Blog round-up: Will the Delta tunnels project increase average exports from the estuary?; State fails to store water while demanding conservation; plus Australia analyses, agriculture, Sites Reservoir and more …

Bird spirit by Anto Charb

Bird spirit by Anto Charb

Will the Delta tunnels project increase average exports from the estuary? Doug Obegi writes, “The Department of Water Resources recently released an estimate of how much additional water would have been diverted from the Delta in January and part of February if the proposed Delta tunnels (California WaterFix or BDCP) had already been built. We have asked the State to make the underlying analysis and modeling available, to better inform ourselves, the public and decision-makers about the proposed project and alternatives. For instance, how much would doing so have reduced Delta outflow? What assumptions were they using regarding bypass flows, post-pulse protections, and reverse flows in the South Delta? And how much of the 9,000 cfs capacity would have actually been used, and for how long during that period? … ” Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here: Will the Delta tunnels project increase average exports from the estuary?

State fails to store water while demanding conservation:  Todd Fitchette writes, “California residents all but answered last year’s call by the governor to conserve water. The latest news out of Sacramento suggests we almost made it.  The State Water Resources Control Board says California residents came within about 52,000 acre feet of the 1.2 million acre-foot conservation goal ordered last year. The governor’s call was to save 1.2 million acre feet between June of last year and the end of February. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  State fails to store water while demanding conservation

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They never do the Australia analysis I want to see, says On the Public Record:  OtPR writes:  “My real objection to the Australia love-fest today is that it isn’t specific enough.  That study and the write-up are about the lessons of Australian urban drought management.   But both those discussions say nice things about ‘Australia’s drought management’, which implies both the urban and the ag side.  The implicit endorsement is a problem.  Careful readers who look deeply into the text will understand it was a study of four Australian cities.  Most other people will just think that California should do whatever Australia did, both urban and ag.  My impression from afar is that Australian agricultural drought management was pretty damn problematic.  Here are the problems I know of ... ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  They never do the Australia analysis I want to see

ENSO the drought strikes back: The drought so far – March 1:  Jay Lund writes, “February 2016 has been dry, despite El Nino-besotted promises of aqueous abundance. There is sometimes a difference between climatic conditions and hydrologic reality (and economic reality).  Annual precipitation and snowpack are now about average or a little less. Fortunately, the largest reservoirs continue to fill slowly, relative to previous drought years, with still about 6 million acre ft of surface water storage deficit for this time of year. Groundwater will be recharging, as it should this time of year in most places, but we still sit atop a large dry hole. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  ENSO the drought strikes back: The drought so far – March 1

The good, the bad, and the ugly: New California Groundwater Regulations Missing Metrics to Define Sustainability: Juliet Christian-Smith writes, “Several days ago, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released draft regulations for public comment regarding key provisions of the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which was passed in 2014. These regulations describe what should be included in the new groundwater sustainability plans that many local groundwater agencies are required to submit to the state by 2020, and how DWR will evaluate the plans that they receive.  The soundness of these regulations will determine whether we can effectively transform the current unregulated chaos—which has led to unprecedented groundwater declines—into a system that will preserve and enhance our water resources for years to come. … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here:  The good, the bad, and the ugly: New California Groundwater Regulations Missing Metrics to Define Sustainability

Linking land use and water decisions:  Lori Pottinger writes, “In nature, water and land are intimately entwined. But in the human landscape, we’ve created divides. Communities across the state separate water and land use, and this can lead to inconsistency, inefficiency, and conflict. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recently convened a series of workshops in rural California on aligning land and water planning for long-term sustainability. Debbie Franco is OPR’s community and rural affairs advisor and local drought liaison, and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s advisory council. We talked to her about this ongoing process.  PPIC: What was the purpose of these workshops, and what common themes did you hear?  Debbie Franco: We’re seeking ways to ensure that water and land use decisions are informed by each other and ultimately are driving toward the same goal. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Linking land use and water decisions

Agriculture key to the Economic Summit’s ‘One Million Challenge’ for workers, water, and homes: In November 2015, the fourth California Economic Summit took place in Ontario, located in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Agriculture was a key component of the vision outlined at the event, which is designed to spur economic growth in the Golden State.  The event is put on by the California Stewardship Network, a group promoting economic vitality and California Forward, a bipartisan government reform initiative.  “The first economic summit did not include agriculture, which was a large frustration,” says Glenda Humiston, Working Landscapes Action Team co-lead and vice president of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (along with co-lead A.G. Kawamura, an urban farmer from Orange County). “The following year, we advocated for a Working Landscapes action team.” ... ”  Read more from the California Economic Summit blog here:  Agriculture key to the Economic Summit’s ‘One Million Challenge’ for workers, water, and homes

California needs Sites Reservoir:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “As we approach the spring with varying hydrology throughout California, now is a good time to think about longer-term solutions that will help California during dry years. If Sites Reservoir were already online, the California Department of Water Resources has estimated that it would have already stored an additional 448,000 acre-feet of water this year, or nearly 146 billion gallons. Last year, during one of the driest years ever, Sites would have captured 410,000 acre-feet of precious water from two storm events. For context, Folsom Reservoir currently has slightly more than 600,000 acre-feet of water in storage. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  California needs Sites Reservoir

Stockton: Still paying off drought debt from 1977?  Alex Breitler writes, “Stockton’s water rates may soon climb substantially because residents are buying less water.  Blame it on the drought. But someone’s got to pay for the city’s new $220 million Delta drinking water plant.  Buried in bond documents associated with the plant, however, I found this depressing fact: Stockton is apparently still paying off debt associated with a drought relief loan issued in — wait for it — 1977. … ” Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Still paying off drought debt from 1977?

First Look at the LADWP 2015 Draft UWMP – Hiding the Shortage: David Coffin writes, “After spending a few weeks paging through the just released LADWP 2015 Draft Urban Water Management Plan, I can only conclude that it is a thinly disguised effort to hide the city’s low water supply levels from the planning process and shield development.  This draft, like past UWMP’s, continues to project surpluses of water in all supply categories that the department does not have access to and like the 2010 UWMP, it asserts to have access to water in categories that aren’t really a supply such as Conservation and Harvesting.  To understand why the LADWP is doing this, we first need to remember that the Urban Water Management Plan is first and foremost a planning document. … ”  Read more from Drought Math here:  First Look at the LADWP 2015 Draft UWMP – Hiding the Shortage  See also follow up post: Thoughts on the LADWP 2015 Draft and UWMP Process in General

LADWP’s paper water leverages on MWD supplies:  “When the LADWP uses paper water, not only does it affect Los Angeles residents, it also impacts utilities and residents outside of the city. ‘Paper water’ is water that “utilities claim they have access to, but is difficult or impossible to access for various reasons”.  When the LADWP claims to have access to more city owned domestic water than it really has access to, that allows the department to understate how much water it needs from the Metropolitan Water District.  Using paper water to prop up the perception of it domestic supply, the 2000 UWMP* suggested that the LADWP would only need to purchase and additional 3.53 million acre-feet of water between 2000 and 2015.  … ”  Read more from the Drought Math blog here:  LADWP’s paper water leverages on MWD supplies

What is the environment telling us about the water situation in the west?  Jeff Simonetti writes, “This year’s Groundhog Day was symbolic in more ways than one. When Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on February 2nd, he did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring. In the Southwest US, his prediction has so far come true. … In the meantime, farmers, city planners and environmentalists are all waiting to see whether March will (hopefully) bring us the storms we need to at least make a dent in the drought conditions. But some environmental indicators are showing that parts of our ecosystem are suffering long-term stresses from the effects of drought and climate change. What are these indicators telling us and can the damage be reversed if the drought abates? I will address both of these issues in this post.  ... ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  What is the environment telling us about the water situation in the west?
The week that was, February 21-27:  “Anti-tax campaign slings shit at Calgary wastewater art, havoc in Delhi, giant of big waves in O’ahu bows out at mythic “Eddie” surf classic, Feds impersonate gangsters in haddock fraud in Massachusetts, big sugar pollution lays waste to spring break beaches in Florida, and more in this week’s eclectic round-up of water stories from around the world by reporter Emily Green.”  Read it here:  The week that was, February 21-27Daily 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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