Blog round-up: Measuring the effectiveness of environmental flows; Why California environmentalists hate water; A lesson in Delta water, the Salton Sea: Natural or not? and more …

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Measuring the effectiveness of environmental flows Ann Willis and Andrew Nichols write, “In the early fall of 2012, an unusually large number of Chinook salmon were returning to the Klamath River, straddling the California-Oregon border. Many of those fish were expected to swim upstream to the Shasta River, prompting emergency actions to increase stream flows in the upstream tributary.  When Chinook enter the Shasta, they pause in pools before heading further upstream to spawn. The Shasta naturally runs low this time of year, and irrigation diversions to support the region’s cattle ranching further reduce flows. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Measuring the effectiveness of environmental flows

Why California environmentalists hate water:  Steve Greenhut writes, “Until the 1970s, when Jerry Brown first became California’s governor, state policy makers were unflinching in their mission to build infrastructure that would meet the demands of a rapidly growing state. Building great public works projects was a source of pride. It was costly, but viewed as a small price to pay to live in this verdant paradise.  The California Water Plan, a 1957 state planning document, said, “Today, the future agricultural, urban and industrial growth of California hinges on a highly important decision, which is well within the power of the people to make. We can move forward with a thriving economy by pursuing a vigorous and progressive water development and planning construction program; or we can allow our economy to stagnate, perhaps even retrogress by adopting a complacent attitude….” … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Why California environmentalists hate water

Inefficient Markets, Perverse Incentives and Regulatory Hurdles Part II: The Potential Cures to California’s Water System: Jeff Simonetti writes, “For the last few winters, forecasters have seen promising El Niño conditions form in the Pacific, only for the conditions to fizzle in 2013 (jokingly referred to as “la nada”) and again in 2014. For this winter, scientists now have no doubt that El Niño conditions will remain in the Pacific – the only questions are when the rains will begin and how severe they will be. According to the latest NOAA readings, current average temperatures in the Southern Pacific (dubbed “Region 3.4”) are 3.0 degrees centigrade above normal, which is higher than the 2.8 degrees above normal that the 1997-98 El Niño pattern saw at its peak during the week of November 26, 1997. The strength of the current El Niño conditions have led some scientists to dub the pattern as “Godzilla,” and some scientists predict that the conditions could bring a wave of very strong storms to the Western United States this winter. … ”  Read more from the Hydrwonk blog here: Inefficient Markets, Perverse Incentives and Regulatory Hurdles Part II: The Potential Cures to California’s Water System

The disadvantages of water market allocations:  On the Public Record writes, “Blogging is an up-to-the-minute affair, second only to the Twitter.  Which is why I’m bringing you a quick observation about works published in 2000 and 2005.  I don’t mean global criticism by this; both works are very impressive, as well as clear and readable.  But since I just read one and started on the next, I can’t help notice a commonality.  The authors do not mention disadvantages of a market system.  “But On!” you say.  Right there on page four of the McCann paper, there is a heading that says “Advantages and Disadvantages of Water Rights Markets“.  Right!  That was what got me all excited for a listing of the disadvantages of water rights markets.  But two of the three items are obstacles to instituting a market (1, transaction costs and 3, third-party objections) and the second is a risk of poorly designed markets.  I am willing to grant market advocates well-designed markets, since I would like to be granted the possibility of well-designed regulation. … ” Continue reading at On the Public Record here:  The disadvantages of water market allocations  See also follow up post: More from Dr. Haddad’s Rivers of Gold.

A lesson in Delta water: When it comes to Delta water no one is better at grabbing it than the water districts surrounding it: Families Protecting the Valley writes, “You might not have heard about Metropolitan Water District’s interest in purchasing some islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  An editorial in the Contra Costa Times says “it boggles the mind that MWD G.M. Jeff Kightlinger thinks anyone will believe him when he said last week the agency’s interest in purchasing four Delta islands is because if is intrigued with the potential environmental benefits.”  They go on to say”it’s a $200 million water grab, pure and simple, aimed at jump-starting the controversial Delta tunnels project to send as much water as possible from the Delta to 19 million people in L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.”  They’re right, of course.  But, when it comes to Delta water no one is better at grabbing it than the water districts surrounding it.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  A lesson in Delta water

Paying for California’s water needs:  Ellen Hanak writes, “How can we fund California’s most pressing water needs? And where are we falling behind in paying for a water system that works for all? A hearing convened by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee yesterday looked at these and other questions. I joined other speakers from nonprofit groups focused on water, local governments, and water agencies to discuss these challenges and how to address them.  Lester Snow, executive director of the California Water Foundation, set the stage, stating that California is “falling behind in central water resource investments, especially in terms of public health and climate adaptation.” Investing in watershed health and ecosystems will help our water supply and our ability to weather climate change, he noted.  My testimony focused on the need for adequate funding to ensure the long-term success of our water system. … ”  More from the PPIC blog here:  Paying for California’s water needs

New thinking about groundwater rechargeThe ability to recharge groundwater is receiving increased attention in California.  The Legislature in the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) found that “sustainable groundwater management in California depends upon creating more opportunities for robust conjunctive management of surface water and groundwater resources. Climate change will intensify the need to recalibrate and reconcile surface water and groundwater management strategies.” Furthermore, the Legislature expressed its intent “to increase groundwater storage and remove impediments to recharge.” (Water Code §10720.1)(g).) … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  New thinking about groundwater recharge

Planning for future droughts:  Ellen Hanak writes, “In a week that began with Governor Brown extending the statewide water conservation mandate into next year, a panel of experts testified about how to improve drought management. They spoke before the Assembly Select Committee on Water Consumption and Alternative Sources on November 17.  Nine experts covered a range of topics, including the state of our water infrastructure and management systems and options for improving water security as our climate becomes warmer. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Planning for future droughts

The Western Water Dashboard – Comparing Groundwater Regulation Among the Western States:  Michael Campana has posted a presentation at the Water Wired blog; here is part of the abstract: “The Western Water Dashboard is a web‐based visualization tool that displays information about water resources in the 17 western states. The dashboard focuses on various aspects of groundwater management: groundwater governance, criteria for issuing groundwater permits, metering and reporting groundwater withdrawals, penalties for violating the terms of a groundwater permit, and requirements to prove that sufficient groundwater exists to support development (‘key regulatory elements’). … Thus, the goal of this work is to distil the key elements of effective regulation out of the profound complexity of state water laws, assess the extent to which each state employs those elements, and convey this information in a useful and informative manner. … ”  Continue reading and view the presentation at the Water Wired blog here: The Western Water Dashboard – Comparing Groundwater Regulation Among the Western States

The Salton Sea: Natural or not?  Daniel Polk writes, “In the arid lowlands of the Imperial Valley lies the Salton Sea, California’s largest and perhaps most uncanny body of water. An inland sump, it is an enclosed drainage endpoint, a vast sheet of water surrounded by the heat and brittle aridness of the desert basin. With no outlet to the ocean, the lake’s concentration of salts and sediments only increases, mixed with fertilizers and pesticides from nearby agricultural runoff.  The lake is a habitat for hundreds of species of migrating birds, a vital stopover on the hemispheric migratory route known as the Pacific Flyway. Yet it remains a perilously balanced ecosystem. … An examination of the Salton Sea however shows how this place resists ready categorization of “natural” or not. … ”  (h/t to the Inkstain blog) Continue reading at the Bill Lane Center for the American West here:  The Salton Sea: Natural or not?

5 pieces of good news for water in the American West:  John Fleck writes, “Amid the litany of the apocalypse, with the pictures of fallowed farm fields and dead fish and trees and cracked mud, here are five pieces of good news on western water, both on the supply side and on the demand side.”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  5 pieces of good news for water in the American WestDaily emails

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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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