Blog round-up: The water bond, groundwater recharge, Delta tunnels, individual wells and attitudes, water affordability, and more …

Coit Tower with Full Moon by Jay Huang

Full moon behind Coit Tower; photo by Jay Huang

How is California spending the water bond?  Jelena Jezdimirovic and Ellen Hanak write, “Almost two years ago, California voters passed Proposition 1—a $7.5 billion water bond intended to provide significant investments in the state’s drought-challenged water systems. Today, Californians concerned about the prospects of worsening drought may wonder how the state is spending these funds, and whether they are moving out the door fast enough.  Proposition 1 has seven funding categories, with a pot of money allocated to each. The bond language preauthorized spending in the largest area—$2.7 billion for water storage projects. For the other six areas, spending must be appropriated in the state budget. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  How is California spending the water bond?

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Recharging groundwater and sustainable groundwater management in Yolo County: State and local leaders gathered on the banks of the Winters Canal in Yolo County yesterday to commemorate the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District’s (District) project to recharge groundwater into underground storage. The project is part of the ongoing efforts to sustainably manage groundwater in the Sacramento Valley and throughout California.  The District recharged the groundwater in Yolo County this past spring by diverting and percolating 11,000 acre-feet of additional surface water from Cache Creek into its existing unlined canal system. This project was facilitated by Governor Brown’s Executive Order in November 2015 (B-36-15) “to accelerate approvals for projects that enhance the ability of local agencies to capture high precipitation events…for local storage or recharge” and the State Water Board issuing temporary permits.  … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Recharging groundwater and sustainable groundwater management in Yolo County

Santa Clara Valley Water District taxpayers protest hidden taxes:  Restore the Delta writes, “Today, ratepayers from Santa Clara Valley Water District questioned unfair, and possibly illegal, fees that have emerged in documents recovered under the Public Records Act. The documents reveal an elaborate money transfer system set up years ago that is funding planning for the controversial Delta Tunnels project. Fees that taxpayers and ratepayers never approved.  In a press conference after public comments at the SCVWD Board workshop on CA WaterFix today, Bryan Carr, a SCVWD ratepayer from Monte Sereno said, “As a ratepayer in the District, I am upset that my water District has used ratepayer fees and parcel taxes to fund planning for the Delta Tunnels for years. The Tunnels will divert freshwater that keeps the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary alive. We deserve a vote on where our taxes and fees are being spent, especially when these projects have not met state and federal environmental standards.” ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Santa Clara Valley Water District taxpayers protest hidden taxes

Greenwashing extinction: The links between the Delta tunnels and the MLPA initiative: Dan Bacher writes, “One of the least discussed issues in California environmental politics – and one of the most crucial to understanding Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels plan – is the clear connection between the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative and the California WaterFix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  The privately-funded MLPA Initiative and the California WaterFix to build the peripheral tunnels at first may appear to be entirely different processes.  The MLPA Initiative, a process begun in 2004 under the Schwarzenegger administration, purported to create a network of “marine protected areas” along the California coast. The network was supposedly completed on December 19, 2012 with the imposition of contested “marine protected areas” along the North Coast. ... ”  Read more from the Fish Sniffer here:  Greenwashing extinction: The links between the Delta tunnels and the MLPA initiative

Modesto Bee editors all wet on water, says Vance Kennedy:  “Dr. Vance Kennedy has long been concerned that too many people ignore the long-term hazards of drip irrigation, especially in terms of increased soil salinity and reduced groundwater recharge. A recent Modesto Bee editorial criticizing water subsidies for farmers provoked the following reaction from Dr. Kennedy, an award-winning hydrologist who is retired from the U.S. Geological Survey:  I am a 93 year old retired research hydrologist who is concerned about the future of this region. I believe we have an obligation to plan ahead for future generations, and this is my effort to have community leaders look ahead. I anticipate sending this note to a range of local leaders in the hope the views presented here will be given some consideration, especially when compared to those espoused by the Modesto Bee in a recent editorial. I welcome comments. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  Modesto Bee editors all wet on water, says Vance Kennedy

Do individualized water sources influence water management and conservation attitudes?  Read this paper:  Michael Campana writes, “In September 2014 I posted this on WaterWired: Drought? What Drought? I’ve Got My Own Well!  I was motivated by a sign in front of a lushly-landscapoed house in Ashland, OR, which was in the throes of a drought and city-mandated reductions in lawn watering.   Fast-forward to yesterday, when I received this comment from Kristan Cockerill of Appalachian State University:  A couple of years ago you posted a photo of a sign in an Ashland, OR yard noting that the homeowner had their own well and your blog discussed the potential issues with such thinking. I thought you might be interested in a study colleagues and I did showing that water source (private well, shared well, municipal) does affect attitudes about water conservation and management! … ”  Read more from Water Wired here:  Do individualized water sources influence water management and conservation attitudes?  Read this paper

Flawed analysis muddies water on water affordability: The reliability of the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure has received much attention in the past year. From Toledo to Flint to communities throughout California, the availability and quality of drinking water has become a significant issue for many. What’s more, the cost of water and wastewater service has been rising at about twice the rate of inflation for the last 15 years, while incomes for many low and moderate income households have remained essentially flat. Against this backdrop, it is all the more important that new plans to reinvest in our water and wastewater systems should consider the financial impact on those with limited income, to keep essential uses of water affordable for all. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Flawed analysis muddies water on water affordability

Unsettled questions about Native American water rights in the Colorado River basin:  “More than a dozen Native American communities in the Colorado River Basin have yet to have their legal entitlements to a share of the river’s water quantified, according to a new report from the Colorado River Research Group. With the river’s water already over-appropriated (meaning users, largely non-Indian, have built farms and cities that have come to depend on more water than the river seems able to provide in the long run), this is a challenging problem … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Unsettled questions about Native American water rights in the Colorado River basin

The exquisite roar of roiling water in mountain creeks and rivers:  Allen Best writes, “It’s that exquisite time of year in the Rocky Mountains when winter dissolves into summer and snow into water, roiling and roaring in the annual runoff amid the rocks of mountain creeks.  I once lived in the Colorado mountain town of Vail, my cramped condo close to Red Sandstone Creek. The creek has a small watershed, the headwaters just a few miles away. In May and June, though, it ran rambunctiously with runoff from the melted snow. A few times, I sat on terraces along its banks, inwardly smiling as I watched the water pound and spray, then sluice down among the ruddy rocks, always in a hurry—rushing, rushing, but also this: noisy.  I loved that sound, what Wallace Stegner, in one of his many books, called “The Sound of Mountain Water.” ... ”  Read more from Mountain Town News here (Hat tip to the Inkstain blog):  The exquisite roar of roiling water in mountain creeks and rivers

california_water_explained_2d1And lastly … Jay Lund at the California Water Blog has the a California Water Map: The thirst edition … Click here to view.

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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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