BLOG ROUND-UP: Delta tunnel subsidies, Delta restoration, Flow objectives for San Joaquin River tributaries, recycled water, and more …


Mendocino Dusk; Photo by Abe Kleinfeld

Cowin on tunnels subsidy: ‘I can put that issue to rest’:  Alex Brietler writes, “Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, told water planners in Los Angeles on Monday that the state will not seek a federal subsidy for the Delta tunnels.  Cowin’s comments came after tunnels opponents last month released a draft economic analysis of the project by economist David Sunding, a consultant for the state. Sunding’s report suggested that a hefty government subsidy would be needed for the tunnels to pencil out, which would run contrary to the state’s longstanding position that water users who benefit from the tunnels must pay the full cost.  Here’s what Cowin told board members of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California ... ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Cowin on tunnels subsidy: ‘I can put that issue to rest’

blog-round-up-previous-editionsDelta Restoration: Welcome signs of progress:  Jeffrey Kightlinger writes:  “When surveyed in 2012 by the Public Policy Institute of California, scientists who conduct research in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta stated that the restoration of habitat, above all other actions, was their highest priority. Progress has come slowly, but it is finally beginning to happen thanks to direct actions by Metropolitan and other public water agencies.  On Sept. 19, Metropolitan was on hand to celebrate the commencement of the first tidal wetlands restoration project to help achieve a 2008 federal directive to restore 8,000 such acres throughout the Delta. The location is the Suisun Marsh next to Grizzly Bay, where a former duck club known as Tule Red will be converted into 710 acres of tidal wetlands for delta smelt, salmon and other important fish species. … ”  Read more from the H2Outlook blog here:  Delta Restoration: Welcome signs of progress

What Exactly is California DWR Selling Bonds For? Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “As the only watchdog group digging through bond announcements by California water agencies, I wanted to share a mystery that crossed my desk this week.  A new bond by the California Department of Water Resources (for sale 10/13) raises a big question for SF Bay-Delta advocates. We wonder, if funding for a squishy money pot called “construction of certain Water System Projects” an attempt to stock away funds for the unpermitted Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix)?  According to a recent Bay-Delta committee report at Metropolitan Water District, the CA WaterFix (Delta Tunnels) line item is down to about $1.5 million in the kitty. It is hard for non-financial experts to know which projects the money is being allocated for, so we sent a new Public Records Act Request to the Department of Water Resources. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  What Exactly is California DWR Selling Bonds For?

Are farmers and San Francisco up the same river?  Todd Fitchette writes, “Rather than call out the hypocrisy of San Francisco’s complaint that losing nearly half of its Tuolumne River water to the State Water Board and environmental activists, let’s see these concerns as a “glass half-full” opportunity.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s opinion page, the city/county’s public utilities commission is concerned about losing much of its water to a state water grab with strong concerns rippling across the state.  In an opinion piece written by general managers of the San Francisco PUC and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, roughly 2.6 million Bay Area water customers would be severely impacted if state water regulators take 40 percent of their water through a plan to force about half the Tuolumne River to be released to the ocean with no diversions allowed. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press Blog here:  Are farmers and San Francisco up the same river?

Bob Pyke responds to Secretary Laird’s commentary on the Loma Prieta earthquake:  “John Laird has had a distinguished career and it is sad to see him become a flack for Jerry Brown’s political interests and legacy.  The Twin Tunnels (officially called the California WaterFix) are basically about the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wanting to steal better quality water from the North Delta so that they can blend it with the salty water they get from the Colorado River.  Secondarily it is about Westlands Water District and others (including the Santa Clara Valley Water District) wanting to increase their chances of filling San Luis Reservoir more regularly, although it is unclear whether that would actually happen. It is not really about the risk to the Delta levees due to earthquakes.   … ”  Continue reading here:  Bob Pyke comment on Laird commentary

Recycled drinking water: The next frontier: California is poised to become an early adopter of the direct reuse of purified wastewater as a source of drinking water. The State Water Board recently released a report for public comment that indicates it is feasible to regulate direct potable reuse to produce safe and reliable drinking water (comments are due by noon on October 25, 2016). We talked to David Sedlak—one of the 12 experts who worked on the report and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about this potential new water source.  Public Policy Institute of California: How can treated wastewater be used?  David Sedlak: There are two main ways we reuse municipal wastewater. The first is referred to as non-potable reuse, which is the practice of taking water from conventional sewage treatment plants and subjecting it to a little more treatment before using it for landscape or agricultural irrigation or for an industrial use, like cooling towers or boilers. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Recycled drinking water: The next frontier

California Roundtable on Water & Food Supply Reviews the California Water Action Plan:  Brooking Gatewood writes,After five years of deep dialogue, research, and case analysis on key water issues, the California Roundtable on Water & Food Supply (CRWFS) took on a new challenge this past year: assessing a gubernatorial initiative. What happens when you bring the CRWFS Connectivity Approach to bear on one of the state’s most holistic efforts at water management to date? Read on to find out.  Governor Brown’s California Water Action Plan (WAP)[1] is led by a unique multiple-department collaboration including the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). It calls for improved collaboration between state, federal and local governments, regional agencies, tribal governments, and the public and the private sectors. It is ambitious, proactive, innovative, and outlines 10 actions to improve water supply reliability, protect water rights, preserve the integrity of California’s infrastructure, increase stewardship, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable and resilient future (2016 Update). .. ”  Read more from Ag Innovations here:  California Roundtable on Water & Food Supply Reviews the California Water Action Plan

Water is for fighting over? A review of John Fleck’s recent book:  Jay Lund writes, “Most expressions on Western water issues are reflex or studied advocacy favoring a single viewpoint or opposing other viewpoints.  A minority provide thoughtful and reasonably balanced insights.  John Fleck’s new book, “Water is for fighting over” is at the 1% extreme of thoughtful readable pieces on western water.  The book is one of the most insightful and helpful works on Western water since Cadillac Desert.  Although the work focuses on the Colorado River, its lessons and observations are likely to resonate throughout the American West, dry parts of the world, and for those managing natural resources more generally.  His observations represent a new and more useful view of how to manage the wicked problems of western water. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Water is for fighting over? A review of John Fleck’s recent book

Judge slams Oakdale Irrigation District: Eric Caine writes,Last June, the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) attempted to gag two newly-elected board members by asking that they be prohibited from voting on issues relating to OID’s fallowing program. Yesterday, Judge John Freeland slammed OID for the action, ruling it, “would essentially amount to placing handcuffs on Defendants’ ability to effectively operate as duly elected members of the Plaintiff’s Board of Directors.”  The ruling is just the latest in a string of humiliating defeats for a water district whose majority board members and management seem to have disregarded entirely their responsibilities as a public entity. Last year, OID General Manager Steve Knell admitted the district had conducted a secret water sale, and prior to that the district had to cancel a planned fallowing program for failure to observe protocols required by the California Environmental Quality Act. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Judge slams Oakdale Irrigation District  See follow-up post from the Valley Citizen here: OID Suit Sets Ugly Precedent

Coastal freshwater aquifers join the sea: Nazli Koseoglu writes, “Global sea level is rising at an accelerating rate in response to global warming. As temperatures increase, ice growth in winter falls behind ice melt in summer resulting shrinkage of nearly all surveyed glaciers worldwide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, decline in ice cover increases amount of freshwater lost to the oceans and has already added about eight inches to the average sea level since Industrial Revolution. The IPCC forecasts [pdf] continuation of this trend in increasing sea levels over the course of this century with 0.4 to 0.8 metre additional increase only if the zero emissions are achieved as a result of historical emissions. On the other hand a more pessimistic  realistic scenario by the World Bank predicts up to 2 metres increase in the sea level assuming global carbon emissions remain unabated. A 2-metre rise in sea levels means an extreme reshaping of coastlines, possible flooding of many low-lying and coastal cities, and severe inundation of several islands. … ”  Read more from Life Plus 2 Meters here:  Coastal freshwater aquifers join the sea

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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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