BLOG ROUND-UP: Key questions about a potential “grand bargain” on CA water; Why more storage won’t help conflicts on the Lower San Joaquin River; Delta tunnels: Where are we now?; Adapting to an uncertain water future; and more …

Photo by Dan Brekke

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Key Questions about a Potential “Grand Bargain” on CA Water:  Doug Obegi writes, “For several years, state and federal agencies, local water districts, and a few conservation groups have participated in negotiations regarding potential voluntary settlements on Delta flows.  NRDC has not participated in those negotiations for two primary reasons.  First, participants – including state and local governments — were required to sign confidentiality and/or nondisclosure agreements, and NRDC felt strongly that requiring such agreements as a condition of participation was of dubious legality and was contrary to good government.  Second, we strongly believed that durable, scientifically credible settlement agreements are extremely unlikely to occur before the State Water Resources Control Board adopts new standards.  Virtually all major settlement agreements in the history of California water occurred after courts or agencies adopted new protections for the environment, whether that’s the Yuba Accord, the settlement agreement to restore the upper San Joaquin River, or the Bay-Delta Accord. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Key Questions about a Potential “Grand Bargain” on CA Water  See also: SWRCB Should Finally Adopt New Protections for our Rivers

Why more storage won’t help conflicts on the Lower San Joaquin River:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “The United States Congress is currently considering an extension of the controversial 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act or WIIN Act. Section 1 of the extension would appropriate an additional $134 million per year for the next five years for new dams, for a total of $670 million. One of the main reasons cited for providing additional funding for new dams in California is the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposed updates to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. But new dams won’t help reduce the conflicts with the State Water Resources Control Board’s new Lower San Joaquin River flow objectives, because none of the proposed new dams are on the tributaries to the lower San Joaquin River which are affected by the proposed LSJR flow objectives. (The proposed emergency spillway modifications at New Exchequer would increase storage slightly, but at the cost of affecting the safety of the dam.) ... ” Read more from the California Water Research Blog here:  Why more storage won’t help conflicts on the Lower San Joaquin River

Delta tunnels: Where are we now? Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “The last week of events in fight against the Delta Tunnels has been exciting and complicated. And it may all come to a head this Wednesday, December 12. To understand all the elements currently at play in the fight for the Delta, think of the child’s game, JENGA. As the blocks stack higher, and foundations are removed, the entire project is at risk of toppling over. This is where we are now on Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels. … ” Read more from Restore the Delta here: Delta tunnels: Where are we now?

Adapting to an uncertain water future:  Ellen Hanak and Jeffrey Mount write, “As the world’s biggest climate meeting continues in Poland this week, the growing threats from climate change―and the lack of large-scale action to match the risks―have been much in the news. Global, national, and statewide assessments all point to severe consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not greatly reduced. Evidence is growing that climate change is a “threat multiplier,” increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters worldwide and here in California. And just this past week, the Global Carbon Project reported that emissions are rising rapidly, making it even more difficult to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and heightening the possibility of more-frequent and more-damaging climate impacts.  These reports all point to the same policy direction for California. While it is important that the state continue its leadership on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is time to greatly increase efforts at adaptation. … ”  Continue reading at the PPIC Blog here:  Adapting to an uncertain water future

Functional Flows for Developing Ecological Flow Recommendations: Sarah Yarnell, Alyssa Obester, Ted Grantham, Eric Stein, Belize Lane, Rob Lusardi, Julie Zimmerman, Jeanette Howard, Sam Sandoval-Solis, Rene Henery, and Erin Bray write, “To protect California’s native aquatic species, stream flows need to be managed to support important ecological processes and habitat needs. In practice, such flows are difficult and controversial to define and implement. Water diversions, dams and other water infrastructure, land drainage, and changing climate conditions have altered the timing and availability of water, creating demands that impair restoration of the full natural flow regime. While restoring full natural flow regimes in California rivers may not be possible, preserving key aspects of the flow regime, or functional flow components, may provide a means to conserve the state’s freshwater ecosystems. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Functional Flows for Developing Ecological Flow Recommendations

Building roots for a more water secure California:  Arohi Sharma writes, “The recently released National Climate Assessment discussed the impacts of climate change on our nation’s water supply and agricultural productivity. The levels of uncertainty regarding the future of our water supply are troubling. Changes in precipitation patterns will intensify droughts and increase heavy downpours. Hotter, more extreme weather will disrupt how well and how much we can grow on farms. The reduction in the Sierra Mountain snowpack will further constrain California’s water supply. I want to read about ways to adapt to and mitigate against our water insecurity problem, and thankfully, one of those pathways is at our fingertips, or under your feet, or in your backyard—depending on your perspective. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Building roots for a more water secure California

Solving the Delta’s invasive aquatic vegetation problem:  Tom Cannon writes, “A recent science paper reminded me about the benefits of aquatic vegetation to lake fish species like largemouth bass. It also reminded me that invasive aquatic vegetation has ruined lake-like salmon habitats of the west coast, such as Seattle’s Lake Washington and portions of the Columbia River and California’s Bay-Delta estuaries. Instead of rearing salmon and smelt, these waters now rear non-native bass and sunfish (centrarchids). These once-turbid waters conducive to rearing juvenile salmon and smelt are now best suited for sight-feeding centrarchids, competitors and predators of salmon that love clear water and abundant cover. The non-native aquatic vegetation (Egeria, hyacinth, and milfoils) in the Bay-Delta provides abundant cover, uses all the aquatic plant nutrients, and collects the suspended sediment – all bad for the Bay-Delta’s pelagic/planktonic habitat. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Solving the Delta’s invasive aquatic vegetation problem

Recommendations for Governor-Elect Newsom To Address Wildfire, Water, & Climate and Transportation Threats: Ethan Elkind writes, “Climate change exacerbates the droughts, floods, and wildfires that Californians now regularly experience, making them even more extreme and unpredictable. Gavin Newsom, California’s next governor, faces the urgent challenge of simultaneously preparing for inevitable disaster, improving the quality of life for residents, and minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions of a society of nearly 40 million people.  In that spirit, UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) and Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) have given Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom three detailed sets of actions he can take immediately to address wildfire and forest management; drought, flood, and drinking water safety and affordability; and the stubbornly high carbon pollution of our transportation systems. … ”  Read more from Legal Planet here:  Recommendations for Governor-Elect Newsom To Address Wildfire, Water, & Climate and Transportation Threats

California seeks to fortify against federal rollbacks:  “The new legislative session opened Monday with California State Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins continuing strong environmental leadership by introducing SB 1 – the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019. The bill would protect California’s environment from efforts by the Trump administration to derail environmental progress. At its core, this new bill makes sure that protections in existence prior to January 19, 2017 under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act are not weakened, and gives California state agencies the authority to enforce these protections under state law. SB 1’s provisions would only be triggered when federal standards dip below certain baseline protections, spurring state action. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  California seeks to fortify against federal rollbacks

Lundberg Family Farms Receives California Leopold Conservation Award:  “The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) applauds Lundberg Family Farms as the recent recipient of the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award as described below. The award is a valued testament to Lundberg Family Farms and many other leaders in the Sacramento Valley who live and embody the spirit of Aldo Leopold with their land ethic and numerous efforts for conservation, including the improvement of fish and wildlife. Bryce Lundberg is the Chairman of the NCWA Board of Directors. He joins several other NCWA Board members who have previously received the award, including Montna Farms and Mary and Jim Richert. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Lundberg Family Farms Receives California Leopold Conservation Award

John H. Matthews’ Water Resources IMPACT Article: ‘Climate Change: Resilient Infrastructure or Infrastructure for Resilience?’ Michael Campana writes, “John H. Matthews, a good friend and one of the smartest water-climate guys in the room, is the lead and co-founder of the dynamic organization Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA). In just a few short years John and AGWA have catapulted themselves to the climate and water A-list. His success is well-deserved. One of the many nice things about John is that all his fame has not gone to his head and he still talks to me. He’ll even write a brief article for a special issue of Water Resources IMPACT I edited, Climate Change: Resilient Infrastructure or Infrastructure for Resilience?. He begins the article as few people can, by recounting an invitation he received to an informal dinner in Europe with investors and their ilk. What happened there? Read on, gentle reader.… ”  Continue reading at the Water Wired blog here:  John H. Matthews’ Water Resources IMPACT Article: ‘Climate Change: Resilient Infrastructure or Infrastructure for Resilience?’

Code Blue documentary exposes Saudi Arabia strategically buying up American water rights in drought stricken southwest: “Code Blue – Water Security Conflicts and Solutions released a documentary on Saudi Arabia buying American water rights, despite a historic 18 year drought in the region.  There are no limits on the amount of water foreign governments can extract and export. Yet, 40 out of 50 U.S. states expect water shortages in 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office.  “Water scarcity is the single greatest threat to the future of Arizona,” said award-winning journalist Anna Therese Day and host of the documentary. … ”  Read more from Maine Insights here:  Code Blue documentary exposes Saudi Arabia strategically buying up American water rights in drought stricken southwestDaily 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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