Blog round-up: Accounting and accountability in CA water; Some thoughts for Bruce Babbitt; Tunnels and standards: Enough water for both?; Farming for more than crops and cash; and more …

Paradise Royale Mountain Biking Trail

Paradise Royale Mountain Bike Trail System in Northern California; Photo by BLM

Blog Round Up

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Accounting and accountability in California water:  Doug Obegi writes, “There is a certain satisfaction in watching the bad guys brought to justice in just a single hour of Law & Order. The police find the criminal, the District Attorneys prosecute, and justice is served.  In the world of California water, however, things are never so easy.   It is commonly held that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It is also widely agreed that the management of California water suffers because of inadequate measurement data.  What is not accounted cannot be held accountable, after all.  All too often, lack of transparent accounting is used as a shield against accountability. Even when the accountability is there, there’s a stunning lack of follow-through.  No one is charged, no one is prosecuted, and the dysfunction continues. … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  Accounting and accountability in California water

Some thoughts for Bruce Babbitt:  Jeff Michael writes, “In the 1990s, I was a graduate student writing a dissertation on the economics of the Endangered Species Act, and Bruce Babbitt was Secretary of the Interior actively utilizing habitat conservation plans as tools to negotiate agreements to more effectively implement the Endangered Species Act.  I used to quote him in some of my presentations at the time, so I was fascinated and a bit encouraged to hear the news that Governor Brown has hired him to help with the delta tunnels (aka WaterFix) proposal.  However, the quotes in this article in the Sac Bee make me a little concerned. I trust that Secretary Babbitt will eventually be venturing out beyond the his state DWR office to get some alternative information and perspectives.  Maybe he will even venture onto this blog?  I offer these 5 thoughts to help Secretary Babbitt consider solutions to the Delta problem.  … ” Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  Some thoughts for Bruce Babbitt

Tunnels and standards: Enough water for both?  Alex Breitler writes, “The length of Sunday’s story on the state’s track record complying with Delta water quality standards forced me to leave a lot of material on the cutting room floor.  Including comments from Craig Wilson, the former Delta “Watermaster” who, until his retirement in 2014, worked for the same state water agency that is now holding extensive hearings that may decide the fate of the twin tunnels.  I asked Wilson his view of the state’s performance keeping the Delta fresh. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Tunnels and standards: Enough water for both? 

Birds, snakes, and butterflies: Farming for more than crops and cash:  “The Golden State is well known for its robust and diverse agricultural output, even during times of drought. In 2014, California’s farms, ranches and nurseries turned out $54 billion worth of everything from oranges to rice, and milk to nuts.  Our farms and ranches are less renowned for the rich wildlife habitat they also provide, in some cases for threatened species like the Swainson’s hawk and giant garter snake, which have long struggled with the disappearance of their historic habitat in open grasslands and tule marshes. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Birds, snakes, and butterflies: Farming for more than crops and cash

Local groundwater management in California and France:  “France and California have different environmental, agricultural, economic, institutional, and cultural contexts. However, both are moving to more local management of groundwater. In California, the 2014 Groundwater Sustainable Management Act required creation of  local Groundwater Sustainable Agencies (GSA) and Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) to end groundwater overdraft and other undesirable conditions by 2040.  France has a similar water policy reform process. The 2006 French water law (JORF, 2006) shifted from centralized management of individual withdrawals to decentralized management of collective withdrawals. In both cases, local management of groundwater is intended to address the problems of un-regulated, unmanaged (California) or centralized (France) management of groundwater. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Local groundwater management in California and France

Improving California’s water accounting:  “Understanding California’s balance sheet for water—how much there is, who has claims to it, and what is actually being “spent”—is key to effective and sustainable water management, especially during droughts. But the state’s system of accounting is outdated and ineffective for managing some of our biggest water challenges, according to new research from the PPIC Water Policy Center.  A group of water management experts gathered to discuss the topic at a PPIC event last week.  “The drought has spotlighted weaknesses in California’s water accounting,” said PPIC researcher Alvar Escriva-Bou. These weaknesses make it harder to manage groundwater, water for the environment, surface water allocations, and water trading, he said. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Improving California’s water accounting

Two ways to reduce toxic algal blooms: For a month now, South Florida Atlantic beaches have been blanketed by a sickly green, toxic algae sludge that has kept tourists away and caused local businesses to lose millions.  Florida has a bigger headache this summer than most states, but algae blooms are hardly unique.  Last week, more than 100 people were sickened from toxic algae in a Utah lake largely fed by agricultural runoff and treated sewage water. And just two summers ago, an outbreak in Lake Erie forced the City of Toledo to close off its water supply for nearly half a million residents. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Two ways to reduce toxic algal blooms

A regional vision achieved: The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “On July 28, in a tent just south of Woodland, nearly 300 gathered to dedicate the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency’s (WDCWA) water treatment facility.  The project will bring high-quality, treated Sacramento River water to the cities of Woodland and Davis and UC Davis, a project partner. The $144 million design build facility was first envisioned in the early 1990s when the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District applied for surface water rights from the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  A regional vision achieved

Colorado River Lower Basin water users leaving nearly 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead this year:  John Fleck writes, “I’m happy (nay enthusiastic!) to point out the way Lake Mead keeps dropping, but it’s worth nothing this as well: Colorado River water use in Arizona, Nevada, and California this year is currently forecast at 7.006 million acre feet (source: pdf), well below the three states’ nominal legal entitlement of 7.5 million acre feet.  The current forecast: ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Colorado River Lower Basin water users leaving nearly 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead this year

Lower Colorado water consumption lowest since 1992:  “The Bureau of Reclamation’s Aug. 1 Colorado River Lower Basin Water Use Forecast (pdf here) passed a symbolically important milestone: at a forecast consumptive use of 6.998 million acre feet, if the forecast holds, this will be the first time Lower Basin use has been below 7 million acre feet since 1992.  Water use in 1992 was down because it was an extremely wet year. In Arizona, for example, it was one of the three wettest years in the last half century. This year has been dry. Water use is down because water users across the basin are cranking down their water use to try to keep Lake Mead from dropping further. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Lower Colorado water consumption lowest since 1992

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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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