit from economies of scale. That makes infrastructure upgrades costly on a per-household basis. Costs of properly running the systems can also be quite high. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The high cost of drought for low-income Californians

Getting to groundwater sustainability:  Lori Pottinger writes, “David Orth’s involvement in California water issues spans nearly three decades, and in that time he’s seen at least four droughts, serious declines in Central Valley groundwater tables, major floods in the Central Valley, and a host of other water challenges. But to hear him tell it, nothing was quite so daunting as working on the recent state groundwater law. Orth is general manager for the Kings River Conservation District, a California Water Commissioner, and a key participant in the negotiations leading up to the enactment of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.We spoke at a recent event in Fresno about the challenges facing the new groundwater law.  ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Getting to groundwater sustainability

Unleash the salmon cannon: Now even salmon can realize dreams of flight. Last year, a device dubbed the “salmon cannon” rocketed to popular stardom with the help of John Oliver, when the late-night TV show host produced a segment launching fake salmon at the faces of a celebrity line-up. It wasn’t long before friends and family were asking whether FISHBIO had heard of “this salmon cannon thing.”  While it sounds like a spoof, the apparatus was actually developed by a company called Whooshh Innovations for a very practical purpose: to transport fragile items, such as fish or fruit, from point A to B in the most efficient way possible. The “cannon” is really a slick, flexible tube (maybe a bit more akin to a fish water slide). As a fish makes its way through a valve, a tube attached to a blower provides positive pressure behind the fish, and propels it through the flexible tube that gently seals around the fish. ... ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Unleash the salmon cannon

drought-infographic-06-15-15Planning for a dry year in the north state:  “As we approach summer in this fourth consecutive dry year, there have been significant reductions in water supplies in every part of the Sacramento Valley. The attached infographic shows the surface water supply reductions, by percentage, in every part of the Sacramento Valley. The water rights priority system is generally working as water suppliers have planned for reductions by developing alternative water management plans in response to the lack of surface water supplies. Land is being left fallow in many areas throughout the Valley. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here:  Planning for a dry year in the north state

Los Angeles:  Plan brings hope for locally sourced water:  Erika Abdelatif writes, “Did you know that only 11% of LA city’s water supply comes from local sources? What if we told you we could increase that number to thirty percent—or even forty five—by simply capturing rainwater? Thankfully, a partnership between TreePeople and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) could make those estimates a reality.  Currently, Los Angeles spends millions of dollars to import water from faraway places like the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and the Colorado River. Ironically, as we spend our resources on importing costs, we’re simultaneously allowing precious stormwater to run down our streets, straight into our oceans and rivers—collecting pollution and toxic chemicals along the way.  There is hope, however. ... ”  Read more from Tree People here:  Los Angeles: Plan brings hope for locally sourced water

Huffington Post: Laudato Si’ and Water: The Vatican’s Encyclical Letter and Global Water Challenges:The official text of the much-anticipated Vatican’s Encyclical Letter, “Laudato Si’” was released today. While considerable attention is being devoted to the sections of Pope Francis’s new Encyclical related to the threats of climate change, the letter also tackles many other environmental challenges, including biodiversity, food, and especially the critical issue of freshwater. Woven throughout is attention to the social and equity dimensions of these challenges and a deep concern for the poor.  The water sections of the Encyclical Letter focus on the disparities in access, quality, and use of water between the wealthier, industrialized parts of the world and poorer populations. It notes that in many parts of the world, exploitation of water is exceeding natural resource limits – the problem of “peak water” – while still failing to satisfy the needs of the poorest. … ”  Continue reading at the Pacific Institute’s Insights blog here: Huffington Post: Laudato Si’ and Water: The Vatican’s Encyclical Letter and Global Water Challenges

The artifice of artificial turf: Lisa Cahill writes, “You may have been hearing a lot of praise for fake grass in the media lately, but I’m here to set the record straight: Fake turf does more harm than good.  I’m not sure when I started hating artificial grass. Maybe it was when my beloved grandmother planted fake flowers in her garden beds so the Easter photos would “turn out nice.” For the record, I tried to pick them, and everyone laughed at us.  But I think it has to do more with the sheer fact that fake grass, or it’s trendier name—frass—has no place in a sustainable landscape. Let’s break this down a bit: How is something so awful so frequently touted a sustainable? … ”  Continue reading at the Tree People blog here:  The artifice of artificial turf

And lastly …  The Maven answers 10 questions for the Groundwater Act Blog:  Giving all my secrets away now … The Maven answers 10 questions

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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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