Blog round-up: Delta tunnel impact on Delta communities, ecosystems in perpetual drought, drought and money, water demand forecasting, and more …

Tenaya Lake by Dave Toussaint

Tenaya Lake (photo by Dave Toussaint)

Impacts of the Delta tunnels proposal: Delta community submits testimony to State Water Board hearing:Today Earthjustice, representing Restore the Delta, submitted detailed testimony from the communities that will be most affected by Governor Brown’s proposed $17 billion Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix).  … Trent Orr, staff attorney with Earthjustice said, “Today’s testimony comes from farmworkers, Native Americans, subsistence and recreational fishers, and residents of economically distressed Delta cities and towns who fear the Tunnels’ devastating impacts on their livelihoods and ways of life. Because the agencies promoting the Tunnels failed to consider their impacts on environmental justice populations, this testimony will be crucial in determining if the project would inflict undue harm on the most vulnerable legal water users in the Delta, including entire communities already experiencing distress.” … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Impacts of the Delta tunnels proposal: Delta community submits testimony to State Water Board hearing

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California ecosystems in perpetual drought:  Lori Pottinger writes, “Freshwater species—especially fish—are in trouble, and it’s not just the latest drought that put them there. We talked to Ted Grantham, a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network, about the status of the state’s freshwater ecosystems.  PPIC: Drought has really hurt populations of native fishes. Aren’t these fishes adapted to drought?  Ted Grantham: California’s native fish have been in steady decline for at least 50 years—in part due to dams, habitat degradation, and the introduction of non-native species. Drought is an added stressor. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  California ecosystems in perpetual drought

Give them money:  On the Public Record writes, (after long quote from Water Deeply article on researchers looking at the health impacts of drought which you’ll have to click through to read): ” … Look, I am glad for a comprehensive look at the public health effects of drought.  I’d like to see more on mental health for ranchers especially.  But the policy solution above is misguided.  I fully acknowledge that people get anxious when faced with uncertainties and that anxiety has health effects.  But California has a particularly variable climate, rapidly becoming more variable.  Providing water will not be a resilient solution.  If we decide to make policies to protect people in the farm economy from drought anxiety, the solution is to give them money in dry years. … ”  Read it all the On the Public Record here:  Give them money.

Addressing drought impacts: water or money?  On the Public Record writes, “My post below illuminates the most common form of drought mismanagement.  In my observation, when a drought is pending, the newly appointed* drought manager thinks: where can I find water?  This distracts them for the remainder of the drought, because in a drought there is very little water to be found.  Instead, the first thing the newly appointed drought manager should do is divide drought problems into two kinds: there is the kind that requires water and the kind that can be fixed with money.  … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Addressing drought impacts: water or money?

21st century water demand forecasting:  Matthew Herberger and Heather Cooley write, “Yogi Berra once said, “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” And nowhere is this more true than in the water business. Forecasts are extremely important for water utilities, which must make plans today to meet their communities’ current and future water needs. Since water supply projects can take years to plan and build, utilities’ long-term view often reaches twenty years or more into the future. But the industry has a poor track record when it comes to long-range forecasting.  The results of this are not purely academic. The end result is that water utilities may build unneeded or oversized water supply and treatment infrastructure – things like reservoirs, pumping stations, treatment plants, and desalination facilities – passing on the costs to customers and creating unnecessary environmental impacts. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute’s Insights blog here:  21st century water demand forecasting

Oakdale Irrigation District: Endangered species?  Eric Caine writes, “July 14, Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) General Manager Steve Knell circulated a letter defending the district’s business plan. OID is embroiled in a lawsuit involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), water sales, and a controversial fallowing program. Knell is on a campaign to justify out-of-district sales and the soundness of the business plan.  For Knell, the biggest selling point of the OID business plan is the provision of water to district farmers at below the cost of delivery. OID manages this mathematical magic by generating revenue from water sales outside the district—most often to Westlands Water District. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here:  Oakdale Irrigation District: Endangered species?

Lower Colorado Basin water savings not as big as I thought:  John Fleck writes, “So I need to correct something that I wrote a month ago.  Tony Davis took a deep dive into the Bureau of Reclamation’s data and concluded in a story published this morning (I think accurately) that water conservation savings in the Lower Colorado River Basin will not be as large as I and others have been reportingThe difference lies in the fact that there are two different water use accounting systems one can look at – the formal “forecast”, which is based on official water orders at the time the forecast is made (pdf here) and the operational plans included in the Bureau’s “24-month study“, which comes out monthly and projects water accounting balances in the reservoirs and among major users out for the next 24 months. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Lower Colorado Basin water savings not as big as I thought

And lastly … Fantasy art: The future of water and energy technology in pictures: They look like designs from the pages of a futurist’s notepad, but the concepts below are all finalists in the biennial public art contest held by the Land Art Generator Initiative (Lagi).  These ideas illustrate the possibility of marrying aesthetics with renewable energy and water technology and educate the public about the challenges of addressing climate change and feeding a growing population.  Santa Monica, a beach town west of Los Angeles, is the setting for this year’s competition. The theme is clean water, to acknowledge California’s fifth year of serious drought. The winners will be announced on 6 October.   Cash prizes are $15,000 for first place and $4,000 for second place. While winning doesn’t guarantee that the concept will be brought to life, Lagi works with city governments and local businesses to try and turn the more feasible projects into reality. … ”  See them all here:  Fantasy art: The future of water and energy technology in pictures

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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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