Blog round-up: Delta tunnels and water quality, Groundwater adjudication reform, New irrigation system tradeoffs, Water conservation for the birds, Secret water deals, The tragedy of ‘paracommons’ and more …

Fountain at Getty Villa by Ron LuteDelta tunnels plan violates the Clean Water Act:  Restore the Delta writes: “The Federal and State agencies responsible for issuing permits before any construction of the Delta Tunnels Project can begin, have been alerted that (as proposed) the project will violate federal law.  A 15-page letter outlines multiple violations of the federal Clean Water Act if the project is built and operated as described in the EIR/EIS, under public review until October 30, 2015.  The letter was sent by Restore the Delta, Earth Law Center, Friends of the River, the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Water Impact Network, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and the Environment Water Caucus (a coalition of over 30 nonprofit environmental and community organizations and California Indian Tribes.) … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta tunnels plan violates the Clean Water Act

Summary of groundwater adjudication reform:  The Groundwater Act Blog summarizes the changes:  “Prior to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the primary method for solving groundwater disputes and protecting groundwater basins was litigation. When over-pumping led to a crisis like seawater intrusion or chronic overdraft, people had little choice but to file a massive lawsuit—called an adjudication—in which all rights to water in a basin could be defined by a court. The process has been notoriously expensive and cumbersome, sometimes lasting decades.  This year, the Legislature enacted reforms to the groundwater adjudication process.  The legislation has three main objectives  … ”  Continue reading at the Groundwater Act Blog here:  Summary of groundwater adjudication reform

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Water management tradeoffs emerging with new irrigation systems: A recent article in Comstock’s magazine brought into focus many of the water management tradeoffs that have emerged in the Sacramento Valley over the past decade. In Hiding in the Shallows,  Alastair Bland explores the changing agricultural landscape, particularly the conversion of traditional irrigation, such as flood, to drip and micro-jet irrigation.  The article reveals that, although there are certain efficiencies with the new irrigation systems, there are also consequences to the groundwater and the environment that need to be considered as part of sustainable water management. This is particularly true in a place like the Sacramento Valley … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Water management tradeoffs emerging with new irrigation systems

Water conservation for the birds: People who save water like to know their conserving is doing some good, such as sustaining economic growth, building municipal reserves for longer droughts or supporting the environment.  But many urban residents are concerned their water savings will go to uses they value less — such as supplying more wasteful customers, new urban development or agriculture — rather than meeting the needs of fish, waterbirds and other wildlife, which they value more. In fact, most household water conservation does free up water for other local users or eases State Water Project and Central Valley Project supplies for other thirsty cities or farms, rather than go directly to environmental protection. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Water conservation for the birds

If you’re in On The Public Record’s water rights book club, you’re a bit behind … get started here: Unbundling Water Rights, Introduction, pgs 7-10

The browning of California: The water is ours!  Javan Briggs writes, “Water – it’s a big topic for small town talk all around central California.  Madera, some 30 miles west of the state’s geographic center, is a hot and arid farming community in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.  At a run-down neighborhood convenience store situated at the corner of two dusty farm roads surrounded by modest homes and lush crops, after-work chit chat inevitably turns to water. Locals shake their heads while remarking that this area has always been known for its easily accessible groundwater.  Yet every day, new residential wells are going dry while large corporate farms continue to drain groundwater at breakneck speed to keep water-rich mega-crops flourishing like almonds and grapes – or to sell it to the highest bidder. ... ”  Read more from Counter Punch here:  The browning of California: The water is ours!

Valley Citizen blog: Was there a secret water deal?  Eric Caine writes: “Gail Altieri and Linda Santos have been saying for months that the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) hides its business from members of the district. Now we’re hearing rumors that despite saying all year long it is short water, OID has sold water outside the area.  Altieri and Santos are running against incumbents Al Bairos and Frank Clark for positions on the OID Board of Directors. Earlier this year, OID had a proposed water sale quashed when it was learned OID management had failed to follow California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines for water sales. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here: Was there a secret deal at Oakdale Irrigation District?

Arizona, water conservation, and the tragedy of the “paracommons”:Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., had a go at Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor during a Senate hearing last week, looking for assurances that if his state left unused water in Lake Mead as part of a Colorado River Basin conservation effort, the Interior Department wouldn’t just kype it and give it to someone else (mumble mumble California something mumble mumble) …  This is the latest manifestation of something I’ve written about before, Arizona’s deep-seated paranoia that others (mumble mumble California something mumble mumble) have designs on their scarce water supplies. But it also gets to a really interesting issue that I think needs to be articulated carefully as we go about the project of using less water: where does conserved water go? ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Arizona, water conservation, and the tragedy of the “paracommons”

California and other western states see barriers to protecting streams:  “Unnaturally low flows in rivers and streams throughout the western United States have threatened fish and other aquatic species for decades. But restoring flows has proved a significant and complex challenge. A recent report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program documents twelve western states’ efforts to restore stream flows using a relatively recent tool: environmental water transfers. My research for the report focused on California’s transfers. So although this post highlights the report’s key findings, it primarily examines barriers and opportunities for California’s environmental water transfers, especially under drought conditions.  Historically, western water law provided no incentive to keep water in streams. ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  California and other western states see barriers to protecting streams

Photo credit: Small pool at the Getty Villa by flickr photographer Ron Lute.

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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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