Blog round-up: Draft groundwater regulations don’t make the grade; Tribunal considers the rights of nature in the Delta; Them & Us; Lessons from the Jungle Book; Reconnecting the Klamath; and more …

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‘Tweet Tweet Island’ at the Owens Lake Trails (photo by LA DWP)

Blog Round Up

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Draft groundwater regulations don’t make the grade: Water Commission calls out “substantial” loophole:  Juliet Christian-Smith writes, “Last week’s California Water Commission meeting should serve as a wake-up call to everyone interested in more sustainable groundwater management. Commissioners called out a “substantial” loophole in the draft regulations large enough to overwhelm the intent of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  I discussed similar issues when I blogged about the Department of Water Resource’s draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan regulations. While we praised the approach to data collection and reporting, we pointed out some key missing pieces, specifically the metrics the Department would use to measure success. … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here:  Draft groundwater regulations don’t make the grade: Water Commission calls out “substantial” loophole

Tribunal considers the rights of nature in the San Francisco Bay Delta:  Restore the Delta writes, “Today, the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance, Restore the Delta, and Move to Amend held a “Rights of Nature Tribunal” regarding the proposed Delta Tunnels (California WaterFix) proposal.  The San Francisco Bay-Delta lies polluted and suffering in a state of perpetual, human-made drought. An estimated 95 percent of the historic Delta natural habitat has been lost. Between 2.1 million to 6.9 million acre-feet of water is exported from the Delta every year. Numerous Delta species face extinction, including the Delta Smelt and Winter-run Chinook Salmon. Marine species that depend on Delta fish for food, such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale, are also imperiled by failing Bay-Delta ecological health.  Dozens of U.S. and international laws have begun recognizing rights and legal standing for ecosystems and species as a new framework for environmental protection, including for the beleaguered Delta. These laws and tribunals are inspired by the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Tribunal considers the rights of nature in the San Francisco Bay Delta

Broad Coalition Says Staggering Water Loss Numbers Show Urgent Need for Governor’s California WaterFix: Today, Californians for Water Security highlighted water loss projections released by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that show  the urgent need for the Governor’s California WaterFix to collect, store and secure water during rainy years for future drought conditions.  The numbers show how much water could have been collected in El Niño’s heavy rainfall and delivered for use by our state’s residents, farms, and businesses, but was lost out to sea due to California’s outdated water infrastructure.  486,000 total acre-feet of water in 2016 was not captured and stored.  (One acre-foot is approximately 1 football field filled with water 1 foot deep.)  This approximately equals 158 billion gallons of water which could serve approximately 3.6 million Californians for one full year … ”  Read more from the Californians for Water Security here:  Broad Coalition Says Staggering Water Loss Numbers Show Urgent Need for Governor’s California WaterFix

Them & Us: Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We all think there’s a lot of water being wasted out to sea.  Why can’t they pump a little more instead of letting it flow to the ocean?  That’s how we think.  But, on the other side, on the NRDC side, they think there’s not enough water flowing through the Delta and out to sea.  That’s the battle we’re always in.  It’s a battle, a war.  We’re never going to convince them we’re right about this, we just have to win the war.  Easier said than done in California.  So, even though we think we’re not getting enough water, the NRDC says we’re getting too much.   … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Them & Us

On the Public Record comments on almonds, leasing water rights, more …The 2015 California Almond Acreage Report is out.  Last year, while you were carrying your warm-up water out to the rose bushes, growers planted another sixty thousand acres of almonds.  “California’s 2015 almond acreage is estimated at 1,110,000 acres, up 6 percent from the 2014 revised acreage of 1,050,000.”  This acreage, planted in Drought Year Four, commits about 180,000 AF/year to those trees, a constant burden on groundwater basins and our political system for every one of the next twenty-five years. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  On the Public Record comments on almonds, leasing water rights, more

Lessons from the Jungle Book:  The NCWA blog writes, “The latest chart topping movie from Disney, the live action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, is filled with more than innovative computer generated-imagery: there is a message about change and the importance of water. As the Disney Educator’s Guide states:  When water is plentiful, the laws of nature and the jungle are as they should be. However, when a drought causes water to be scarce, the effects impact villagers, the habitat and even the “law of the jungle.” … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Lessons from the Jungle Book

Reconnecting the Klamath: Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle write, “State and federal officials recently signed two agreements to reshape the Klamath River. If these agreements are fully implemented (and there are still some important hurdles ahead), they would lead to removal of the four aging hydropower dams that separate the Upper and Lower Klamath Basin, perhaps as early as 2020. This restoration effort would be the largest of its kind in the US, if not the world.  We were members of the 2001 National Research Council committee that first reviewed the environmental management challenges in the Klamath Basin. Our report, which focused on conflicts over habitat and water for threatened and endangered fishes, made many recommendations, including dam removal. We are gratified to see progress toward this objective. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Reconnecting the Klamath

Owens Lake Trails: This was never supposed to happen: Robin Black writes, “So how do you go from dealing with a public utility that has to be dragged kicking and screaming through decades of litigation just to get it to fix a public health disaster it inadvertently created to having that same utility embrace and manage an elaborate set of wildlife and bird habitats, complete with public access to invite people into this strange but beautiful place? You do it with data, you do it with heart, and you do it with years of dogged persistence.  That somewhat oversimplifies the process by which we arrive today (tomorrow, technically, for the public dedication), at the opening of the Owens Trails at Owens Lake in the Eastern Sierra, but the transformation has been dramatic and quite possibly unprecedented. Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, who was never legally required to do anything but mitigate blowing dust at Owens Lake, is well into construction of seven different habitats or “guilds” on and around the lake, in cooperation with Audubon California, to meet the migratory needs of the hundreds of thousands of birds who use Owens Lake as a critical stopover on the Pacific Flyway. And they’ve included beautifully designed public access areas and trails so that the public can come to the lake to see the extraordinary place it is.  This is a Big Deal. One that’s almost impossible to overstate. … ”  Read more from the Owens Lake Project blog here:  This was never supposed to happen

The collapse of water exports – Los Angeles 1914: Jay Lund writes, “In February, 1914, the rainfall in the Mojave Desert region exceeded by nearly fifty per cent in three days the average annual precipitation.  Where the steel siphon crosses Antelope valley at the point of greatest depression, an arroyo or run-off wash indicated that fifteen feet was the extreme width of the flood stream, and the pipe was carried over the wash on concrete piers set just outside the high water lines. The February rain, however, was of the sort known as a cloud-burst, and the flood widened the wash to fifty feet, carried away the concrete piers, and the pipe sagged and broke at a circular seam. The water in the pipe escaped rapidly through the break under a head of 200 feet, and the steel pipe collapsed like an emptied fire hose for nearly two miles of its length. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  The collapse of water exports – Los Angeles 1914

Life and death on LA’s first water system:  “In 1903, William Mulholland presented an end-of-year report to Los Angeles’s newly formed Board of Water Commissioners. “The zanja system has made its usual poor showing for the year,” he wrote. “It would certainly be the greatest folly to spend any more money in new construction on this system.” The commission took heed, and the next year the zanjas were officially abandoned. This closed a chapter in the city’s history that stretched from the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River) in 1781 to the turn of the 20th century.   … ”  Continue reading at Curbed LA here:  Life and death on LA’s first water system

Is the Colorado River community nearing a water deal?  “A flurry of public discussion over the last week about a possible water conservation deal on the Lower Colorado River illustrates the central dilemma in the river basin’s water use problems.  tl;dr This is a very important agreement. Modeling suggests that, if implemented, it could slow the steep decline in Lake Mead. The water conservation goals are achievable without crashing the West’s economy, but politics back home, in the individual states, remains the most important stumbling block.  The longer version: The dilemma is this … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Is the Colorado River community nearing a water deal?

Moving forward for America’s drinking water:  Joel Beauvais at the EPA blog writes, “Our nation’s record of progress in advancing public health under the Safe Drinking Water Act is significant.  But too little water in the West, flooding from extreme weather in the Midwest and Southeast, and the recent water quality issues in Flint, Michigan have rightly focused national attention on America’s drinking water.  As a country, we can and must do more to make sure that every American has access to safe drinking water.  EPA is committed to working together with our governmental partners, communities and stakeholders to strengthen the nation’s drinking water systems. That is why, today, we are announcing the next steps in that effort.  Beginning next month, EPA will lead a series of engagements to inform a national action plan on drinking water, to be released by the end of the year.  In addition, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has begun a new study of the science and technology relevant to ensuring the safety of the nation’s drinking water. ... ”  Continue reading at the EPA blog here:  Moving forward for America’s drinking water

And lastly … Is the US Congress Zika’s best friend in Puerto Rico? Plus floating bridges for New York, mind-blowing maps, frack fluid in Texas floods, LA and its “islands,” seagulls on a NOAA Great Lake cam and more in Emily Green’s water news.  Read it from the Chance of Rain here:  The Week That Was, April 24-30

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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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