Bloggers on water rights, the clean water rule, poll supporting farm water, getting more crops per drop, using agroecology to survive droughts, is Gov. Brown and enviro saint or sinner? and more …

Bill Gracey Infrared Tree
Infrared tree by Bill Gracey

Water rights: What’s next?  On the Public Record writes, “This week we get a lengthy article on the problems of our water rights system and an op-ed pointing out that the Reasonable Use Doctrine is just sitting there, waiting for the State Board to ask it to come out and play.  I thought Wilson’s op-ed on the Reasonable Use Doctrine was about as strong as a mainstream participant can be while remaining mainstream.   He proposes that the State Board could decide that it isn’t reasonable to overdraft groundwater with no plans to replenish it.  I’ve suggested that it isn’t reasonable to plant permanent crops without an assured water supply for them.  He says there is real strength in the Reasonable Use Doctrine that the State Board could use to help manage water, instead of trying to work through the curtailments process of our water rights system or adjudication.  My main objection to using the Reasonable Use Doctrine the way Wilson proposes is that it could be a bridge, something that keeps our current water rights system in place but makes it work just enough to keep.  … ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here:  What’s next?

Corps and the EPA clean water rule attacked by … the Corps?  Reed Hopper writes, “We have been reporting on numerous challenges to the Corps and EPA’s new rule redefining “waters of the United States” for weeks, including our own.  More than 10 suits have been filed across the country challenging the rule for violating the Clean Water Act, controlling Supreme Court decisions, and long-held limits on federal authority under the Constitution.  Now we hear the “joint” rule was pushed through by EPA over Corps objections that the rule is “legally vulnerable” and “difficult to implement.”  This is government speak for “this is a bad law”.   According to this detailed Bloomberg article, top officials at the Corps of Engineers warned  the final rule was shoddy and ill-advised.  We agree, and so do the 70 parties, including 30 states, who have sued the Corps and EPA to overturn the rule. ... ”  Read more from the PLF Liberty blog here:  Corps and the EPA clean water rule attacked by … the Corps?

Poll affirms American’s support for farm water:  The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “Americans have confirmed their support for farmers’ use of water to produce food and fiber during times of scarcity in a recent poll by AP-GfK.  The drought now affecting California and other Western states has captured the public’s attention, with the majority of those polled (56 percent) noting that they are following news about the drought somewhat, or extremely/very closely. With the eyes of the nation on California’s problems, the public recognizes that our states’ farms are being threatened-with 74 percent believing that water for agriculture should be a priority, more than any other water use. … ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: Poll affirms American’s support for farm water

But what about those polls?  Someone twittered or emailed me this blog entry (sorry, I can’t remember who) about GfK polls that was published this year: AP/GfK Polls Have Fetidness Of A Right-wing Survey Authority, so I suppose like any other poll, take it with a grain of salt …

The challenges of getting more crop per drop:  “The continuing drought is having a big ripple effect in California agriculture. We talked to David Zoldoske, the director of Fresno State’s Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) and a member of the Water Policy Center’s research network, about trends in farm water management.  PPIC: How well is California agriculture doing in terms of water efficiency in recent years?  David Zoldoske: The big change is that the state’s growers are investing heavily in drip and micro-irrigation systems, and very soon there will more acreage using these efficient systems than flood or furrow irrigation. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The challenges of getting more crop per drop

Drought of Sight, Drought of Mind: Agroecology, not Amnesia, to Survive the Droughts of the Future: Marcia de Longe writes, “Do you remember: (a) Where the Olympic Games were held in 2012? (b) the name of the hurricane that devastated the East Coast that year? (c) who won the 2012 World Series? (d) What percent of the US was covered by the 2012 drought? or (e) out of the top 100 costliest US disasters recorded, where that drought ranked? How did you do? If you got (d) and (e), I’m impressed. But, my guess is that many people either never knew, or can’t remember, the scope of the 2012 drought. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  Drought of Sight, Drought of Mind: Agroecology, not Amnesia, to Survive the Droughts of the Future

The politics of California’s water system:  Will Parrish writes, “In a decision bursting with symbolism, the California State Water Resources Control Board recently announced its intention to draw down the main water supply reservoir for a half-million people who live just outside of the state capitol to only 12% of capacity by September 30. Lake Folsom on the American River — the main water source for Roseville, Folsom, and other Sacramento suburbs — will plummet to 120,000 acre-feet by that date, according to a forecast by the water board, which announced the plan at an unusually lively Sacramento workshop on June 24. The artificial lake will therefore be only months away from turning into a dreaded “dead pool,” a state in which a reservoir becomes so low it cannot drain by gravity through a dam’s outlet. Such an outcome would leave area residents scrambling for water — if recent predictions of an El Niño weather pattern fizzle and rain fails to appear later in 2015. If that were to happen, then Folsom could be a harbinger for the rest of California. ... ”  Read more from Counter Punch here:  The politics of California’s water system

California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental saint or sinner?  Richard Frank writes, “California Governor Jerry Brown has had a most eventful 2015, especially when it comes to environmental policy.  He started the year fresh from an overwhelming election victory last November, earning him an unprecedented fourth term as California’s chief executive.  Brown began 2015 by declaring a state drought emergency and becoming California’s “educator-in-chief,” repeatedly warning state residents of the perils of and measures needed to respond to California’s four-year, worst-ever drought.  And this summer Governor Brown has positioned himself as perhaps the world’s most prominent sub-national political leader when it comes to the global challenges and opportunities associated with climate change.  His highly-visable speech at a Vatican climate change conference convened by Pope Francis last month cemented that role: Brown urged world action largely consistent with that advocated in the Pope’s recent climate change and environmental Encyclical.  (Governor Brown was a Jesuit seminary student in his youth, before embarking on a long career in politics.) … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental saint or sinner?

DWR updates Sacramento Valley groundwater information:  “Earlier this week, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted a webinar briefing on the recently-released California’s Groundwater Update 2013: A Compilation of Enhanced Content for California Water Plan Update 2013 (Groundwater Update).  According to DWR, the goal for the Groundwater Update is “to provide foundational information to improve the statewide and regional understanding of groundwater conditions and management programs” and “help set the stage for future Bulletin 118 [California’s Groundwater report] and California Water Plan updates, and help local and regional agencies plan for sustainable groundwater management by providing an on-going reporting of essential groundwater data, information, and analyses.” ... ” Read more from the NCWA blog here:  DWR updates Sacramento Valley groundwater information

Napa strings together a ‘living river’: In the historic heart of Napa Valley, a moderate climate and the alluvial soils deposited by the Napa River create perfect conditions for world-class cabernets. An acre of vines here sells for around $300,000, or 25 times the state average for irrigated cropland.  Yet a group of landowners have ripped out 20 acres of these prized vineyards to make room for river restoration, with levee setbacks, terraced banks and native plants.  The project runs the length of Rutherford Reach, a 4.5-mile stretch of the Napa River between St. Helena and Oakville. Landowners say the changes will bring economic benefits over the long term by reducing crop losses from floods and plant disease. Most of all, they feel good about giving back to the river that has brought them so much. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Napa strings together a ‘living river’

Water, history, and the environment, part 3:  Eric Caine writes, “Even though the state has mandated sustainable use of groundwater resources, there’s still a lot of misinformation about groundwater, rivers, and aquifers. Sometimes the misinformation appears in mainstream media and adds to public confusion about the harm caused by overdrafting groundwater.  That’s what happened in a recent Modesto Bee opinion piece by Janie Gatzman. Gatzman is an appraiser with American AgCredit. In “Orchards on the east side are not a new trend,” Gatzman argued that groundwater-dependent farming in Stanislaus County’s eastern foothills is sustainable because decades-old farms have not, “caused land subsidence, widespread residential well failures or significant impacts to downstream city wells.” … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Water, history, and the environment, part 3

LA City prodded to grow without additional water:  “In the most recent Water Board Water Conservation Report showing the state’s June 2015 conservation, LADWP has been revising population figures presumably to keep the Residential gallons per capita daily (R-GPCD) level from getting out of control. They are now estimating monthly population growth and using each months figures to calculate residential water use.  I was surprised they kept using the 3,935,257 figure from month to month since leaving the population number where it was would have artificially raised the R-GPCD while population and demand increased.  The screen shot from the report shows the department’s estimates that the city  has grown by 55,089 residents in last twelve months (or roughly 19,674 new units1 constructed) while it has been losing water supply. … ”  Read more from the Drought Math blog here:  LA City prodded to grow without additional water

Nine Colorado River basin counties that use water for golf:  And guess where Coachella Valley fits in with some other Colorado River counties (Coachella Valley is in Riverside County) as John Fleck experiments with clickbait headlines here: Nine Colorado River basin counties that use water for golf

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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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