Blog round-up: How not to end groundwater overdraft; Common sense, not rain, needed to end water crisis; Renting a river in a never-ending drought; Farming and the new politics of water; and more …

Emerald Bay at SunsetHow not to end groundwater overdraft:  Tim Stroshane writes, “I recently read an ostensibly scientific paper with the impressive title, “Economic and Water Supply Effects of Ending Groundwater Overdraft in California’s Central Valley” by several researchers led by Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, and a researcher with the Public Policy Institute of California.  The study was disappointing, and short on good science. Sadly, the Lund team’s results are often more “truthy” than complete.  In 2014, the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” became law in California. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  How not to end groundwater overdraft

Common sense, not rain, needed to end water crisis:  Jack Stewart writes, “Before raising our glasses to toast this winter’s abundant El Niño rainfall, here’s a sobering thought: Because of deliberate efforts to protect fish by limiting water storage, about half the rain falling on California will wash into the ocean, instead of being stored for the dry, hot summer to come. As for the water now filling the state’s reservoirs, billions of gallons will be flushed down rivers and out to sea in efforts to protect fish, rather than being used to irrigate food crops or provide water for thirsty communities when the drought resumes. Lawsuits and bad policy decisions have created a situation in which the well-being of fish is seemingly valued more than our economy or quality of life. But it doesn’t need to be this way. … ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here:  Common sense, not rain, needed to end water crisis

How I rented a piece of a river in a never-ending western drought:  Ryan Bradley writes, “About a year ago, after another too-dry California winter, I decided to purchase an extremely large amount of water, acres of it, all for me. I don’t run a farm, nor do I have a big pond in my backyard. In fact, I don’t have a backyard. I don’t own any land at all. Still, I could, in theory, purchase water in bulk on the water market.  In the American west, the way water ownership works is different from how it works east of the Mississippi, where water is abundant. In the east, the easiest path to owning a whole lot of water is to own some land, which will almost certainly have water on or underneath it. Out west, things are a little more confusing. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  How I rented a piece of a river in a never-ending western drought

Water use and Californians’ views on the drought:  David Kordus writes, “The State Water Resources Control Board recently reported results of the nine-month statewide water conservation effort that Governor Brown announced last April. With an overall reduction of 23.9 percent compared to the same nine months in 2013 and 2014, the state came up just short of its 25 percent target. Monthly water savings have been below 25 percent in each month since October. Notably, in February—the final month of reporting under the governor’s water savings mandate—the statewide reduction was just 12 percent. This suggests a decreased sense of urgency about the drought. The PPIC Statewide Survey has found additional evidence that Californians’ sense of urgency has declined. … ” Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Water use and Californians’ views on the drought

The Delta National Park blog with a few thoughts on California water news: A few recent events sum up many of key dilemmas California faces as it considers its next generation of water security questions. Let’s look at the key links, in order of significance:  1/ Questions about whether the Cal Water FIx will effectively manage inevitable sea level rise. KCET reports that a now-projected 1.5-2 meter sea level rise by 2100 would bring salt water to the proposed twin tunnel intakes, raising serious questions about the premise of the project. The visitation to the pumps by salt water would only be aggravated by the loss of the pulse of Sacramento River downstream flows to Carquinez Strait induced by rerouting that water south to the San Joaquin Valley. … ”  Read more from the Delta National park blog here:  A few thoughts on California water news

Why would California and the public benefit from Sites Reservoir?  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “The California Department of Water Resources has estimated that if Sites Reservoir were online on April 7, the off-stream reservoir would have already stored an additional 904,000 acre-feet of water this year, or nearly 295 billion gallons. For context, this amount of water would completely fill Folsom Reservoir near Sacramento. Remember that last year, during one of the driest years ever with no snowpack, Sites would have captured 410,000 acre-feet of precious water from two storm events. … ” Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Why would California and the public benefit from Sites Reservoir?

The rarest of documents:  Alex Breitler writes: “You don’t see this every day — an application for a permit to export groundwater from San Joaquin County.  That’s a big deal. A county ordinance forbids exporting precious groundwater unless a permit with specific conditions can be issued. And no such permit has ever been approved. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  The rarest of documents

Farming and the new politics of water:  “Among the biggest surprises of Modesto’s last election, none was more puzzling than the defeat of Measure I, the anti-sprawl initiative designed to protect the region’s prime farmland. Historically, Modesto residents have supported farmland protection by huge margins.  Most observers felt Measure I would pass easily, especially since it followed closely on an emotionally-charged revolt against the city’s attempt to include portions of historic Wood Colony in its general plan. But even as threats to Wood Colony brought about fierce opposition, an even stronger movement was growing to curb farmers’ dominance of local politics, most especially the politics of water. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Farming and the new politics of water

Urban stormwater capture: Great potential benefits, great potential costs, or both?  Jeff Simonetti writes, ” … Desalination plants are not the only sources of water that are causing elected officials sticker shock: Earlier this year, Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) convened a roundtable to discuss the $20 billion cumulative infrastructure price tag that meeting Los Angeles County’s storm water management and recharge plan (called MS4) may cost. While storm water can provide a local and sometimes plentiful supply, there are also costs associated with implementing widespread storm water capture. In this piece, I will address the pros and cons of increasing storm water capture in the context of Los Angeles County’s 20-year MS4 implementation plan. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Urban stormwater capture: Great potential benefits, great potential costs, or both?

And lastly … The week that was, April 17-23:  A new reef the size of Delaware, Houston underwater, the Mexican Navy sails into Francis Scott Key territory to a rapturous welcome, Arizona hopes for shorter shortages for California on the Colorado and more in Emily Green’s weekly water news at the Chance of Rain: The week that was, April 17-23

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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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