BLOG ROUND-UP: Dangerous ideas in California water, Prop 1 arithmetic, Delta tunnels, Irrigating less, and more …

Bay Bridge by Chris Chabot

blog-round-up-previous-editionsWe hold our convenient truths to be self evident – Dangerous ideas in California water:  Jay Lund writes, “Success in water management requires broad agreement and coalitions. But people often seem to group themselves into communities of interests and ideology, which see complex water problems differently. Each group tends to hold different truths to be self-evident, as outlined below.  These beliefs, when firmly held, do not stand up to scientific scrutiny, appear to other groups as self-serving nonsense, and hinder cooperative discussions on better solutions. The counter-productive aspects of these ideas make them dangerous to policy discussions. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  We hold our convenient truths to be self evident – Dangerous ideas in California water

Remembering Prop 1: “Voters are being misled if they think they are going to get a meaningful amount of water out of new dams.”  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Do you remember Prop 1?  It was back in November of 2014 when the people of California voted to fund $2.7-billion for water storage projects in California.  It’s been 3-years and still there’s no ‘for sure’ project in sight.  Environmental groups opposed any big dam projects and according to Ron Stork with Friends of the River in the Mercury News in 2014, “All the good dam sites are taken and the water is already diverted,” he said. “Voters are being misled if they think they are going to get a meaningful amount of water out of new dams.” … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Remembering Prop 1: “Voters are being misled if they think they are going to get a meaningful amount of water out of new dams.”

Simple Arithmetic: We want all the water we can get, but does this really deliver water to farms in a way that will really help?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We’ve been reading about the Temperance Flat application for Prop 1 funding.  We’re trying to figure our how much water there will be in the pipeline on an annual basis.  The proposed project will hold 1.3 million acre-feet.  The concept is that we’ll get these big rain years every 7 or 8 years and be able to store the water for use over the the next 7 or eight years.  So, if you divide 1.3 million by 7 you get 185,000 acre-feet per year.  But, if the public through Prop 1 pays 50%, then the public gets 50% of the water.  Public water is defined as environmental  That means the remaining 50% goes to cities and ag which will be 92,000 acre-feet per year.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Simple Arithmetic: We want all the water we can get, but does this really deliver water to farms in a way that will really help?

Lawsuits, get yer lawsuits here:  Alex Breitler does what I confess I am too lazy to do:  He is trying to compile the complete list of everyone who has filed a lawsuit against the tunnels.  (Thanks, Alex!)  Check it out here:  Lawsuits, get yer lawsuits here

State refuses public records act request on WaterFix costs:  Doug Obegi writes, “On April 10, 2017, NRDC formally submitted a request for documents regarding cost allocation for WaterFix to the California Department of Water Resources, pursuant to the California Public Records Act. We sought documents and records about how DWR and the state and federal water contractors proposed to pay for WaterFix, believing that the public has a right to know who will be stuck paying for this boondoggle. Even as MWD and other agencies began debating whether to commit to pay for the tunnels, DWR failed to provide us with any public documents. We continued to wait.  On Friday, more than 4 months after we filed our request, the State finally disclosed a total of 21 documents in response to our request for public records.  Most of these were non substantive emails about meetings with the contractors and the Bureau of Reclamation, and a few substantive documents (which we’ll discuss later this week). … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  State refuses public records act request on WaterFix costs

What happened at key water districts this week and more:  Restore the Delta writes: “This week, Restore the Delta participated in special board meetings and workshops on the Delta Tunnels at key water districts in Southern California, Santa Clara Valley, and in the west San Joaquin Valley.  We live tweeted every meeting we were at. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  What happened at key water districts this week and more

Can $3 a month really pay for the tunnels?  Jeff Michael writes, “Metropolitan Water District and the LA Department of Water and Power have recently released reports saying the Delta tunnels are affordable because they will only cost the average household about $3 per month.  And they have white papers to back it up.  Rather than check the math in those white papers line by line, I suggest taking a step back to see if it adds up. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  Can $3 a month really pay for the tunnels?

Water Fix declining trend:  Jeff Michael writes, “I recently started adding this table to presentations about the Delta tunnels. It generated a lot of comments, so I will add it to the blog.  Water agencies promoting the Delta tunnels say they are worth investing in because of the downward trend in water exports from the Delta under the current system, and the prospect of additional regulation if the Delta environment and fish species’ continue to deteriorate. The implication is that the WaterFix will stop the decline, but is that justified? ... ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  Water Fix declining trend

What is California’s tab for 1,2,3-TCP groundwater contamination?  Rod Smith writes, “On July 18, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a drinking water standard for the regulation of the contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP). The Division of Drinking Water set the standard for TCP at 5 parts per trillion (ppt) as a maximum contaminant level. If public water systems exceed the standard, they will be required to notify their customers and take corrective action. Based on recent actions taken by the City of Bakersfield to correct their TCP problems, the total tab for California’s public water systems will exceed $4 billion. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  What is California’s tab for 1,2,3-TCP groundwater contamination?

Natural Resources Agency announces Pacific Flyway investments:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “This week, the California Natural Resources Agency announced that approximately $89 million in grants are being awarded to improve Pacific Flyway habitat in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. These investments will allow the recipients to make needed improvements to the water conveyance facilities used to deliver water to the lands providing the habitat and to secure water supplies for refuge lands. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Natural Resources Agency announces Pacific Flyway investments

Video: Sonar footage of River Garden’s salmon rearing structures:  “It’s been just over three months since our salmon rearing habitat structures were placed in the Sacramento River downstream of the South Bonnyview Bridge near Redding, California. We have been anxious to revisit the structures in situ to find out just how much they are being used by the juvenile salmon. The scope of the project includes periodical underwater surveys to monitor the structures, and on August 16, 2017 the initial sonar camera footage was taken by Dave Vogel of Natural Resource Scientists, Inc. What this footage reveals is very exciting. ... ”  Read more and view footage from River Garden Farms here:  Video: Sonar footage of River Garden’s salmon rearing structures

American River chinook salmon: status and future:  Tom Cannon writes, “The American River is one of the larger tributaries of the Sacramento River (Figure 1). Its watershed runs from the central Sierra Nevada range, from which it runs through the city of Sacramento to join the Sacramento River. The American River’s lower 20 miles are a tailwater of the Central Valley Project’s Folsom Dam. This tailwater supports a major run of fall-run Chinook salmon that produces 15-20% of the total Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon population. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  American River chinook salmon: status and future

Testimony: Managing California’s headwater forests:  Lori Pottinger writes, “Van Butsic, a forestry expert with UC Berkeley’s cooperative extension and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network, testified before the Little Hoover Commission in Sacramento today (August 24, 2017).  The hearing focused on California forest management and was held in response to the sharp increase in the number of trees dying in headwater forests. Butsic drew his prepared remarks from the PPIC policy brief California’s Water: Protecting Headwaters. Here is a summary. The committee asked Butsic to explain the risks to the state’s forested upper watersheds and ways to improve forest health. He described a number of risks, including … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Testimony: Managing California’s headwater forests

Irrigating less:  John Fleck writes, “In 1940, Los Angeles County had 250,000 acres of harvested cropland. By the end of World War II LA County was, by far, the most agriculturally productive county in California. In the most recent Census of Agriculture, conducted in 2012, acreage had declined to just 40,000 acres and LA County was but a minor contributor to California’s agricultural economy.  Water is only one of the reasons. LA got an oil economy early, it developed a rich and complex urban economy, and as a result agriculture was displaced by other types of economic activity. But water is an important part of the story. Much of the region’s early agricultural economy was based on unsustainable levels of groundwater pumping. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Irrigating less

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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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