BLOG ROUND-UP: Delta tunnels, water for fish, AB 313, SGMA, hurricanes and flood insurance, and more …

In the nation's poorest big city, tunnel supporters push to raise water bills based on nostalgia and not facts:  Jeffrey Michael writes, “After 11 years of planning, the $17 billion WaterFix project has no viable financial plan (other than approving a blank check from southern california water ratepayers), no benefit-cost analysis justifying the project, a negative environmental assessment, and a small and highly uncertain water supply effect.  So how does the Governor, Metropolitan Water Districts and other leaders sell a rate increase of substantial magnitude to poor households to pay for such a poorly-justified legacy project?  With a mix of nostalgia, hyperbole and fear.  The LA Times editorial board echoed this weak case for the tunnels in its Sunday editorial, “Stop waffling over the delta tunnels and dig.”  Without even mentioning the recent news that the tunnels' already shaky finances were blown up by Westlands Water District and Bureau of Reclamation's decisions not to pay for the tunnels, the Times gives a strong endorsement a few days before Metropolitan Water District votes. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  In the nation’s poorest big city, tunnel supporters push to raise water bills based on nostalgia and not facts

blog-round-up-previous-editionsSalmon and smelt shorted in 2017:  Tom Cannon writes, The Northern California Water Association stated on September 14: “For the better part of three decades, greater and greater quantities of water were dedicated to instream flows with the expectation that this “silver bullet” of flows, on its own, would solve the diverse assortment of fish mortality causes. The result, on the rivers and streams where this was the primary or only action used to promote survivability, was generally unproductive.” This statement is so misleading and untrue. It is outright propaganda. Streamflow is absolutely necessary to maintain salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and smelt throughout the Central Valley, and reductions in streamflow have been directly related to fish mortality and population abundance. … ”  Continue reading from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Salmon and smelt shorted in 2017

Never Enough!: Over 87% going to the ocean and 11% going to farms and people, and yet it's still not enough for the fish:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Here it is: One full year of water numbers showing what was saved and what was not. 54,908,800AF of water flowed into the Delta.   The state and federal pumps captured and stored 11.51% or 6,318,500AF. 87.5%, or 48,037,700AF of freshwater became saltwater. – Kristi Diener  Despite these numbers, the NRDC says too much water was pumped to farms and cities.  As they put it, the “San Francisco Bay-Delta gets Trumped.”  Look at the numbers again, over 87% going to the ocean and 11% going to farms and people, and yet it's still not enough for the fish.  It's never enough!  … ”  Read more from the Families Protecting the Valley here:  Never Enough!: Over 87% going to the ocean and 11% going to farms and people, and yet it’s still not enough for the fish

California's AB 313: A solution in search of a problem: Richard Frank writes, “Overall, the California Legislature had a most productive year when it comes to environmental issues. It extended until 2030 the cap-and-trade program that’s a centerpiece of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. It passed the mis-named “gas tax” legislation, which not only provides funding to rebuild California’s once-proud but now crumbling road and highway infrastructure but also makes available much-needed funding for the state’s public transit systems. And the Legislature finally mustered the will to enact a 15-bill package designed to address California’s long-festering affordable housing crisis. (That housing legislation, which Governor Brown signed into law 10 days ago, is no panacea but, rather, a promising start to what should be an ongoing effort by California’s political leadership to address the state’s chronic shortage of housing for low and moderate income state residents.) … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  California’s AB 313: A solution in search of a problem

Accounting for groundwater movement between subbasins in SGMA:  “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) presents many new challenges and opportunities.  One challenge is accounting for ‘interbasin flow,’ or subsurface groundwater movement between subbasins, a piece of the overall water budget required in Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).  The Department of Water Resources is tasked with evaluating whether groundwater management in one subbasin will undermine an adjacent subbasin’s ability to reach sustainability.  Recognizing that subbasins throughout the Central Valley are interconnected, it’s much better to address this technical and management challenge up front rather than have each subbasin individually submit their GSP and hope for the best.  … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Accounting for groundwater movement between subbasins in SGMA

Shasta County: Sustainable Groundwater Management: The NCWA blog writes, “The Redding Area Groundwater Basin underlies south central Shasta County. It is a healthy basin with minimal water elevation changes over the past fourteen years as you can see from the four locations shown on the graph below. Surface water supplies were curtailed during the recent drought and local water districts and landowners turned to groundwater. Impacts to groundwater levels were moderated by basin geology and applied surface water from overlying land uses. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Shasta County: Sustainable Groundwater Management

What recent hurricanes mean for flood insurance in California:  “Three exceptional hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria— caused staggering damages from floods, winds, and storm surge in recent weeks. It’s likely they will make the record books as the most costly natural disasters in US history.  Although California doesn’t get hurricanes, it does get large storms (called “atmospheric rivers”) that can be just as damaging to people and property. Currently, one in five Californians and close to $600 billion worth of structures are vulnerable to flooding. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  What recent hurricanes mean for flood insurance in California

EPA's rationale for withdrawing the Clean Water Rule is dead wrong.  Here's why: “We live in a nation of laws and rules for a reason. They make democracy possible.  That’s why Environmental Defense Fund last week submitted public comments on the Clean Water Rule, which the Trump Administration is proposing to rescind.  The Clean Water Rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS), was established in 2015 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to clarify which bodies of water are protected by the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  EPA’s rationale for withdrawing the Clean Water Rule is dead wrong.  Here’s why

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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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