BLOG ROUND-UP: Drought preparedness, using analogies, bear crap in the woods, fuel for fire, desalination, adjudicated groundwater basins, policy priorities, and more …

“Stands Alone” by Thomas Hawk

blog-round-up-previous-editionsDon’t lose sight of the real goal: Drought preparedness and efficiency:  Tim Quinn writes, “You don’t have to look hard for proof that Californians are making permanent changes to the way they use water. In communities up and down the state, turf removal is a common sight as homeowners say goodbye to lawns and hello to water-wise landscapes.  Aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates offered by local agencies, urban water customers are taking concrete action outdoors as well as changing out toilets and appliances indoors. These actions translate into meaningful water use reductions that can be sustained into the future.  Yet this clear shift to permanent change is all but overlooked in the way State Water Resources Control Board staff describes monthly water use figures reported by urban water suppliers. ... ”  Read more from ACWA”s Voices on Water here:  Don’t lose sight of the real goal: Drought preparedness and efficiency

Do not use analogies:  On the Public Record writes, “Analogies are the very devil; always more harmful to the conversation than a clear enunciation of the issue itself.   When offered an analogy in an important conversation, I suggest that you refuse to engage with it and ask instead for a direct statement of the issue.  That said, I am seeing a common theme in ag responses to the instream flow requirements that sounds like this … ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here:  Do not use analogies

Do bears crap in the woods?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “The Delta Smelt excuse to send water through the Delta to the sea must be wearing off as we see environmental theory evolving into salmon carcasses and bear crap.  The Los Angeles Times, which is the major newspaper for Southern California, where there are 20 million residents who mainly depend on getting their water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is making the case for more water flowing to the ocean instead of flowing to SoCal and their readers.  This is now based on their theory of salmon carcasses and bear crap. … ”  Continue reading at Families Protecting the Valley here:  Do bears crap in the woods?

Fuel for the fire: Melissa Rohde writes, “Trees in California’s Sierra Nevada region have recently been experiencing unprecedented levels of mortality.  This summer, the US Forest Service found an additional 26 million dead trees in California since October 2015 (Figure 2). However, tree mortality has been on the rise in the Sierra Nevada region with a total loss of 66 million trees since 2010.  The US Forest Service has attributed a combination of the on-going drought, rise in bark beetle infestation, and rising temperatures for exacerbating the rate of tree mortality.  This combination of stressors has not only caused additional concern for increased wildfire risk, but also has raised environmental concern for the health of our forest ecosystems.   … ”  Read more from Reflections on Water here:  Fuel for the fire

Desalination and the commons: David Zetland writes, “I started this paper 2 years ago while working in Saudi Arabia. I was trying to understand the “rationality” behind desalination projects that made little economic sense. In San Diego, for example, it would be cheaper to reduce demand for water used on lawns than to spend $1 billion on a new desalination plant to bring more supply. After a lot of thinking, I came round to a political explanation: desalination “makes sense” when politicians allocate costs to one group (usually “the commoners”) and deliver benefits to another (usually special interests), but there are clear exceptions, as you’ll see in the paper.  “Desalination and the commons: tragedy or triumph?” International Journal of Water Resources Development   … ”  Read more from Aguanomics here:  Desalination and the commons

Evaluating California’s adjudicated groundwater basins in the SGMA era:  Ruth Langridge writes, “Groundwater is a critical resource in California. While the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) established new requirements and increased state oversight for many overdrafted basins,[ii] groundwater basins adjudicated before the passage of SGMA are exempt from the statute’s requirements[iii].  Groundwater adjudication is where water users turn to the courts to resolve a dispute about water in a basin[iv]. Theoretically, the court defines and quantifies water rights for all groundwater users in the basin, and appoints a Watermaster to ensure that the basin is managed in accordance with the court’s adjudication decree. Prior to adjudication, a “physical solution,” often involving allocating a “safe yield” quantity among users and importing water, may be negotiated, and the court can accept it in whole or in part, or reject it and craft a different solution to manage the basin. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Evaluating California’s adjudicated groundwater basins in the SGMA era

Policy priorities for California’s water:  “Four years into this drought—with the possibility of a fifth on the way—what have we learned about addressing the diverse challenges of scarce water supplies? A PPIC Water Policy Center event in Sacramento last week brought together experts to discuss four of the state’s key policy challenges: strengthening urban drought resilience, managing groundwater in rural areas, addressing declining ecosystem health, and ensuring safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities.  The far-ranging conversations took the audience on a virtual tour of California’s drought hot spots. It included Central Valley towns subsisting on bottled water after local wells dried up, stressed rivers and streams with numerous fish species on the brink of extinction, and farmers anticipating big changes to rural economies as a law to maintain sustainable groundwater levels is implemented. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Policy priorities for California’s water

Climate change is shaping California’s water future:  “In the water world, October marks the beginning of a new “water year,” which means that the 2016 drought year is officially over and speculation is already beginning over whether the coming year will be wet or dry. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a “weak” La Niña or dry weather pattern starting in late fall or early winter. … But here’s what’s not in the news: El Niño and its counterpart La Niña are nothing compared to what we call “La Madre” of California’s water: climate change. We just hosted a webinar with Laurel Firestone, the co-founder of the Community Water Center, on how climate change is already affecting California’s water system biophysically, socially, and economically. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  Climate change is shaping California’s water future

EPA lets stormwater polluters off the hook – again:  Becky Hammer writes, “Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied yet another request to toughen up on sources of pollution that are fouling urban waters across the country. NRDC and our partner organizations are disappointed in this response, and more generally, in the agency’s continuing lack of leadership on this issue.  Stormwater runoff is an enormous problem across the United States and is the only growing source of water pollution in many areas. Much of this pollution comes from existing developed sites that were built with minimal or no controls to stop massive quantities of dirty runoff from flowing into our rivers, streams, and lakes. This pollution threatens people’s health, fouls the communities where we live, and impacts our economy by causing beach closures and other lost recreation opportunities. … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  EPA lets stormwater polluters off the hook – again

Are there ways to pay for infrastructure in California and conserve water?  Jeff Simonetti writes, “While the traditional calendar may still say that there are three more months left in 2016, water year 2016 is now in the books, ending on September 30th. While some parts of California had an about average winter in terms of precipitation (particularly in northern California), other areas did not fare as well. Unfortunately, the Golden State begins the 2017 water year in a sixth straight year of drought. According to the most recent US Drought Monitor, although levels of exceptional drought have dropped from 44.84% at the start of the calendar year to 21.04% currently, 100% of the state still has some form of drought. California is one of only four states in the US with any exceptional drought conditions. (Interestingly, Georgia, Alabama and a small part of Tennessee are the other states currently experiencing exceptional drought.) … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Are there ways to pay for infrastructure in California and conserve water?

From Tennessee to the arid West, water runs through Maurice Hall’s work:  He writes, “Eastern Tennessee, at the edge of Appalachia, is a beautiful part of the country. Abundant rainfall and a humid climate have created a lush, green landscape filled with thriving streams and rivers. As an adolescent living in this environment, fishing was one of my family’s favorite pastimes. I have such great memories of floating these rivers and catching smallmouth bass and walleye.  But not all streams were great for fishing in Eastern Tennessee. Runoff and sedimentation from widespread coal mining and manufacturing would turn some rivers red. The sight of rivers nearly devoid of life disturbed me and marked the beginning of my slow evolution toward a career in water management. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  From Tennessee to the arid West, water runs through my work

Leaders gather in Maxwell to support progressive water management:  The Northern California Water Association Blog writes, “A diverse and bi-partisan group of state and local elected officials, regional water resources managers, farmers, labor and business leaders gathered today in Maxwell to mark the significant milestones achieved in the development of Sites Reservoir, and to acknowledge the momentum gaining for this important project that will provide public benefits and statewide water system improvements (see release below).  Importantly, Sites Reservoir is not a traditional water storage project. It is a 21st century water management project that looks to California’s future by regulating and storing water to serve various beneficial purposes at critical times–water needed for cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds and recreation. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Leaders gather in Maxwell to support progressive water management

The message from the Colorado Delta pulse flow: a little water can go a long way:  John Fleck writes, “There’s an important point I try to make when I’m out in public talking about the 2014 Colorado River Delta environmental pulse flow: the amount of water used and the size of the landscape that got wet, compared to the once-vast delta, is tiny.  I get excited about the pulse flow, when water managers on both sides of the US-Mexico border in the spring of 2014 released water from Morelos Dam into the usually-dry delta. For those of us who were there, it was a life-changing experience. But at a bit more than 100,000 acre feet of water, it was less than 1 percent of the water that once flowed every year into the delta before we diverted the Colorado River’s water upstream for our farms and cities. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  The message from the Colorado Delta pulse flow: a little water can go a long way

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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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