Blog round-up: The banality of California’s ‘1200 year’ drought; How Australia actually managed their drought, Pricing water, optimism in water politics, and more …

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The banality of California’s ‘1200 year’ drought:  Jay Lund writes, “California’s ongoing drought will continue to break records and grab headlines, but it is unlikely to be especially rare from a water policy and management perspective.  Estimates of the current drought’s rarity range from once in 15 years to once in 1,200 years (Griffin and Anchukaitis 2014), depending on the region and indicators used (precipitation, stream runoff, soil moisture or snowpack). In the Middle Ages, large parts of California had droughts far worse than this one, some lasting more than a century (Stine 1994). The probability of California experiencing a once in 1,200-year drought during a short human lifetime is extremely low. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  The banality of California’s ‘1200 year’ drought

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How Australia actually managed their drought:  On the Public Record writes, “This PPIC post describes lessons from Australia’s drought management.  But, like almost every article I see about Australian drought management, it is coy about what Australian management actually did.  (quoting blog) “The Australians also depended heavily on water markets to reduce the costs of their mega-drought. The flexibility and autonomy offered by water trading helped communities allocate water quickly and efficiently to competing uses, and also provided an effective way to recover it for the environment.” What they actually did to free up water ... ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  How Australia actually managed their drought

Drought challenges continue for partnership pursuing Pacific Flyway habitat:  “As California continues to experience its fourth year of drought conditions, the end of the summer does not signal the end of water management challenges for water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley.  As we enter into the fall and winter months, a partnership of water management entities, conservation organizations and California Rice are pursuing numerous options to increase the available habitat for birds that are beginning to arrive in the region. The objective is to provide as much diverse and productive habitat spread throughout the region to help the birds in their annual migration and to avoid avian diseases. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here:  Drought challenges continue for partnership pursuing Pacific Flyway habitat

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act FAQ: GSA Implementation Q&A: Question: If a landowner lives within a high or medium priority basin, but outside the jurisdiction of any local agency that has formed a GSA, and the county has declined to be the GSA, what options does the landowner have? Answer: The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) designates the county as the default GSA in cases where there is no GSA and for those landowners that fall outside the boundaries of existing GSAs. However, if a county does not form a GSA, or if a landowner would prefer to be part of a non-county GSA, the landowner may make use of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) process to request annexation to an existing district that is either the GSA or a member of the GSA the landowner wants to join. An annexation is likely to be easier if the GSA or member agency of a GSA wants to annex the individual’s property. ... ”  Read more from the Groundwater Act Blog here:  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act FAQ

How should we price water?  Lori Pottinger writes, “Most of us probably know the average price for a bottle of water, but do you know how much you’re charged for water coming out of your tap? The price of water—which can have ripple effects throughout our communities, the economy, and the environment—may not be typical water-cooler conversation, but understanding it is essential to addressing key water-management challenges.  We interviewed Ken Baerenklau, a UC Riverside economist and adjunct fellow with the PPIC Water Policy Center, on the role of pricing to mitigate scarcity during droughts, and the need for fair and economically sensible prices. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  How should we price water?

Does optimism have a place in Western water politics?  “When John Fleck began covering water (among other things) in 1995 for New Mexico’s Albuquerque Journal, he assumed he’d be writing stories about dried out wells and cracked mud. After all, as a Los Angeles native who grew up in a suburb that had replaced an irrigated citrus orchard, he’d grown up reading books like A River No More, by Philip Fradkin, and Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner, essential reading for water nerds.  As a journalist, he went looking for the kinds of stories these authors promised: stories of “conflict, crisis, and doom.” But he found a very different narrative and after nearly 30 years spent covering some of the most pressing water issues in the West, Fleck is now writing a book, which is due to be published by Island Press next year. He recently spoke to HCN about the dilemma water journalists face these days— and why the West’s water problems aren’t as bad as we think. … ”  Continue reading at High Country News here:  Does optimism have a place in Western water politics?

Report: ‘Unbundling Water Rights: Blueprint for Development of Robust Water Allocation Systems in the Western US’: Michael Campana writes, “Renee Martin-Nagle sent me this pioneering report from Duke University’s Nicholas Institute by Australian water guru Michael Young and others, Unbundling Water Rights: A Blueprint for Development of Robust Water Allocation Systems in the Western United States.  Renee noted that the plan advocates estimating a basin’s runoff (both surface water and groundwater) and replacing water rights with water shares.  Here is the summary:  “This report lays out a blueprint for transitioning to robust water rights, allocation, and management systems in the western United States—a blueprint ready for pilot testing in Nevada’s Diamond Valley and Humboldt Basin ... ”  Continue reading at Water Wired here:  Report: ‘Unbundling Water Rights: Blueprint for Development of Robust Water Allocation Systems in the Western US’

Resilience, and pulling the end cap on the new Las Vegas Lake Mead intake: Southern Nevada Water Authority crews pulled the end cap off of the agency’s new, deeper Lake Mead intake today, and by this weekend they’ll be pumping water from the new system. This is a major milestone in a system that, when completed, provides critical water management breathing room for the entire Colorado River Basin.  Theorists of “resilience” have adopted ideas from the study of ecology to what they call “social-ecological systems”. One of the critical elements is the idea of “regime shifts” – points in the evolution in the system at which change becomes sudden rather than gradual. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Resilience, and pulling the end cap on the new Las Vegas Lake Mead intake

And lastly …  Water found on Mars, California jokes flood in: ‘Even Mars has more water than California’ and more: Water Discovered on Mars; California Drought Jokes Flood In

Beware the El Nino …

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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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