Blog round-up: How bad is water management in CA?, Lessons on sustaining the environment during a drought; CA’s water sector is at a crossroads as drought drags on; and more …

'Lake in the Clouds' by Elizabeth Haslam
‘Lake in the Clouds’ by Elizabeth Haslam

How bad is water management in California?  Jay Lund writes, “California’s combination of climate, native ecosystems, and human uses makes water management inherently hard, unsatisfactory, and evolving.  California is doomed to have difficult and controversial water problems. No matter how successful we are.  California is one of the few parts of the world with a Mediterranean climate (Figure 1).  These climates tend to be dry (not much water), attractive places to live and farm (bringing high water demands), with mismatch between wetter winters and dry summer growing seasons.  The scarce water supply in the wrong season for human activities makes human management of water problematic for native ecosystems. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  How bad is water management in California?

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Lessons on sustaining the environment during a drought: Jeff Mount writes, “California and Victoria, Australia, are both drought-prone states that face major challenges in managing freshwater-dependent ecosystems and native species during dry times. Both states have experienced intense controversy over balancing water for environmental needs and agricultural and urban uses. But while California’s environment has suffered greatly during its latest drought—with many species pushed to the brink of extinction—Victoria avoided serious biological losses during an even longer drought. Equally important, Victoria enacted a suite of policy changes that improved water management for all sectors, not just the environment, and reduced conflict.  A new report by the PPIC Water Policy Center examines how Victoria allocates water for the environment during times of extreme scarcity. We identify four key lessons from Victoria’s experience that could improve how California manages water for the environment during drought. … ” Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Lessons on sustaining the environment during a drought

Climate problem or solution? California’s water sector is at a crossroads as drought drags on: Juliet Christian Smith writes, “Necessity is the mother of invention and California’s ongoing drought is teaching us that water suppliers can be very creative when they need to be. Sometimes that is a good thing, particularly when we see water utilities meeting and exceeding Governor Brown’s call for 25 percent water conservation. In other cases, pursuing new, “drought-proof” water supplies can have unintended consequences. Drought-proof supplies, while helping respond to climate change, often require more energy than conventional drinking water sources (see Figure 1 from Clean Energy Opportunities in California’s Water Sector). … ”  Read more from The Equation blog by clicking here.

Metro Los Angeles – one of the places Californians *do* regulate their groundwater:  John Fleck writes, “Steve Scauzillo wrote last week about the Water Replenishment District of Southern California’s decision to invest $110 million in a new wastewater treatment plant, that they might use 21,000 acre feet now discharged to the ocean to recharge regional aquifers instead.  Formed in the early 1960s, the WRD is the best example of one of the places where Californians do regulate their groundwater. In the rhetoric around California’s groundwater management failures, the Central Basin and West Basin agency, which spans the core of the Los Angeles metro area, is sometimes missed. I suspect that’s because they’ve been doing it for so long it’s just taken for granted. But as California struggles with setting up groundwater management in places it hasn’t done it before, there are lessons to be learned in the places that it has. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Metro Los Angeles – one of the places Californians *do* regulate their groundwater

Insights into the environmental impacts of cannabis agriculture: As policy liberalization rapidly transforms the multi-billion-dollar cannabis agriculture industry in the United States, the need for regulation and assessment of environmental impacts becomes increasingly apparent.   A recent study led by UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic used high resolution satellite imagery to conduct a systematic survey of cannabis production and to explore its potential ecological consequences.   Published this spring in Environmental Research Letters, the study focused on the “emerald-triangle” in northern California’s Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties, which many believe is the top cannabis-producing region in the United States. … ”  Read more from the Green Blog here:  Insights into the environmental impacts of cannabis agriculture

Diablo Canyon, drought, climate change, and energy policy:  Peter Gleick writes, “The announcement that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will close the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant when its current operating licenses expire in 2025 has caused what can only be described as consternation mixed with occasional conniptions among the nuclear industry and some strongly pro-nuclear groups.  That’s understandable. Diablo Canyon is aging, but is not the oldest nuclear plant in the fleet and PG&E could have chosen to push for a renewal of the license to continue operations for many more years. Diablo Canyon’s two reactors are also California’s last operating nuclear plants, following the closure many years ago of Rancho Seco near Sacramento, and more recently, the last of the San Onofre reactors. As such, the closure is symbolic of the broader woes of the nuclear power industry in the United States, which has been unable to build new reactors and is seeing the current reactors being shuttered, one by one. … ”  Read more from the Significant Figures blog here:  Diablo Canyon, drought, climate change, and energy policy

New Ducks Unlimited map displays extensive Pacific Flyway habitat in the Sacramento Valley: A new map developed by Ducks Unlimited shows the breadth of the Pacific Flyway and the various land uses that together make up this important bird habitat in the Sacramento Valley. … ”  Check it out at the NCWA blog here:  New Ducks Unlimited map displays extensive Pacific Flyway habitat in the Sacramento Valley

‘Enron accounting’ at CLWA?  Lynne Plambeck writes, “As everyone probably knows, Enron was an energy company that collapsed at the end of 2001 after it was revealed that its reported financial condition was really just creative accounting, over-stating profits and hiding liabilities in off-book maneuvers. According to Wikipedia, “Enron has since become a well-known example of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations in the United States.”  So the question is, why did Enron get mentioned at recent Castaic Lake Water Agency meetings? … ”  Read more from SCV News here:  ‘Enron accounting’ at CLWA?

As 2016 wildfire season heats up, Western states wonder who will provide relief: La Nina or Congress? Jason Funk writes, ““Extreme temperatures of 100+ degrees will combine with very low relative humidity. This will create conditions that are favorable for increased fire growth.”  “There was good overnight humidity recovery in the fire area last night, which will delay the burn period today. However, as temperatures warm and vegetation dries out, pockets of heat may become more active in the afternoon.”  These excerpts from the incident reports of the Sherpa Fire in California and the Dog Head Fire in New Mexico, respectively, highlight the relationships between weather and wildfires. Over the past few decades, climate change has driven an inexorable trend of higher summer temperatures across the West—a trend that is expected to continue for years to come. This year, some states may see relief if the El Niño pattern shifts rapidly to La Niña—and if Congress passes legislation that provides sufficient resources to manage wildfire risk effectively. ... ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  As 2016 wildfire season heats up, Western states wonder who will provide relief: La Nina or Congress?

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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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