Late afternoon reflections of an Aspen grove off South Lake Road, Bishop, CA Photo by Jan Arendtsz

BLOG ROUND-UP: Drought, coequal goals, Valley groundwater, water markets, measuring water, stormwater, and more …

Late afternoon reflections of an Aspen grove off South Lake Road, Bishop, CA Photo by Jan Arendtsz
Late afternoon reflections of an Aspen grove off South Lake Road, Bishop, CA Photo by Jan Arendtsz

Drought prospects in California for the New 2017 Water Year – October 1, 2016: Jay Lund writes, “Happy New Water Year 2017!  Hopefully everyone has recovered from their celebrations.  The 2016 drought year is over. It was milder year than the four previous drought years. The great wet hope of the “Godzilla” El Nino did not end the drought, but brought only near average precipitation.  Going into the new water year, California remains in a drought.  Here are some highlights of current conditions ... ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here:  Drought Prospects in California for the New 2017 Water Year – October 1, 2016

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Some goals are more coequal than others.  On the Public Record writes,You know, if you are trying to persuade the public that California should be implementing the “Coequal Goals” for water management, it doesn’t help to sound horrified at the prospect of leaving half the water in a river.  Well… maybe as much as half the water in the river, if keeping forty percent in the river doesn’t support a living river.  I never liked the Coequal Goals, because I thought they suggested that everyone could have what they want.  I’d prefer that Californians squarely face the inevitable retreat that climate change is bringing and make deliberate choices.  But Mr. Quinn trots out the Coequal Goals all the damn time.  … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Some goals are more coequal than others.

Wrong message, says Families Protecting the Valley:  “The Fresno Bee editorializes “state lawmakers need to summon the backbone to…stop this agricultural water grab.”  It’s disheartening for farmers to see the newspaper of record in the Central San Joaquin Valley berate them for pumping groundwater to grow their crops.  The Fresno Bee editorializes “state lawmakers need to summon the backbone to…stop this agricultural water grab.”  We would prefer that the Bee editorialize about how unelected bureaucrats make policy allowing environmental water grabs like the pumping restrictions that keep ag water from flowing to the west side of the Valley … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Wrong message

Valley water: The ag bubble: For years now, San Joaquin Valley residents have known the state would be providing more water for fish and the San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. Now that the time for increased flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers is near, the protests of Valley leaders can hardly make up for years of cavalier abuse of a public resource.  Consider that even during the worst drought in memory, Valley farmers continued to plant thousands upon thousands of acres of so-called “permanent” crops like almonds and walnuts. Consider also that farmers in the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) and Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) have consistently resisted covering even the costs of delivering their water. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here:  Valley water: The ag bubble

On the Public Record explains their opposition to undirected water markets.  OtPR writes,I finally figured out the full chain of my objection to enviro support for water markets this morning.  (Thanks to Faith Kearns for giving me the final piece I needed.)  I should write this up fully, but want to preview my chain of reasoning with you.  The outline gives a pretty decent look at my belief chain.  This and my three questions of water markets are among my better thought on the topic.  Here we go:  Based on the myth that ag water use is inefficient, therefore conserve and market. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here: Chain of reasoning for [OtPR’s] opposition to undirected water markets.  Read followup post here: At least game out a few years first.

Making homes more water efficient: Outside water use varies dramatically in California depending on location—hot, dry places use more than cool, coastal cities, for example. But the state also has huge variation for inside water use. We talked to Dave Cogdill—CEO and president of the California Building Industry Association and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center Advisory Council—who explains how California could save billions of gallons a year if older homes were as water efficient as newer ones.  PPIC: How water efficient is the state’s current housing stock?  Dave Cogdill: New homes are quite water efficient, but about two-thirds of the state’s homes were built prior to water-efficiency standards. Our studies show that homes built after 1980 are two times more efficient in water use than those built prior to these standards—mostly due to water-efficient fixtures that are required for new construction. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Making homes more water efficient

Some notes on measuring water:  John Fleck writes, “There is something manifestly silly about the assertion, in table 5a of the Bureau of Reclamation’s 2015 Colorado River Accounting and Water Use Report, that the Imperial Irrigation District diverted 2,455,649 acre feet of water from river at Imperial Dam that year.  Park of the core curriculum for our University of New Mexico Water Resources Program students is an intensive field class in which students go out and measure water in a variety of ways (flow, chemistry, ecosystem properties, etc.). One of the class’s purposes, UNM engineering water guru Mark Stone tells the students, is to instill a healthy sense of the humility in the face of the difficulty of accurately measuring the parameters we’re using to manage water. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Some notes on measuring water

NRDC fights to fix LA stormwater policy: Becky Hayat writes,Los Angeles loves its beaches. In the summer, you practically have to elbow your way through the mob of tourists, surfers, and families to get to the water. But now, with the days getting cooler and shorter, the crowd of visitors is thinning. Unfortunately, this means I’ll need to accept that summer really is over. At the same time, I feel relief that those summertime beachgoers are no longer exposing themselves to the pollutants that have drained out to sea.  When rain falls onto streets, parking lots, and sidewalks, it runs along those impervious surfaces and picks up trash, metals, pesticides, pet wastes, and other contaminants. This highly polluted runoff is then discharged, untreated, into nearby beaches and rivers. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  NRDC fights to fix LA stormwater policy

What Lessons from the Long-term Drought in the West Can New England use to address its Current Drought? Jeff Simonetti writes,Over the last few years, when we think of drought in the United States, the western US and California in particular have taken much of the spotlight for exceptional drought conditions. While California’s drought conditions across the state have not ameliorated significantly, other areas of the country have slipped into severe drought. Parts of New England in particular are facing extreme drought conditions that rival the severity of California.  As you can see in the chart above, Massachusetts in particular is facing drought conditions that rival California’s. While Massachusetts has no amount of land in the exceptional drought category (21.04% of California is under the exceptional drought category), 100% of the Bay State is experiencing some level of drought. Further, 52.13% of Massachusetts is experiencing extreme drought or more, compared to 42.8% of California. Other states in the northeast including Maine, New Hampshire and New York all have some areas of extreme drought. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  What Lessons from the Long-term Drought in the West Can New England use to address its Current Drought?

Happy New Water Year, Colorado River Basin! Now get to work … John Fleck writes,As the new “water year” begins, we’ve got some challenges in the Colorado River Basin.  It is worth noting some good news – despite a mediocre runoff year at 88 percent of average, storage in the basin’s two huge reservoirs, Mead and Powell, is almost exactly the same as it was last year at this time. Lake Powell ended September with a surface elevation of 3,611 feet above sea level, five feet above last year. Lake Mead ended at 1,075, three feet below last year. But it’s taken a lot of institutional duct tape to hold things together at those levels, and duct tape is not sustainable. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Happy New Water Year, Colorado River Basin! Now get to work …

Rising tides: a view from dry land:  Clay Reynolds writes,Growing up on the semi-arid prairies of West Texas, I didn’t care much about sea-levels. As a boy, I never saw a river I couldn’t walk across, although becoming stuck in quicksand or victimized by some random vermin or other while breaking through the wild-plum thickets along the sandy banks of our neighborhood creek and riverbeds was a threat. When I first saw the Mississippi, I couldn’t believe it. These times of my childhood where I grew up were the years of drought. It lasted seven years, actually, so oceanic waters meant little to me. Although as an infant my family visited California and, I was told, spent time on the beach, I have no memory of the Pacific. I didn’t even see the Gulf of Mexico until I was twelve, and the Atlantic wasn’t in my experience for another decade. ... ” Read more from Life plus 2 meters here:  Rising tides: a view from dry land

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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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