BLOG ROUND-UP: The wall and the tunnels; Getting prepared for drought again; Advice on voluntary settlements; Progress on water data; Nunes & the Bee; and more …

“Mountains” by Tony.

The Wall and The Tunnels: Multibillion dollar boondoggles share bait and switch financial plans and more: Jeff Michael writes, “Donald Trump’s biggest campaign promise was building a $20+ billion wall along the Mexican border. The financial plan: “Mexico will pay!”  For a decade, Metropolitan Water District has been campaigning for the $16+ billion Delta tunnels. The financial plan: “Farmers will pay!” Well, that hasn’t exactly been their line. Instead, the promise has been, “The cost is the same as a latte a month” along with promises of “no subsidies for farmers.”  There have been many dubious assumptions behind Met’s calculation that it will “only” cost the average southern California household a few dollars per month, but the biggest whopper has always been that Met’s ratepayers would only covering 25% of the bill – which meant Central Valley farmers would shoulder the vast majority of the costs. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here:  The Wall and The Tunnels: Multibillion dollar boondoggles share bait and switch financial plans and more

Back to dry: get organized and prepared for drought again:  “Despite this week’s rain and snow, California is back to dry conditions again after a very wet 2017.  With about four weeks left in the normal wet season, the Sacramento Valley is at about 65% of average precipitation (less than 1/3 of last year’s precipitation).  The southern Central Valley has less than 50% of average precipitation and southern California is still drier.  Snowpack is much less, at 37% statewide.  Surface reservoirs, which almost all refilled and spilled in record-wet 2017, are now at 98% of average for this time of year, and will fall quickly as there is well-below-normal snowpack to melt.  The large water projects are expecting to make some water deliveries, but much less than last year.  Groundwater, California’s largest reservoir, is in mostly good shape in northern California, but in the drier parts of California has not nearly refilled the additional pumping from the last drought.  Even if March is very wet, 2018 almost certainly will be dry. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Back to dry: get organized and prepared for drought again

blog-round-up-previous-editionsAdvice on Voluntary Settlements for California’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Part 3: Science for Ecosystem Management:  Jeff Mount writes, “Improving Delta ecosystem functions under the State Water Board’s proposed Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan will require a complex series of changes to water and land management—and a strong science program to guide actions. This science effort will need to go well beyond current Delta science programs in scope, authorities, and funding. The most promising approach is to expand the existing Delta Science Program and grant it the authority and responsibility to support the plan. As part of this effort, parties engaged in the Delta should create a Delta Science Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to better pool and administer science resources to be used by the Delta Science Program. The JPA also would be a forum for agencies, water users, and other stakeholders to develop consensus and collaborations on science-based management. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Advice on Voluntary Settlements for California’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Part 3: Science for Ecosystem Management

Progress on water data:  Michael Kiparsky and Alida Cantor write, “Water data has become quite a hot topic in California, and rightly so: throughout the state, decision-makers desperately need better information to guide their efforts to better manage this resource. Recent legislation has gotten us to the starting line, but how well new data platforms ultimately serve water management will depend on clear thinking and bold action during implementation. Fortunately, there has been quite a range of recent activity on water data, including some of our own here at CLEE. ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Progress on water data

A bottom up approach to groundwater sustainability:  Lori Pottinger writes, “California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires communities with ongoing groundwater deficits to bring their aquifers into balance in the coming years. This will be a difficult and complex process, but it’s also an opportunity to devise workable solutions at the community level. We talked to Eric Averett of the Rosedale–Rio Bravo Water Storage District about groundwater management innovations being tried in his Kern County district and lessons learned that might have wider application.  PPIC: What are the priority areas for addressing groundwater sustainability in your district?  Eric Averett: The most challenging area is managing and mitigating impacts associated with demand reduction. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  A bottom up approach to groundwater sustainability

They’re Joking, Right? Does California’s environment deserve its own water right?:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “In the article below by the Water Education Foundation, they ask this question: “Does California need to revamp the way in which water is dedicated to the environment to better protect fish and the ecosystem at large?” Really? Do they not realize it’s being revamped every day, and it’s been revamped ever since the Central Valley Project Improvement Act in 1992. For over 25-years more and more water has been dedicated to the environment with various policy changes. Here are a list of major changes over the years ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  They’re Joking, Right? Does California’s environment deserve its own water right?

Nunes & the Bee: The political reality of the Congressman’s battle over water is that he’s a Republican from the Central Valley in a state dominated by Democrats to the North & South:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We had always hoped the Fresno Bee would have been more of a champion for agricultural water.  They were the major newspaper for the Central Valley.  You’d have thought they would be the natural ally of the farmer.  But…they just weren’t.  They left the farmer to hang out to dry, literally.  The Bee editorial board always sided with those who wanted to take ag water away. Now the Bee has an opinion piece writer who is lashing out at Congressman Devin Nunes.  The Congressman can fend for himself and doesn’t need us to fight his fights for him, but we would like to take issue with the water comments in his recent column “Let’s set aside Russia and the memo for a moment. What has Devin Nunes done for us? … ” Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Nunes & the Bee

Salmon numbers down but there’s hope in the floodplain: The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “There have been valid concerns for years about the declining fish populations in California. While the immediate forecasts for the year aren’t much improved, there is reason for hope. Projects now underway are showing great promise in helping to turn around declining salmon numbers. The Nigiri Project is a collaborative effort between farmers and researchers to help restore salmon populations by reintroducing them during winter, to floodplains that are farmed with rice during summer. Salmon given time to grow in floodplains are bigger and healthier in a shorter period of time than fish left to their own in the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here:  Salmon numbers down but there’s hope in the floodplain

Rancher, farmer, fisherman:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “In her book Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, Miriam Horn has painted a fascinating and compelling picture of the amazing conservation work that is being done out on the landscape by the landowners and other stewards who are making a living from the land, while working equally hard to preserve it for future generations. This book reflects the ongoing work by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to find environmental solutions rooted in our land and carried forward by passionate champions for the conservation of our special landscapes. Although the book is based in the Mississippi River system, Ms. Horn was recently in Chico, California and gave an eloquent presentation on lessons learned and how these approaches can equally apply in the Sacramento Valley. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Rancher, farmer, fisherman

Ensuring public access to California waterways – in plain language:  Richard Frank writes, “California residents are passionate about their coastal and inland waterways–and especially their ability to access and enjoy these natural resources.  It was concern over being “walled off from the coast” by private development that prompted California voters in 1972 to approve an initiative measure that created the California Coastal Commission and led to California’s Coastal Act–the strongest coastal planning and regulatory statute in the nation.  Indeed, public access to waterways is a right California residents enjoy under the state Constitution.  (Most Californians don’t realize that they similarly enjoy a constitutional right to fish, under a separate provision of the same document.) ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Ensuring public access to California waterways – in plain language

The Navajo Nation and New Mexico’s Colorado River allocation:  John Fleck writes, “Very little of the Colorado River’s water originates in New Mexico. The San Juan, one of the Colorado’s main tributaries, starts in the mountains of Colorado, cutting through a corner of the state’s northwest desert, before snaking into the canyon country of Arizona and Utah. Yet when the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact was signed in 1948, we were allocated a disproportionately large share of the river’s water.  Back in 2012 and 2013, while still a newspaper reporter, I took a deep dive into the history to try to understand why. It resulted in this: ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  The Navajo Nation and New Mexico’s Colorado River allocation

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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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