BLOG ROUND-UP: Cal Water Fix model results, California droughts, predicting unpredictability, Dispute between upper and lower Colorado River basin, Scott Pruitt’s regulatory rollback recipe, and more …

Kelso Dunes by Daniel Pouliot

Reality check of Cal Water Fix model results in a critical flow year:  William Fleenor writes, “In 2008 a group from the Center for Watershed Sciences (including this author), joined by an economist from the Public Policy Institute, published findings that suggested that an alternative conveyance for Sacramento River water might improve ecological conditions in the Delta and improve reliability for Delta water exports.  The original 2013 draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) (DEIR/EIS) included several alternatives using tunnels for Delta conveyance. Long-term planning of this nature requires greatly simplified hydrodynamic models to simulate decades of data to estimate performance under a range of variable conditions. These models also require manipulation to account for physical effects they don’t simulate (e.g., changes in habitat and sea-level rise conditions for which future management is unknown). ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Reality check of Cal Water Fix model results in a critical flow year

blog-round-up-previous-editionsBetter than a clamshell:  On the Public Record writes, “The interesting thing about Ryan Sabalow’s recent essay about his grief at the drying of the once-marshy Colorado Delta is that it flips the way that most news media gets stories wrong.  Usually, mainstream media is good on the intellectual content but ignores or undervalues the emotional content.  In Sabalow’s essay, he gets the emotional content right; the destruction of two million acres of wetlands is a tragic, wracking loss.  However, his intellectual argument for how we participate in this destruction misses the mark.  He writes … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Better than a clamshell

Miracle March/April for water supply and fish:  “It has been a “Miracle March-April” for water supply and fish in the Central Valley. Over 2 million acre-feet of water was added to Central Valley storage reservoirs. Many major reservoirs reached flood capacity, with large releases and rivers spilling over into flood bypasses. The snowpack doubled to over 50% of average. Water year 2018 cumulative precipitation nearly doubled (remains 10 inches short of average at about 80% of normal). Water Year 2018 will likely stack up as “below normal,” not unlike 2010, 2012, or 2016. … ”  Cotninue reading at the California Fisheries Blog here:  Miracle March/April for water supply and fish

Think Outside the Basin: Verna Jigour writes, “This is a longish post, but then I’m trying to encapsulate at least several millennia of human prehistory and history in California.  The point is to characterize factors that cumulatively degraded detention storage functions in the nonnative annual rangelands upstream of most overdrafted groundwater basins.  That’s much of the detention storage Rainfall to Groundwater seeks to restore, to augment natural recharge of those basins.  While California Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are required to spatially consider solely the basins under their purview in developing their Groundwater Sustainability Plans, the water budget requirement is where basin inflows must be considered and that’s where it’s most helpful to Think Outside the Basin – to the watersheds/ catchments in assessing where detention storage leading to groundwater replenishment can be most readily affected. … ”  Read more from the Rainfall to Groundwater blog here:  Think Outside the Basin

Three things to know about California droughts:  Alvar Escriva-Bou writes, “The erratic weather in recent months—a dry winter followed by “atmospheric rivers” that packed a punch in March and April, capped by a poor report on the state’s snowpack—hasn’t exactly offered a clear picture for drought watchers. In fact, there is no universal definition of when a drought begins or ends. Here are three things about droughts that every Californian should know.  Rain, snow, and water in storage are the conditions that define a drought in California. Technically speaking, a drought is simply having less precipitation than normal. But California’s climate is so variable—indeed, it’s the most variable in the nation—that our “normal” is often either very wet or very dry. We also have an annual, seasonal “drought” from late spring through early fall. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Three things to know about California droughts

California’s real ‘fix’ for affordable water:  Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Gary Brown, Director for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), address government water leaders from an assortment of California’s state and local water agencies about how Detroit reworked policies to address water affordability issues—a strategy that has led to 95% of Detroit’s water customers now paying their monthly water bills on time. While there are numerous differences between how a water-rich area like Detroit and an arid region like Los Angeles County can manage water availability, distribution, and rates, Mr. Brown described an ethos that is sorely lacking in water management throughout California. Mr. Brown said, and I am paraphrasing here, that while the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is not a charity, it strives to be a trusted institutional partner in the community. He then went on to describe a water affordability program that keeps customers from sliding into and staying in delinquency. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  California’s real ‘fix’ for affordable water

Predicting unpredictability: A look at water resources management in Northern California:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “This has been an extremely unpredictable year with respect to rain and snow, which in California is very predictable and reminds us all about the inherent variability in California’s precipitation. Fortunately, water resources managers in Northern California understand the region, they have learned from the past and they are well prepared for this water year. In sum, flooding has been minimal this year and as we head into the critical part of the water supply year, reservoirs in Northern California are full and groundwater aquifers have been stabilized and recharged after previous dry years. Most importantly, Northern California water resources managers this year are able to do what they do best–serve water for multiple beneficial uses in the region: cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds, and recreation. … ”  Read more here: Predicting unpredictability: A look at water resources management in California

San Joaquin River spring-run salmon at risk:  Tom Cannon writes, “Soon after spring run salmon smolts were released from the new San Joaquin River Spring-Run Recovery hatchery at the beginning of March, they began appearing in south Delta export salvage facilities (Figure 1). The number salvaged is unusually large, about one percent of the 87,000 released1, in salvage historical records as indicated in Figure 1. The salvage rates of recovery for the other winter 2018 Central Valley hatchery releases are much lower. The high rate of salvage of the March 1 San Joaquin River spring-run release reflects the vulnerability of young salmon that are drawn into the south Delta, where they are at risk to the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) export facilities.  That risk comes from high export levels in winter-spring. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  San Joaquin River spring-run salmon at risk

Colorado River Upper Basin states accuse Central Arizona Project managers of threatening the health of the Colorado River system: John Fleck writes, “Upper Colorado River Basin state leaders, in a letter Friday (April 13, 2018), said the water management approach being taken by the managers of the Central Arizona Project “threaten the water supply for nearly 40 million people in the United States and Mexico, and threaten the interstate relationships and good will that must be maintained if we are to find and implement collaborative solutions” to the Colorado River’s problems.  The letter accuses CAP of “disregard(ing) the basin’s dire situation”, providing more water for Arizona at the expense of the rest of the basin. In doing so, it highlights a rift within Arizona, where an internal political feud over this and related issues has pitted CAP against the state Department of Water Resources and many of CAP’s own customers. That rift, in turn, has stalled diplomacy over efforts to develop a broad new plan to cut back water use across the Colorado River basin. ... ”  Continue reading from the Inkstain blog here:  Colorado River Upper Basin states accuse Central Arizona Project managers of threatening the health of the Colorado River system

How can communities get the most from investing in nature?  Ann Hayden writes, “In places like Nevada, ranching has been a way of life for generations, and industries like mining provide key drivers of economic growth and community stability. But these landscapes also hold economic, historical and cultural values tied to the health and stewardship of natural resources.  The same is true for other communities across the country that are striving to address growing needs for infrastructure, economic growth, clean air and safe drinking water.  Balancing community resiliency, economic stability and stewardship of natural resources is no easy task. …”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  How can communities get the most from investing in nature?

Scott Pruitt’s regulatory rollback recipe:  Josh Goldman writes, “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continues to stack the deck in favor of industry interests. At least two members appointed by Pruitt to the EPA Science Advisory Board received funding to conduct misleading research that EPA used to justify reexamining vehicle fuel efficiency standards – a regulation forecast to save consumers over $1 trillion, cut global warming emissions by billions of metric tons, and advance 21st century vehicle technology.  This shameless attempt to use shoddy research that was funded by the oil industry and used by automaker trade groups to overturn a regulation that is based on sound science and widespread public support is a perfect example of how Pruitt intends to rollback regulations at the behest of his industry-tied former donors. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  Scott Pruitt’s regulatory rollback recipeDaily emails

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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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