Blog round-up: Bloggers for and against the Delta tunnels, water data, water conservation regs, federal drought management and more …

Redondo Beach by Bo Nielson
Redondo Beach by Bo Nielson
Blog Round Up
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Plan B to Delta tunnels:  Long lasting jobs and water security: Connor Everts writes, “When asked about alternatives to the Delta Tunnels in December 2015, Governor Jerry Brown said, “I don’t think there is a Plan B.” This view was reflected in February 2016 by State Building and Construction Trades Council president Robbie Hunter who said the Tunnels are “…the only viable solution to protect the Delta environment and secure water deliveries.”  The power-brokers and concrete-pourers are united in claiming that California’s water security can only be achieved with a massive construction project that will cost $17 billion, likely far more like the Bay Bridge. ... ”  Read more from the Environmental Water Caucus here:  Plan B to Delta tunnels: Long lasting jobs and water security

Overcoming California’s weak spot: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: Richard Atwater writes, “Everyone has a weak spot. For California, it’s the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the heart of our state’s water supply.  Someone once said a weakness can keep you from advancing or developing as much as you could, and the best way to overcome it is to find another way to approach it. For the deteriorating Delta, that approach is California WaterFix which will create a more secure water supply by delivering it through a modern pipeline.  To understand why California WaterFix is critical for 2016, we need to take a hard look at the circumstances we face in order to prepare for our water future. … ”  Read more from the Southern California Water Committee here:  Overcoming California’s weak spot: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The Delta tunnels: Built on a house of cards:  Restore the Delta writes, “Dear Governor Brown,  It’s time to detach your legacy from the Delta Tunnels proposal. It’s time to face the reality that this plan is falling apart.  Let me explain why.  Put simply, after ten years of trying, the Delta Tunnels still do not have a credible finance plan. There is little reason to think that another ten years would create one. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  The Delta tunnels: Built on a house of cards

What does the Westlands SEC penalty mean for California Water Fix?  Jeff Michael writes, “Last week, the SEC found Westlands Water District was misleading bond investors, making Westlands only the second municipal bond issuer to ever pay a penalty to the SEC.  Bond rating agencies immediately placed Westlands’ bonds a negative outlook.  The announcement puts a spotlight on an issue that I have been talking about since 2012: the agricultural water districts can not and will not pay for their proportional share of the $16 billion delta tunnels. In 2013, I said the financial hole in the delta tunnels plan was comparable to the hole in the high speed rail business plan ” Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  What does the Westlands SEC penalty mean for California Water Fix?

Is a Brown administration official admitting the tunnels plan is collapsing?  Dan Bacher writes, “In the video from a recent hearing in the California Legislature, it appears that a Brown administration official is admitting that financial support for Governor Brown’s controversial Delta Tunnels Plan is rapidly collapsing.  On March 11, Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird spoke on behalf of the administration during a hearing in San Francisco by the Senate Select Committee on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta entitled, “Pending Delta Decisions and their Potential Economic and Other Impacts on San Francisco & the Bay Area.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Is a Brown administration official admitting the tunnels plan is collapsing?

Boost in flows underscores need for Delta improvements:  Tim Quinn writes, “With a series of recent downpours sending huge volumes of water into rivers, streams and reservoirs, drought-weary Northern Californians are seeing images they haven’t seen in years.  Lake Shasta picked up about 1 million acre-feet of storage in two weeks, while the Bureau of Reclamation is making flood control releases from Folsom Reservoir, which was at near-historic lows just two months ago. Sacramento River water flowed into the Yolo Bypass for the first time since 2012, and the statewide snowpack is close to average.  Lake Oroville is close to 100% of its historic average, but further south Don Pedro, New Melones and Pine Flat have yet to recover and are below average. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water blog here:  Boost in flows underscores need for Delta improvements

A farm community pulling together:  Alex Breitler writes, “The takeaway from a new state report is that Delta farmers voluntarily cut their diversions by 32 percent, or about 153,000 acre-feet of water, last summer.  But beyond the numbers, the report offers some interesting details about how the estuary’s farming community rallied together in response to an unprecedented challenge — and what state officials learned from those farmers as well.  Here are some of those details, straight from the report, mostly in the words of Michael George, a state official who serves as the Delta “watermaster” ... ”  Read more from Alex Brietler’s blog here:  A farm community pulling together

On the need for better water data:  John Fleck writes, “A student in one of our University of New Mexico Water Resources Program classes asked last week what the magic trick was to finding water data. We’d asked the students to do some really challenging modeling of the flow of water through New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande watersheds, and one of the biggest difficulties was finding usable data to plug into their models. My faculty colleague who’s helping teach the class (and who is one of the great data wizards of the Middle Rio Grande) didn’t have a good answer. Like all of us, he’s collected spreadsheets and bookmarks over the years that point in the right direction, but each question leads to a new data need. Water data is hard. Often it’s not collected at all, and when it is, it’s not standardized and connected up in ways that might make it accessible. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  On the need for better water data

“Also, puppies are cute.”  On the Public Record writes about water data:  “An op-ed in today’s N.Y. Times claims that massively improving water data would “unleash an era of water innovation unlike anything in a century”.  On Twitter, people respond that instead of gathering data to “fix water”, we’d do better to directly address the emotions of water users.   dezaraye points out that “many who manage water don’t want “water visibility” OR accessible data”.    frkearns suggests directly addressing people’s conception that cheap water should be limitless (my paraphrase).  I agree with both of those, and raise two other objections to the op-ed. ... ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Also, puppies are cute.

Interested in identifying your groundwater basin?  “Interested in identifying your California Groundwater Basin? Late last year I downloaded California Department of Water Resources groundwater basin .shp file and started a mini project converting it to a .kml that is viewable in Google Earth. After converting it, I colorized each unique basin to make the standout. It’s absolutely amazing how many groundwater basins have been identified in California. … ”  Read more from the Drought Math blog here:  Interested in identifying your groundwater basin?

Floods, farms, fish, and fowl: A confluence of successful management:  “The floodplain smorgasbord is open! Wrapping up a successful fifth season, the Knaggs Nigiri  project places fall run juvenile Chinook salmon in inundated rice fields during a six week period in February and early March, the non-rice-growing season.  The project has implications for improving the condition of the fish and the chances of survival by giving them access to floodplain habitat.  Historically, large areas of floodplain habitat in the Central Valley were available to salmon during the winter and spring months. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Floods, farms, fish, and fowl: A confluence of successful management

Managing flood operations and salmon recovery in the Sacramento Valley:  “Northern California water suppliers joined with farmers, fishery agencies, California Trout, and Ducks Unlimited this week at the Wallace Weir along the Yolo Bypass to appreciate the recent rains and to showcase the various efforts to improve salmon habitat in the Sacramento Valley. The following video with RD 108 General Manager Lewis Bair describes this collaboration and the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program.”  Click here to watch the video from the Northern California Water Association blog.

California’s water conservation regulations and the law of unintended consequences, part 3 – environmental impacts: Marta Weismann writes, “On February 2nd, the California State Water Resources Control Board revised and extended the mandatory urban water conservation regulations through October. While the newly-adopted revisions make marginal changes on some issues of fairness, which will be covered in a later post, environmental impacts remain.  The environmental impacts of the mandatory conservation regulations are tied to residential landscaping—or more specifically, the absence or reduction of watering that occurs when residents allow lawns to go brown or replace them altogether. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  California’s water conservation regulations and the law of unintended consequences, part 3 – environmental impacts

Federal drought management: It’s complicated:  Caitrin Chapelle and Jelena Jezdimirovic writes: “More than two dozen federal departments and agencies engage in some facet of water resource management in the West. This complex institutional landscape is a big obstacle to effective management of western droughts.  The wildly differing jurisdictions of federal agencies across the West provide a striking illustration of this complex landscape. While these boundaries were created with the individual agencies’ missions and objectives in mind, the resulting jigsaw puzzle complicates efforts to address the varied objectives of sustainable water management. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Federal drought management: It’s complicated

The week that was, March 13-19:  Weekly water news: the National Gallery fountain flows again; lead, arsenic & PFOS crises expand; maiden flight of the Waterbird on Windermere; Australian crackdown on foreign H2O prospectors; celebrity water wasters; Irvine Water District at odds with OC neighbors on proposed Huntington Beach de-sal plant and more.  Emily Green’s wrap up here:  The week that was, March 13-19

And lastly … would you do this? The most EPIC mountain slide ever: Point-of-view footage shows what’s it’s like to hurtle down a 2,460ft-long toboggan run high in the Swiss Alps (more from the Daily Mail here):

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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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