BLOG ROUND-UP: Climate change and California’s water supply; Responses to Governor’s State of the State address; The drought emergency; Ag water conservation; and more …

Windswept by Alistair Nicol

Droughts and floods: How climate change is affecting California’s water supply:  Juliet Christian Smith writes, “The beginning of the new year brought massive amounts of precipitation to the northern half of the Golden State. So much rain, in fact, that some rivers have flooded over their banks, damaging property and endangering lives. And today, the U.S. Drought Monitor estimates that only about 60% of the state remains in drought, with a very small portion of the state experiencing “extreme” drought conditions. Yet, a quarter of the state remains in “severe” drought, which includes some of our largest cities and dying forests. And year after year, we are using more water than we receive, causing long-term groundwater overdraft (we use about 1 million acre-feet more groundwater than is replaced, annually). ... ”  Read more at The Equation blog here:  Droughts and floods: How climate change is affecting California’s water supply

Governor’s funding plan for climate change, drought:  Jelena Jezdimirovic and Caitrin Chapelle write, “Governor Brown has released a proposed budget that reaffirms the state’s commitment to boosting drought resiliency and battling climate change. While specifics are likely to change before the budget is finalized in June, here is a summary of key proposals.  Cap and trade: California’s recent efforts to combat climate change have been funded from its cap-and-trade program. The program faces an uncertain future because its statutory authority is set to expire in 2020. Partly due to this uncertainty, 2016 cap-and-trade auctions raised a fraction of the money raised in previous years. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Governor’s funding plan for climate change, drought

Restore the Delta responds to Governor’s State of the State address:  “Today, California Governor Jerry Brown gave his State of the State Address.  Facing the incoming Trump Administration, governor Brown warned Californians that, “While no one knows what the new leaders will actually do, there are signs that are disturbing…We must prepare for very uncertain times.”   Governor Brown then praised President Trump’s plan for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. He quoted Trump from his inaugural address, “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges and airport, and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.”  In response to Trump’s plan, Governor Brown said during his State of the State Address, “Amen to that brother!”  Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta and lead organizer against the Delta Tunnels responded with the following statement: … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta responds to Governor’s State of the State address

State Water Contractors responds to Restore the Delta’s response to Governor’s address:  “Today’s Doozy comes in response to Restore the Delta’s statement regarding Governor Jerry Brown’s January 24 “State of the State” address and comments pertaining to new California infrastructure.  “It seems that Governor Brown plans to compromise the health and safety of Delta residents for a project that will leave the Delta with water that will fail to meet Clean Water Act standards. … ”  Truth be told: California WaterFix must meet all state and federal water quality standards, including the Clean Water Act. Day-to-day project operations will be adjusted on an ongoing basis to satisfy all water quality and flow requirements. ... ”  Read more from the State Water Contractors here:  Delta Doozy: Delta Water Won’t Meet CWA Standards Post-WaterFix

blog-round-up-previous-editionsA governor of two minds:  Aubrey Bettencourt writes, “California finds itself in simultaneous — conflicting and confusing — statewide emergencies. Depending on Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s whim, we are either enduring a drought emergency or a flood emergency.  On the one hand, there is the State of Emergency Declaration of a Statewide Drought, issued January 17, 2014 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and never rescinded.  On the other hand, California is also subject to the State of Emergency issued January 23, 2017 for flooding with impacts to 50 of the state’s 56 counties, from San Diego in the south to Siskiyou and Del Norte in the north. … ”  Read more from the California Water Alliance here:  A governor of two minds

Flood emergency = Drought emergency:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “When rivers are full, when cities are flooding, when reservoirs are releasing water because they’re too full, when there’s more water than we know what to do with, when is it time to say it’s not a drought any more?  The current rainy season proves beyond a doubt that the drought is man-made.  If we had systems in place to tame this wild water and places to store it we would be ready for the next drought which will most certainly come soon.   … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Flood emergency = Drought emergency

Episode 2: “Unraveling the Knot” Water Movement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – Tidal Forces:  “Tides are the biggest driver of Delta flows, and in Episode 2 we look at their impacts in different locations under a variety of inflow conditions.  Tides have a twice-daily cycle in the region, with a range of about six feet at Martinez.  In the first part of the animation, we remove all in-Delta controls and diversions and fix inflows at a common moderate early summer level to isolate effects of tidal forces from those of inflows, gates, and export diversions.  When the moon and sun are more aligned (full and new moon periods), tidal magnitude is greater.  Distances to the moon and sun influence tidal magnitude as do winds and barometric pressure.  Winds and barometric pressure are fixed in this animation. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Episode 2: “Unraveling the Knot” Water Movement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – Tidal Forces  See also: Episode 3: “Unraveling the Knot” Water Movement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – Managing Flows

Floods remind us to make agricultural water conservation a top priority:  Andrea Basche writes, “Yes, you’ve been reading the headlines correctly the last few weeks. There’s been so much rain in drought-stricken California that excess water has led to flooded homes, damaged roads, dangerous mudslides and tragically, several fatalities. To make matters worse, the abundant rainfall hasn’t even cured the state’s current woes: while snowpack levels are now above normal, drought persists in Southern California and rain has already exceeded the capacity of some reservoirs—meaning that much of this water can’t be stored for the future.  This is an important reminder that conditions can change rapidly, as is happening now in California. It can be hard to understand how the challenges can move so quickly from one extreme to the other, but droughts and floods are actually both symptoms of the same water problem: too much water when it is not needed and not enough when it is. … ”  Read more from the Equation blog here:  Floods remind us to make agricultural water conservation a top priority

More on Delta smelt tidal surfing:  Tom Cannon writes, “The last post about risk to Delta smelt was on January 9. Adult smelt migrate into the Delta from the Bay in winter to spawn. They take advantage of the flood tide to move upstream. However, with flood flows as high as 100,000 cfs entering the north Delta from the Sacramento River, the Yolo Bypass, and Georgiana Slough in mid- to late January 2017, there are no flood tides to ride into the north Delta spawning areas. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  More on Delta smelt tidal surfing

California puts oil profits ahead of safe drinking water:  Briana Mordick writes, “California state agencies last week said they’ll put the interests of Big Oil and Gas before the interests of public health.  The California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources’ (DOGGR) and State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) plan will allow oil and gas companies to violate state regulations, miss agreed-upon deadlines, and continue putting precious drinking water at risk by injecting potentially toxic wastewater and other fluids into federally protected aquifers.  In early 2015, DOGGR admitted that decades of poor communication, inadequate record-keeping, and lax oversight resulted in as many as 5,625 injection wells being permitted to inject into underground source of drinking water (USDW) aquifers. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here:  California puts oil profits ahead of safe drinking water

River Garden Farms has its second SLEWS day:  Twelve Woodland High School students (along with their teacher and a chaperone) participating in the Center for Land-Based Learning’s SLEWS programs braved the cold foggy morning and returned to River Garden Farms Wednesday, January 25 for the second in a series of three visits to continue work on our Riparian Habitat Project.  The goal for the day was planting a variety of sixteen species of shrubs, trees, and grasses that are native to the area. The day was headed up by Matt Lechmaier from the Center for Land-Based Learning, while Matthew Danielczyk from Audubon provided the planting layout and instruction. On hand to assist and mentor once again were Jacob Byers from US Fish and Wildlife Service, and UC Davis Grad Students Ross Brennan, Katy Dynarski, and Jared Borba. ... ”  Read more from the River Garden Farms here:  River Garden Farms has its second SLEWS day

Saving water for California’s future: The public benefits of Sites Reservoir:  “The past several years have been a good reminder that California’s hydrology is both variable and unpredictable. This variability is one reason that the proposed Sites Reservoir is so important and valuable to California.  In 2015, with hardly any snowpack or rainfall in Northern California, Sites Reservoir could have captured 660,000 acre-feet of water from two storm events. In 2017, a wet year so far, Sites could have captured 585,000 acre-feet of water by January 17. On an annualized basis, Sites Reservoir adds about 500,000 acre-feet of water annually to California’s water system, allowing an additional 1.12 million acre-feet of water to be stored in other Sacramento Valley reservoirs during drought years. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Saving water for California’s future: The public benefits of Sites Reservoir

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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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