BLOG ROUND UP: How much water is pumped from the Delta Banks pumping plant? A mystery; plus San Joaquin River tributary flow objectives, Delta tunnels, Water Storage Investment Program, Clinton and Trump, and more …

Headwaters Forest Reserve; Photo by BLM

Headwaters Forest Reserve, Humboldt County; Photo by BLM

Blog Round Up

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How much water is pumped from the Delta Banks pumping plant? A mystery: The California Water Blog writes,As the old saying goes, “Someone with one watch knows what time it is, someone with two watches is never sure.”  Water accounting is fundamental to water management, but is not easy. But any accounting is more difficult and expensive if it is less organized. To illustrate this point, let’s look at estimates of one of the largest, most important, and “easiest” to measure flows in California: the annual pumped quantity of California’s State Water Project (SWP) Banks Pumping Plant (Banks) in the Delta for the years 2006 through 2010.  Public sources for annual quantity of Banks delivery includes DWR and USBR sources and documentation. Pumped water quantity estimates from these sources are shown in the table and chart below, with hyperlinks to sources. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: How much water is pumped from the Delta Banks pumping plant? A mystery

Flow proposal points to need for comprehensive approach:  Tim Quinn writes,Since 2009, the hallmark of California water policy has been a commitment to the coequal goals of improving both water supply reliability and ecosystem health. While this commitment remains as vital today as it was in 2009, recent actions suggest we’re due for a refresher course on what it really means.  Managing for the coequal goals means recognizing that the needs of our economy and our environment are both legitimate. It means taking a balanced approach to policy decisions and regulatory edicts to better meet those needs and reduce conflict. It also means moving away from narrow, single-stressor actions that fail to protect our water supply and species.  Draft flow objectives for the San Joaquin released this month by the State Water Resources Control Board staff raise serious questions about their commitment to a state policy founded on the coequal goals. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water blog here:  Flow proposal points to need for comprehensive approach

Divide & conquer: Just because they haven’t come for your water yet doesn’t mean they don’t have you in their sights: Families Protecting the Valley writes, “The environmental attack on water in California’s Central Valley has had one success after another.  They have succeeded in restricting pumping in the Delta reducing water for farmers on the Valley’s west side as well as metropolitan areas of Southern California.  They have succeeded in adding environmental flows to the San Joaquin River through the SJ River Restoration Settlement.  Farmers didn’t unite to fight either one of these environmental efforts.  Farmers from other parts of the state seemed to be happy that it wasn’t them getting gored.  But, the enviros never stop.  Just because they haven’t come for your water yet doesn’t mean they don’t have you in their sights.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Divide & conquer: Just because they haven’t come for your water yet doesn’t mean they don’t have you in their sights

Political science: This calmed the restless natives for the time being:  Families Protecting the Valley writes,If you went to college you might have taken a class called ‘Political Science’, and if you did they probably didn’t get close to telling you how politics really works.  We’re going to tell you what’s going on in the Northern Valley regarding river flow announcements from the State Water Resources Control Board and how this is political science at its finest.  The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) came out with its flow recommendations (how much water should flow down the rivers into the Delta and out to sea) for the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers last week, upping the 2012 35% recommendation to 40% and maybe as high as 50%.  Modesto area water agencies, residents and elected officials are understandably up in arms.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Political science: This calmed the restless natives for the time being

Governor Brown urges Water Board to fast track river flows settlement to fill the Delta tunnels:  Restore the Delta writes,Today, Restore the Delta’s executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla released the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s September 19, 2016 letter to Chair Felicia Marcus of the State Water Resources Control Board regarding the need for comprehensive agreements on environmental flows for both the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. To read the Governor’s letter, click here.  “While Restore the Delta has pushed for a comprehensive update to the Delta water quality plan for the both the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers before moving forward with any further processes for permitting the Delta Tunnels, Governor Brown’s request to the State Water Resources Control Board to now fast track flow agreements is disingenuous at best. The water needed to fill the tunnels will have to come from the watersheds of both rivers upstream of the Delta. Without additional water from these river systems, the tunnels do not pencil out economically, requiring the multi-billion dollar Federal and State tax subsidies reported on recently. ... ”  Continue reading at Restore the Delta here:  Governor Brown urges Water Board to fast track river flows settlement to fill the Delta tunnels

Securing California’s water supplies with California Water Fix:  Water Mellon writes,The other week, I wrote about how the system responsible for delivering water from Northern California to two thirds of the state’s population is broken. It causes reverse flows and traps endangered fish. The outdated infrastructure also puts our clean water supplies at risk from salt water intrusion from earthquakes and rising sea levels due to climate change.  Of course, the state has come up with a solution to modernize the system in an effort to protect water supplies and increase reliability all while reducing negative impacts to the ecosystem. California WaterFix would update the state’s plumbing. ... ”  Read more from Medium here:  Securing California’s water supplies with California Water Fix

Nicely done, Sabalow, Kasler, and Reese:  On the Public Record writes,I cannot help but notice that all of the growers interviewed for this article on new wells in the San Joaquin Valley are servicing permanent crops (wine grapes, almonds). … I have been suggesting a moratorium on planting new permanent crops in basins with declining groundwater levels for years.  There would be the obvious immediate benefit of fewer new plantings in permanent crops and fewer new wells. But this example illustrates the real benefit. ... ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Nicely done, Sabalow, Kasler, and Reese.

Frankly my dear, Prop 1 won’t give a dam:  Kristi Deiner writes,After 68% of the voters passed the $7.5 billion Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, you may be wondering, when is that dam construction going to start? After all, Chapter 8 of the bond approved $2.7 billion for water storage, dams, and reservoirs, right?  Not exactly.  Subtract $54 million for statewide bond costs, and $2.64 billion remains for projects. This money will be awarded through a competitive process by cities and organizations throughout California, all vying for a sliver of funds for their own definitions of the somewhat generic bond language “water storage”. Water storage encompasses many types of projects including groundwater storage, groundwater contamination prevention, storm water capture, and water quality improvements that clean up and restore groundwater resources. Also, 50% of all newly stored water must first be siphoned off the top and used for environmental restoration. ... ”  Read more from My Job Depends On Ag blog here:  Frankly my dear, Prop 1 won’t give a dam

California plans to give millions to water wasters:  Ben Chou writes, “California is in the midst of a fifth year of drought. More than 80 percent of the state is experiencing drought conditions, and nearly 34 million people are living in drought-afflicted areas. The drought affects all of us, including California’s many farms and ranches. Yet despite the repeated calls that we must all do our part to save water, many irrigation districts have continually failed to adopt very basic water conservation and planning practices. But instead of making these water suppliers comply, the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently announced plans to give millions in grant dollars to suppliers that are dodging their responsibilities under the law. This is especially distressing since NRDC just settled a lawsuit against an irrigation district and DWR in May over this exact issue.  … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  California plans to give millions to water wasters

Clinton and Trump on western water policy:  Peter Gleick lines up the presidential candidates here:  Clinton and Trump on western water policy

Clinton’s water plan runs up Hill(ary) towards money:  Wayne Lusvardi writes, “News flash: Hillary’s Western Water Plan would trickle up to elites.  On Sept. 18 the San Francisco Chronicle poured water on Donald Trump for having no water infrastructure plan at all other than his scoffing that “there was no California drought” (see “Clinton Plans While Trump Scoffs on Water, Environment”). Trump was right, but that is besides the point here.  Left out of the Chronicle article was that the benefits of Hillary Clinton’s “Western Water Partnership”plan, as part of her proposed $275 billion infrastructure funding and make-work jobs program, would flow mainly to high-level, planners, union labor, well-connected engineering firms and politicians. … ”  Read more from Master Resource blog here:  Clinton’s water plan runs up Hill(ary) towards money

Water and fisheries leaders host Sacramento Valley salmon recovery event in Redding:  “Earlier this week, water and fisheries officials joined the Northern California Water Association and a number of Northern California water management entities at the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District Diversion Dam in Redding to take an in-depth look at the collaborative projects and programs underway to benefit salmon as part of the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program. Experts from the region and water managers provided overviews of the projects that have been carried out to date, as well as what is being planned, to aid the survival of salmon. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Water and fisheries leaders host Sacramento Valley salmon recovery event in Redding

Water management should adapt NOW: Ralph Pentland writes, “At the outset, I would like to point out that my own background is in water and environmental management. I do not profess to be an expert on climate – so my few remarks will be based as much on intuition as on science.  Let’s begin with the basics – assuming the climate forecasters are somewhere near the right ballpark. The hydrologic effects of climate change could include changes in annual, seasonal and extreme precipitation, evaporation and runoff. There could also be an earlier onset of soil drying in early summer, and decreases in soil moisture availability. And in a cold climate like ours in Canada, we could experience a decrease in the ratio of snowmelt to rain, and an increase in the rate of snowmelt in spring months. … ”  Read more from Life plus 2 meters here:  Water management should adapt NOW

Dam good news on environmental flows: Reed Benson writes,Given its track record of dam construction in the 20th Century, the Army Corps of Engineers may seem an unlikely source of good news for rivers.  The Corps ultimately built nearly 700 dams across the nation, including some major ones in the West.  (The chapter in Cadillac Desert describing the Corps’ competition with the Bureau of Reclamation to build dams in the western states is titled “Rivals in Crime.”)  Although flood control is the main purpose of Corps dams generally, they also generate hydropower, support navigation, and provide flatwater recreation, among other things.  There is also growing interest in Corps reservoirs (not only in the West) as potential sources of water supply.  Dams can harm rivers in many ways, so it is not surprising that the Corps has a reputation for riparian destruction.  Starting in the 1980s, however, Congress began giving the Corps authority and direction for environmental restoration efforts; today, the Corps clearly wants to be known as an agency that does good things for aquatic ecosystems. … ” Read more from the Western River Law blog here:  Dam good news on environmental flows

How ecogeomorphology changed my life:  Tyler Goodearly writes,For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to study fish. Like my idols, Jacques Cousteau, or Steve Irwin, or Jeff Corwin, I too had the “fish itch,” and I knew I must follow this passion.  By the time I was in the seventh grade I had devised a 10-year plan to make this dream come true:  I would excel academically in high school, then go to UC Davis where I would study Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology under the renowned Dr. Peter Moyle (whose name was a common one around our dinner table). Yes, this was an ambitious goal, but I was as determined as a Chinook salmon returning to spawn – nothing could get in my way. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  How ecogeomorphology changed my life

Creating a student-driven water research community:  “Diku Sherpa is studying biodiversity in Sierra Nevada meadows. She has been tracking streamflow during California’s summer dry season to see if methods used to rapidly assess meadow conditions can be accurately correlated with other indicators of ecosystem health, like the presence of certain kinds of aquatic insects.  Sherpa was born in Nepal and moved to South Lake Tahoe as a teen to rejoin her father, who had immigrated years earlier. She began interning with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) while still in high school, completed her undergraduate degree at Sonoma State, and continued doing summer internships with the agency. Today, she is a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus (also known as Stan State) in Turlock where she is working toward her goal of becoming a USFS hydrologist. … ”  Read more from The Confluence blog here:  Creating a student-driven water research community

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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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