Blog round-up: Capturing El Niño for the underground; Space age technology to assist with SGMA implementation; water rights, Delta tunnels cost, Dueling drought relief bills, and more …

Point Dume Big Bang by Pacheco

The Big Bang, Point Dume: Photo by Pacheco

Capturing El Niño for the underground: Philip Bachand, Helen Dahlke, William Horwath, Thomas Harter and Toby O’Geen write, “A much-anticipated “Godzilla” El Niño this winter may refill California’s drought-diminished reservoirs, but it won’t do much to restock the severely depleted aquifers we rely upon to get by during droughts.  One reason for this is the sheer depth of California’s precipitation deficit – the deepest of any drought in 120 years of recordkeeping. The state has been drier than normal for 10 of the past 14 years. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Capturing El Niño for the underground

Blog Round Up

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That Sinking Feeling in the San Joaquin Valley: Space Age Technology Will Assist with SGMA Implementation: Jeanine Jones writes, “Observations of California land subsidence due to groundwater extraction date back to the early part of the 20th century, with areas of historically observed subsidence including the San Joaquin Valley, Santa Clara Valley, and Coachella Valley.  In 1970, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) had identified a location near Mendota in the San Joaquin Valley as then holding the record for maximum subsidence in the U.S. (more than 28 feet).  The San Joaquin Valley remains California’s largest at-risk area.  The groundwater extraction that causes land subsidence stems from lack of sufficient surface water supplies to meet current land use and agricultural cropping patterns.  … ”  Read more from the Groundwater Act Blog here:  That Sinking Feeling in the San Joaquin Valley: Space Age Technology Will Assist with SGMA Implementation

The water rights system works for California:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “With the drought in California, a small group of academics are saying the water rights system in California does not work during drought periods. In fact, the water rights system has worked in California over the past several years and has provided a stable foundation for managing water for cities, farms, wildlife refuges and fish. Rather than focusing on the water rights system, which works, California should instead continue to focus energy on improving its water management system for the benefit of all these beneficial purposes. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  The water rights system works for California

Delta Stewardship Council must stop ignoring the Delta tunnel’s cost:  Dr. Jeff Michael writes, “At it’s next meeting, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) will be considering four draft Principles for Water Conveyance in the Delta contained within a larger statement of principles on conveyance, storage and operations.  Considering that the proposed Delta Tunnels would be by far the most expensive water infrastructure project in California’s history (construction costs currently estimated at $16 billion and rising), and cost is increasingly at the center of its controversy, it’s pretty surprising to me that the DSC continues to ignore it.  The omission is particularly noticeable since the DSC does not hesitate to focus on cost for other, much less expensive, water infrastructure like storage and levees in the same document and meeting. ... ”  Continue reading at the Valley Economy blog here:  Delta Stewardship Council must stop ignoring the Delta tunnel’s cost

Dueling California drought relief bills debated on Capitol Hill:  Richard Frank writes, “What can and should the federal government do to assist the State of California in weathering the worst drought in recorded state history?  While the U.S. House of Representatives is embroiled in a chaotic political debate over selection of a new House Speaker, the more deliberate consideration of new legislation continues apace in the Senate. Currently before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are two bill designed to provide federal relief for a drought-stricken California: H.R. 2898 (Valadao) and S. 1894 (Feinstein/Boxer).  Those competing measures provide starkly different legislative visions and menus of proposed drought solutions. ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Dueling California drought relief bills debated on Capitol Hill

The return of drought to Texas – A potential warning for California?  Jeff Simonetti writes, “Forecasters now believe that there is a 95% probability of El Niño conditions this winter, and the current strength of the conditions is one of the highest on record. California and other parched areas of the West hope that soaking rains will bring much needed relief to the drought conditions that have persisted for years. But will this potential series of monster storms this winter reverse the years of drought conditions California and much of the West has experienced? Unfortunately, the answer is likely no. … However, as the case of Texas shows this year, it takes more than a deluge to reverse the effects of drought over the long-term. Texas received a deluge of rain this spring to reverse a severe four year drought, only to re-enter drought conditions this fall. … ”  Continue reading at the Hydrowonk blog here:  The return of drought to Texas – A potential warning for California?

New water laws address groundwater, marijuana:  Caitrin Chappelle and Henry McCann write, “As the California legislative session came to a close, Governor Brown signed more than 20 bills that address different aspects of water policy, ranging from water conservation and measurement to water quality. Two bill packages took important steps toward improving groundwater management and reducing the negative environmental impacts of marijuana farming.  ... ”  Continue reading at the PPIC blog here:  New water laws address groundwater, marijuana

Oakdale Irrigation District admits secret sale:  “Ordinarily, all the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) needs to do to spin the news is have its $160 an hour PR firm prepare a press release which is then picked up by the Oakdale Leader and printed nearly verbatim. That strategy fell apart last Tuesday, when The Valley Citizen revealed OID’s secret water sale.  Not much later, OID General Manager Steve Knell responded candidly when Modesto Bee reporter Garth Stapley inquired about reasons for the secrecy … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  OID admits secret sale

Lake Mead forecast to drop another 5 feet:  John Fleck writes, “Even with a dose of bonus water transferred from the Upper Colorado River Basin’s storage account to the Lower Colorado River Basin’s storage account, Lake Mead is forecast to drop another five feet between now and the end of September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s first forecast of the 2015-16 water year.  We’re heading into another one of those “Lake Mead’s at its lowest level in history” years again this year. We journalists will have a cheap story peg any time we want it as yet more shoreline emerges along the reservoir’s edge that has been underwater since the 1930s. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Lake Mead forecast to drop another 5 feet

The Bureau of Land Management’s California Staff Needs a Legal Education Concerning the Proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery & Storage Project: Andrew R. Henderson, Esq. writes, “On October 2, 2015, the California State Office of the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (the “BLM”), issued an “administrative determination” letter (the “October 2nd Letter”).  In it, the BLM opined that the proposed Cadiz Water Project in San Bernardino County (“Cadiz”) may not locate a water conveyance within a willing railroad’s 200′ wide federally-granted right of way unless the proponents first apply to the BLM for further study and federal permission. In doing so, the BLM mishandled the legal test that applies to the Cadiz project’s proposed use of the railroad right of way. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  The Bureau of Land Management’s California Staff Needs a Legal Education Concerning the Proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery & Storage Project

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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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