Blog round-up: Delta smelt’s unsung relative seems verging on extinction, too; Want to see the wells causing more than a foot of subsidence at Check 20 of the California Aqueduct?; plus bloggers on critically overdrafted basins, Delta tunnels, drought, water rights and more …

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Delta smelt’s unsung relative seems verging on extinction, too: James Hobbs and Peter Moyle write, “Another native fish of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta appears to be rivaling the cliffhanger status of the delta smelt.  In the past two years, the lesser-known longfin smelt has slipped down to the single digits in trawl surveys of Delta fish populations.  The dramatic downturn is likely a result of the drought, as with the tinier delta smelt.  Unlike its headline-grabbing relative, the longfin is not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Delta smelt’s unsung relative seems verging on extinction, too

Want to see the wells causing more than a foot of subsidence at Check 20 of the California Aqueduct? On the Public Record writes, “I was reading through JPL’s Progress Report on Subsidence in the Central Valley.  I gather they’ve made some real good progress, and with successive satellite passes can get good measures of subsidence in the Central Valley in the past few years. Figure 9 caught my eye. That’s a small, localized subsidence bowl, threatening the California Aquaduct. I wonder what they are pumping that water for? So I went over to Google maps. … ”  Read more from On The Public Record here: Want to see the wells causing more than a foot of subsidence at Check 20 of the California Aqueduct?

Guidance for putting new groundwater law on the ground:  Thomas Harter, Vicki Kretsinger Grabert and Tim Parker write, “A group that helps shape California groundwater policy has proposed several ideas for state consideration in implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  The Contemporary Groundwater Issues Council of the Groundwater Association of California – comprised of various agency executives and influential water researchers and consultants – weighed in on three major issues the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will face in the next 18 months as it drafts the law’s regulations and guidelines ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Guidance for putting new groundwater law on the ground

Report on California’s Critically Overdrafted Groundwater Basins has few Surprises but Opens Discussion for Additional Solutions: Jeff Simonetti writes, “Land subsidence is not a new topic of discussion in California. It has been a part of California’s agricultural history ever since farmers introduced large-scale wells to pump groundwater from the Central Valley’s aquifers. In a very interesting photo, USGS Scientist Dr. Joseph F. Poland stood next to a telephone pole near Mendota, CA in 1977 to show the effects of land subsidence on the valley floor. As you can see in the linked picture, he put signs on the telephone pole noting where the land would have been in 1925, 1955, and 1977. Dr. Poland’s analysis determined that the valley floor in that area fell approximately 8.93 meters (over 29 feet!) between 1925 and 1977 when he took that picture. Unfortunately, after a century of pumping in the Central Valley, little has yet changed to make the process more sustainable. ... ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here: Report on California’s Critically Overdrafted Groundwater Basins has few Surprises but Opens Discussion for Additional Solutions

Brown vows tighter groundwater regulations: James Poulos writes, “Laboring to strengthen his aggressive anti-drought policies, Gov. Jerry Brown vowed that the historic groundwater management rules he pushed into law will be ratcheted up in coming years.  In an interview on Meet the Press, Brown cautioned that he did not “rule by decree,” working “through the Legislature,” but promised to move regulations further ahead than current law provides. “California now has groundwater management for the first time in its entire history, so we are much more aggressive” than in years past, he said. But, citing a new study claiming the state’s drought is connected to climate change, Brown warned “we’re not aggressive enough. And we will be stepping it up year by year.” … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Brown vows tighter groundwater regulations

Delta tunnels: State and Feds Steamroll Ahead Despite Open Public Comment Period: “Change Petition” Filed for New Diversion Points from Sacramento River:  Restore the Delta writes, “The California Department of Water Resources and the United States Bureau of Reclamation today announced that they have jointly submitted permit requests to add three additional points of water diversion from the Sacramento River to supply the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. … “This application looks like a rush job, it’s not even filled out completely,” said Osha Merserve, a Delta water rights attorney. “The petition just says ‘see EIR’ for much of the basic info. Good luck finding that in the 48,000 pages of cross-referenced material with multiple errata. This application is a real sales pitch and it’s full of holes.” … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here: State and Feds Steamroll Ahead Despite Open Public Comment Period: “Change Petition” Filed for New Diversion Points from Sacramento River

Along the California Aqueduct: Scenes from the frontlines of the water wars, where California is confronting the limits of its extraordinary prosperity: John Bass writes, “Here is the essential point: California has never had enough water. The current drought is simply the latest evidence that this is a dry land, not “susceptible of supporting a very large population,” as an American military officer wrote in the 1840s. 2 But of course the region has shown itself more than susceptible of supporting — or at least attracting — a very large population. Modern California, with almost forty million people, and the largest economy in the United States, has seemed again and again to overcome the limits of its natural environment. … ”  Read more from Places here:  Along the California Aqueduct

What if the drought continues? Lori Pottinger writes, “Four years into a historic drought, the environment and some rural communities are most at risk if hot, dry conditions persist. At an event in Sacramento last week, Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, gave an overview of findings from the new report What If California’s Drought Continues, touching on the higher risk of large wildfires, increasing land subsidence from groundwater pumping, and the growing crisis affecting freshwater ecosystems and species. A panel of experts then dove deep into the drought’s perils—and success stories—before a capacity crowd.  … ”  Read more from PPIC blog here:  What if the drought continues?

The drought and Californians’ view on climate policy:  David Kordus writes, “The California Legislature is considering bills that would expand state efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. One, SB 32, would require that California reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Another, SB 350, would require that petroleum use in cars be reduced by 50 percent, half of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources, and buildings double their energy efficiency—all by 2030.  … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The drought and Californians’ view on climate policy

Delta tunnels impact on water quality:  Restore the Delta writes, “Operation of the proposed Delta tunnels, according to the Department of Water Resources’ recirculated Environmental Impact Report, will reduce essential fresh water flows through the Delta to Suisun Bay and San Francisco Bay. Nonetheless, the State Water Resources Control Board has begun the permitting process to change the point where water will be diverted into the tunnels. This significant reduction in Sacramento River flows will degrade Delta and Suisun Marsh water quality because the Tunnels would isolate better quality Sacramento River water from the rest of the Delta, increasing the percentage of water flowing into the estuary from the polluted San Joaquin River. The project is sold to the public as improving water quality, but tunnel proponents never explain that the benefits are solely for San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and the Metropolitan Water District, while the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary takes all the negative impacts. That is why these questions need to be asked about water quality. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta tunnels impact on water quality

How a California state agency is dropping the ball on water efficiency in an epic drought:  Tracy Quinn writes, “Earlier this week, a state agency tasked with revising green building codes that aim to ensure new buildings are water and energy efficient presented proposals for new code language to a green code advisory committee. The proposals not only fell far short of their goal, but staff also refused to accept many of the recommendations on how to improve the proposals from both the panel of experts to whom they were presenting and other stakeholders in the room. Here’s the background:  California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the agency that writes our state residential building code. In California, the state develops both a base code and a green building code called CALGreen. … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  How a California state agency is dropping the ball on water efficiency in an epic drought

A marvel in the tomato industry:  The NCWA blog writes, “As you drive through the Central Valley from now through September, no matter the time of day, you’ll likely have to swerve around trucks mounded impossibly high with tomatoes. This year promises to be a good year for processing tomatoes, with a projected 14.3 million tons harvested.  This would not be possible without the innovation of two UC Davis scientists in the 1950s. ... ” Read more from the NCWA blog here:  A marvel in the tomato industry

Water rights and climate change: The NCWA blog writes, “There are many perspectives on climate change and its potential impact on California’s water supplies. A recent article looks at whether California’s water right system is able to adjust to any shifting water supplies that result from changes in climate. In The effects of global climate change on the California water rights system, Stuart Somach and Jonathan Schutz explore how California water law will hold up under the predicted climate change scenarios. … ”  Read more here:  Adjusting to climate change

Soquel Creek Water District: Set to SOAR: The Groundwater Act Blog talks to Melanie Mow Schumacher: “Q: Tell us about Soquel Creek Water District.  A:”The District, formed in 1961, is a special water district in Santa Cruz County. We’re dedicated to providing a safe, high quality, reliable, and sustainable water supply for our community, in an environmentally sensitive and economically responsible manner. Over eighty percent of Soquel’s 38,000 customers are residential, and the remaining consist of commercial, school and government connections. Our service area stretches seven miles along the pacific shoreline from Capitola to La Selva Beach, and extends one to three miles inland.  … ”  Read more from the Groundwater Act Blog here:  Soquel Creek Water District: Set to SOAR

Meeting water challenges on the Central Coast:  Lori Pottinger writes, “The Central Coast has long been self-sufficient in water supply, but the drought has tested the region’s independent streak and helped foster growing cooperation among water agencies and interest groups.  “I would hope that we really start thinking regionally,” said US Rep. Sam Farr, who’s represented the Central Coast for more than 20 years. That was the biggest takeaway message from a wide-ranging panel discussion in Monterey this month, co-hosted by the PPIC Water Policy Center and water supplier California American Water. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Video: Meeting water challenges on the Central Coast

“No local demand for OID water,” says Knell: Eric Caine writes, “Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) General Manager Steve Knell has maintained for years that one reason the district sells water outside the region is that there’s no local demand for OID water.  “We’re not against selling water locally,” Knell said at last night’s sparsely attended meeting of the Local Area Formation Committee (LAFCo) meeting in Modesto. “When local demand develops, we’ll try to meet it.”  ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  “No local demand for OID water,” says Knell

Another Southern California ag to municipal water sharing deal takes shape:The Imperial Irrigation District’s board tomorrow will consider an expanded agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that would provide additional flexibility for water conservation in the big desert agricultural district and move water to meet near term drought response needs in the region’s coastal cities.  The deal uses the “Intentionally Created Surplus” framework established in the 2007 Colorado River operating rules. ICS was a major policy innovation designed to overcome the “use it or lose it” principles baked into the old “Law of the River” operating rules. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Another Southern California ag to municipal water sharing deal takes shape

The Las Vegas water conservation model:  John Fleck writes, “Sammy Roth, a reporter for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, took a trip this month to Las Vegas to share with his California readers how they do the water conservation thing in urban Nevada:  ‘When it comes to saving water, Sin City has the Coachella Valley beat. ... ‘”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  The Las Vegas water conservation model

Lock and Load – It’s ‘Cadillac Cataclysm’! My Ten Cents – Book Review: ‘The Water Knife’: Michael Campana writes, “Cut to the chase: Read it! Compelling, frightening, dark. Two books in one: a great mystery, and a water book to boot.  When I first heard of award-winning (Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial Awards, etc.) author Paolo Bacigalupi’s second novel (The Windup Girl was his first) The Water Knife and its subject matter, I immediately thought of his 2006 short story, The Tamarisk Hunter, that first appeared in the High Country News. That piece mesmerized me and made a deep impression because I read it after leaving my beloved Southwest, home for 35 years, for the greener, wetter clime of western Oregon. I thought to myself that I had made the right decision, although I’m still unaccustomed to all this green stuff covering up the rocks. ... ”  Continue reading at the Water Wired blog here:  Lock and Load – It’s ‘Cadillac Cataclysm’! My Ten Cents – Book Review: ‘The Water Knife’

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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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