BLOG ROUND-UP: Bloggers comment on the Water Fix; Reform before the next drought; Groundwater extraction oversight; Improving hatchery survival; Climate change; Public drinking fountains; and more …

Pfeiffer Beach, photo by Devang Mundhra

Water Fix Workshops, Part 1: The project Jeffrey Kightlinger writes,For Metropolitan, this will be a very busy summer. The California WaterFix process is heading to some decisive milestones.  The process to ensure compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act has resulted in two biological opinions that will help guide water operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The participating water agencies, including Metropolitan, must establish a framework to share the costs for modernizing the water system. And the boards of these agencies then must decide whether to invest in California WaterFix.  Before that happens, we at Metropolitan will be reviewing the project from top to bottom with our board of directors in four planned workshops. … ”  Read more from the H2Outlook blog here:  Water Fix Workshops, Part 1: The project

More on the tunnels JPAAlex Breitler writes,The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California today released the first of three “white papers” on the Delta tunnels, which are supposed to inform MWD board members as the district moves toward a September vote on the project.  Most of what’s in there has been reported previously. But here are a few things I found interesting:  • The JPA. It has already been reported that the state Department of Water Resources and the water contractors were considering forming a joint powers authority to oversee construction. The white paper adds a new justification — the emergency construction work at the Oroville Dam spillway — and a few more details. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  More on the tunnels JPA

blog-round-up-previous-editionsBiological Opinion for Delta Tunnels a Milestone? “Not so fast,” say Delta protection advocatesRestore the Delta writes,Yesterday, Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District issued a statement celebrating the federal biological opinions for CA WaterFix as “an important milestone” that brings the project one step closer to completion.  Not so fast say Delta water, community, and fishery advocates.  “The federal government has only released a biological opinion on the construction of the tunnels—the public will have to wait for future biological opinions on the intakes and operations of the project,” explains Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “In essence, they’re asking contractors to commit to paying for construction without knowing how the projects will be operated and how much water can be exported.” … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Biological Opinion for Delta Tunnels a Milestone? “Not so fast,” say Delta protection advocates

Delta Doozy: Congressman Garamendi on California Water Fix diversions The State Water Contractors write, “Today’s Doozy comes in response to a June 28 guest editorial in the Sacramento Bee from U.S. Representative (D-CA 3rd District) John Garamendi, “There’s no green light for terrible Delta tunnels.” (quote from commentary) “Consider that the average flow of the Sacramento River half of the year is 12,000 to 15,000 cubic feet of water per second. If fully built, the tunnels could transport as much as 15,000 cfs, literally draining all fresh water from the San Francisco Bay and Delta half the year.”  Truth be told: There is no scenario in which the tunnels “fully built” would transport 15,000 cfs of water. … ”  Read more from the State Water Contractors here:  Delta Doozy: Congressman Garamendi on California Water Fix diversions

We need reform before the next droughtWestlands Water District writes,We are approaching a very familiar pattern in water policy that usually ends in inaction; a long dry spell where there is heightened concern followed by heavy rains that relieve the political pressure to improve the system and make changes that will mitigate the effects of the next drought. If we let this opportunity pass, our water supply will dwindle, rationing will be required, and anti-farming activists will again blame the next water shortage on farming rather than ineffective policies. Then, Californians who work hard to provide for their families will ask themselves, “Did our leaders learn ANY lessons from the drought?” … ”  Read more from the Westlands Food for Thought blog here:  We need reform before the next drought

Groundwater extraction needs oversight now, says Vance Kennedy:  He writes, “There are hundreds of deep wells in the foothills east of the San Joaquin Valley, especially in Stanislaus and Merced Counties. They are depleting the general water table at an alarming rate. When that water table drops by several hundred feet, no one will be able to live there who relies on groundwater because the cost of pumping will be too great for anyone to afford.  Such a situation is rapidly developing because thousands of acres of water-thirsty almond trees have been planted, with groundwater the overwhelming source of water. Existing ranchers and homeowners will be wiped out financially, with no legal recourse, as their wells are drained dry. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Groundwater extraction needs oversight now, says Vance Kennedy

When it comes to water, will California ever learn?  Todd Fitchette writes,Right on cue, the Kings River in Central California is over its banks in the middle of summer as California’s record snow pack becomes liquid and flows downhill as part of the fact of life that snow melts.  Pine Flat Reservoir, which stores one million acre feet of water from the Kings River for users in the south-central portion of the San Joaquin Valley, fell to about 10 percent of capacity during the damaging drought. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press blog here:  When it comes to water, will California ever learn?

Improving hatchery salmon survivalTom Cannon writes,One way to effectively increase the California coastal salmon population is to increase survival of Chinook salmon smolts released by the three large Sacramento Valley hatcheries. These three hatcheries produce nearly 30 million fall-run smolts a year and account for 70-90% of California’s ocean and river fishery catch. A one percent smolt survival leads to 300,000 adult returns to the fisheries and escapement to spawning rivers. Doubling survival to two percent would increase returns to 600,000 adults. With survival at or below one-half percent in recent drought years, returns have fallen to near 100,000. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Improving hatchery salmon survival

Managing climate: We think the real threat to our state are the humans who manage our water resources:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “It seems to us that climate change is a nice convenient answer to all the problems California water bureaucrats encounter.  Instead of building a system that can deal with current and future projected problems, state officials always say it’s the climate change problem.  Is California frozen with fear because of climate change possibilities?  We would remind you that climate change happens over centuries, not over weeks or months or even years.  While bureaucrats worry that climate change will destroy future snowpacks, we have a record snowpack to deal with.  Instead of dealing with it, we worry about future climate change. … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Managing climate: We think the real threat to our state are the humans who manage our water resources

Make public drinking water fountains great again:  Rapichan Phurisamban and Peter Gleick write, “In February of 2017, the Pacific Institute released a white paper entitled Drinking Fountains and Public Health: Improving National Infrastructure to Rebuild Trust and Ensure Access, which highlighted the limited evidence of a link between illness and disease outbreaks and drinking fountains. The report found that most problems could be traced to contamination from poor cleaning and maintenance or old water infrastructure in buildings, and called for comprehensive testing of drinking fountains, implementation of standard protocols for fountain maintenance, and a nationwide effort to replace old water infrastructure, which can be the source of lead and other contaminants. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  Make public drinking water fountains great again

The state of Sacramento Valley water: The NCWA blog writes, “As we have crossed the first major milestone under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) have emerged and are organized across the entire Sacramento Valley floor. This includes collaboration among ten counties, nearly 100 special water districts and companies, as well as landowners. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here:  The state of Sacramento Valley water

San Joaquin Valley water supplies: Unavoidable variability and uncertaintyBrad Arnold, Alvar Escriva-Bou, and Jay Lund write:  “Passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the recent drought have brought attention to chronic shortages of water in the San Joaquin Valley. Although the portfolio of water flows available to the Valley is diverse, several major inflows – including groundwater use, Delta imports, and local streamflows – are unsustainable or threatened by climate change and environmental demands. Here we examine long-term balances for San Joaquin Valley’s water supplies and demands that we discussed in a prior blog post.  In addition to the San Joaquin Valley’s substantial long-term water imbalance, many of its individual water supplies are highly variable and involve substantial operational, regulatory, and planning uncertainties. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  San Joaquin Valley water supplies: Unavoidable variability and uncertainty

Water (or lack thereof) in Indian Country:  John Fleck writes, “Native American lands have some of the poorest water infrastructure in the country: 13 percent of homes on reservations lack access to clean water or sanitation, a significant number compared to 0.6 percent for non-Native Americans. … That’s from “An Equitable Water Future”, a new white paper from the US Water Alliance (pdf). It raises important questions about equity in both water quantity and quality in the United States. While, as the report points out, broad availability of safe and reliable water is one of the Unites States’ great achievements, water challenges in terms of obtaining safe water, or water at all, remain “a daily reality for some communities”. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Water (or lack thereof) in Indian Country

Colorado River Drought Agreements Part II: Minute 32x and US-Mexico Relations on the Colorado River: Jeff Simonetti writes, “Relations between the United States and Mexico were of particular focus on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Whether discussing the border wall, revisions to NAFTA or drug enforcement policies, Mexico was a repeated and at times controversial topic of discussion. Strains over US-Mexico relations reached a focal point shortly after President Trump was inaugurated when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a White House Visit scheduled for January 27th after President Trump demanded Mexico pay for the estimated $12-15 billion completion of the proposed border wall. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Colorado River Drought Agreements Part II: Minute 32x and US-Mexico Relations on the Colorado River

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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.

One Response

  1. criticalreader1

    Re: SWC Supposed Debunking of Garamendi Claim: Wow that is interesting that the State Water Contractors claim that there would be a 26,000 cfs bypass flow past the proposed Delta Tunnels intakes when diverting 9,000 cfs.
    http://www.swc.org/in-the-news/2596/delta-doozy-congressman-garamendi-on-waterfix-diversions

    According evidence submitted by DWR in the SWRCB water rights proceedings, the bypass flow would be only 5,000 cfs in the summer months, and 7,000 Dec-April, in addition to meeting water quality requirements.
    http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/exhibits/docs/petitioners_exhibit/dwr/dwr_515.pdf

    SWC should provide the basis for its claim that a 26,000 cfs bypass flow would be required. Documents submitted to the SWRCB indicate otherwise, and show that the tunnels would create a permanent drought condition in the Delta, starving the estuary of needed freshwater inflows from the Sacramento River. Additionally, the recently issued Biological Opinions only cover tunnel construction, defer consideration of operation of the tunnels, and provide no required operational parameters. The BOs are hardly an endorsement from the fish agencies that the project will not irreversibly harm the estuary, as Garamendi says.

    Reply

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