Blog round-up: Delta tunnel economics, Delta smelt, Australia, federal under-reach on water, and more …

King Range Cons Area surfers by BLM Bob Wick
King Range Conservation Area (photo by BLM/Bob Wick)

It Is Strange To Be Accused of Bias By WaterFix Supporters for Following The Information in Their Own Documents and Applications for Project Approval, says Dr. Jeff Michael: He writes, “The response from opponents to the benefit-cost report is both predictable and a little bit strange. Someone from the Department of Water Resources criticizes it for not using the “declining baseline” of water exports, and the pro-tunnels group “Californians for Water Security” says that we “fail to acknowledge economic losses of future water cutbacks without project.” This criticism stems from the fact that I followed their documents. In essence, they are saying that a good analysis would make stuff up that is completely inconsistent with the official documents the WaterFix has created to support its applications for regulatory approval. … ”  Read more at the Valley Economy blog here:  It Is Strange To Be Accused of Bias By WaterFix Supporters for Following The Information in Their Own Documents and Applications for Project Approval

Solving the smelt problem:  “If the State of California was serious about solving the smelt and salmon problem in the Delta, they would look seriously at solutions other than reducing water deliveries to farmers at the pumps.  As we all know, adjusting water pumping over the years hasn’t helped the fish populations.  There are other things that could be done.  One solution would be to reduce the striped bass population.  Striped bass are not endangered.  They eat endangered smelt and endangered salmon. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Solving the smelt problem

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Let’s learn from Australia before it’s too late:  The California Farm Water Coalition blog writes, “The California State Water Resources Control board, elected officials and others frequently tout Australia as a model for managing limited water resources. Specifically, Australia’s long history of dealing with drought is seen as a way to help California avoid making the same mistakes – Australia has already been where California is heading.  On August 16, in a letter to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the agency charged with implementation of Australia’s Basin Plan, five prominent Australian farm organizations emphatically argued for a multi-pronged approach to treating environmental issues. The letter cited the economic devastation that results from simply dedicating more and more water exclusively to environmental purposes and expecting that to solve the problem. … ”  Continue reading from the California Farm Water Coalition blog here:  Let’s learn from Australia before it’s too late

California’s new groundwater law leaves unanswered questions:  Jeannette E. Warnert writes, “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is a revolutionary law that will have profound impacts on the state’s agriculture industry, however, it also leaves out many implementation details, according to Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkeley. Kiparsky authored the article Unanswered questions for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which was published online by California Agriculture journal.  “SGMA is unprecedented, hugely impactful and a work in progress,” Kiparsky said in a videotaped keynote presentation at the 2nd International Groundwater and Agriculture Conference in June 2016. The California Agriculture article is based on his remarks at the conference. ... ”  Read more from the Green Blog here:  California’s new groundwater law leaves unanswered questions

Ready, set, flow: Alex Breitler writes, “San Joaquin County is gearing up for the next big water tussle — new flow requirements on the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, including the Stanislaus.  By definition, if more water must stay in the river, then water users must take less. So you can see why this will be a big deal. KQED does a good job explaining.  I’ve been hearing these new rules are imminent, but I’ve also been hearing that for, like, two months. So who knows when we’ll actually see them. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Ready, set, flow

Who’s deceiving whom on water usage numbers?  Faqsicle writes, “For quite some time, there’s been a little debate going on in California over the true numbers describing how much water is used in the Golden State for urban dwellers, businesses and industry compared to farms, the environment and other activities.  This argument is a bit strange, since the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) publishes its detailed analyses of water use statistics for the past and water regulatory agencies publish current data.  The true question becomes one of who is fudging the facts and why. ... ”  Read more from Faqsicle here:  Who’s deceiving whom on water usage numbers?

More water = more fish?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Does more water equal more fish?  Not always. According to the article below from the Modesto Bee,  Doug Demko, co-owner of FishBio says he’s of the opinion that a lot of the government people…just don’t care” if you can prove the theory.  It comes down to wanting more water.”  On the Stanislaus River they sent billions of gallons to help rainbow trout swim to the ocean to become steelhead.  It didn’t help and now the entire trout population is lower. … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  More water = more fish?

The federal under-reach on water:  Reed D. Benson writes, ” …  One of the more notable moments of my past year was testifying before Congress.  In what has become something of an annual event, the House Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee (of the Natural Resources Committee) held a hearing to criticize a few different federal agencies for their actions regarding water in the West.  The Subcommittee didn’t actually call any federal witnesses; instead, it invited testimony from local officials who were unhappy with some aspect of federal policy.  I spoke at the invitation of the Minority side of the Subcommittee, just as I did at a remarkably similar hearing in 2013.  For the Subcommittee majority and its witnesses, a common theme of both hearings was that the Obama Administration is “overreaching” on water issues in the West.  … ”  Read more from the Western River Law blog here:  The federal under-reach on water

It’s not just about the technology; it’s about the institutions:  John Fleck writes, “Sandra Dibble’s latest on the proposed Rosarito Beach desalination plant highlights a point that’s central to the introductory water policy and management class I help teach (/me waves to WR571 students!). Getting the technical stuff right in water management only gets you part way down the road. Getting the institutions right can be a bigger challenge.  If you look at a satellite image of the greater Tijuana-San Diego metropolitan area, you see a huge blob of a city. Add in a map layer that shows the legal geography, and suddenly there’s a sharp line down the middle – the U.S.-Mexico border. Managing natural resources across such boundaries is an extraordinary challenge. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  It’s not just about the technology; it’s about the institutions

Lake Mead back above 1,075:Apparently in celebration of this week’s official release date for my book Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West, Lake Mead overnight crept above the magic elevation level of 1,075 feet above sea level. That’s number attached in policy and, more importantly, the public mind to the notion of shortage on the Colorado River. At this point the elevation milestone is merely symbolic. The shortage policy, with mandatory cutbacks, only kicks in if the reservoir is below 1,075 on Jan. 1 of any given year. Mead typically rises between August and the end of the year, so there will be no shortage declaration at the end of the year.  Don’t get too excited about rising above 1,075. We’re still on track to set another one of those “lowest elevation since Lake Mead was filled” records yet again this month. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Lake Mead back above 1,075

And lastly … Solar-powered ring garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California:  “With roughly 80 percent of California’s already-scarce water supply going to agriculture, it’s crucial for the state to embrace new technologies that shrink the amount of water required to grow food. Alexandru Predonu has designed an elegant solution that uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops – including algae. A finalist of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition, a site-specific biennial design competition that has inspired world-renowned designs like The Pipe and Energy Duck, Ring Garden is capable of churning out 16 million gallons of clean water, 40,000 pounds of aeroponic crops, and 11,000 pounds of spirulina biomass for livestock feed. … ” Check it out here:  Solar-powered ring garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

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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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