BLOG ROUND-UP: Critically over-drafted groundwater basins, Cal WaterFix costs, safe drinking water, salmon, bureaucrats, and more …

blog-round-up-previous-editionsThe clock is ticking for groundwater managers in California’s most over-drafted basins:  Christina Babbit writes, “By this time next year, 21 critically over-drafted groundwater basins in California must submit plans to the state’s Department of Water Resources for how to bring their basins back into balance.  With this major deadline looming, it’s crunch time for water managers and their consultants – some of whom will begin releasing draft plans in the next six to eight months seeking required public comments.  The Jan. 31, 2020, deadline was set by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which the California Legislature approved in 2014. ... ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  The clock is ticking for groundwater managers in California’s most over-drafted basins

WaterFix project could have major changes, cost escalations with more geotechnical evaluation:  “Fugro announced on January 23, 2019 that they will be leading a consortium of 5 consultants and 35 specialty subcontractors to provide geotechnical investigations for the WaterFix project. The services will include geological assessment, geophysics, drilling, sampling and laboratory testing. The contract is valued at $75 million.  Dr. Clyde Thomas Williams is a PhD geologist with 30 years of experience with underground projects, including tunnel and pipeline projects around the world, who testified in the State Water Resources Control Board’s hearing on the WaterFix Change Petition. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Research Blog here:  WaterFix project could have major changes, cost escalations with more geotechnical evaluation

Ensuring access to Safe Drinking Water for All California Communities: The Northern California Water Blog writes, “All Californians have a right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water under the “human right to water” established in state law in 2012. While significant progress has been made toward realizing this right, there is both an urgent need and an important opportunity to take additional actions to help ensure that all California communities have access to water that meets the health-based standards of the state and federal Safe Drinking Water Acts.  Leaders in the Sacramento Valley are committed to advancing a comprehensive approach to expand and ensure access to safe drinking water in 2019. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Ensuring access to Safe Drinking Water for All California Communities

Improving conditions for salmon in the Sacramento River basin:  “Several new projects and various functional flow arrangements were implemented this year in the Sacramento River Basin to promote salmon recovery as part of the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program. The numerous projects and flow arrangements that have been completed since 2000 to benefit salmon and other species of fish are chronicled in the document: Improving Conditions for Salmon, which can be viewed by clicking below. This includes more than 150 projects and arrangements. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Improving conditions for salmon in the Sacramento River basin

Getting to know the Delta and California water: Amanda Wasserman writes, “Before I started my fellowship at the Delta Stewardship Council, I knew precisely two things about the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta: 1) its approximate location and 2) that, in some way, it involved water.  Fortunately for me, the nature of my fellowship as a science communicator allowed me to learn a little about a lot over a short period of time. My monthly reports to the Delta Stewardship Council kept me up to speed on the most current Delta science, while weekly “Science Friday” social media posts required gathering tidbits of information on a wide range of themes. ... ”  Read more from Sea Grant here:  Getting to know the Delta and California water

Storm clouds over the Irrigation District:  “Modesto Irrigation District (MID) Board members Larry Byrd and John Mensinger agree that flash points for their escalating war of words include terminating MID General Counsel Ronda Lewis and an investigation sponsored by Byrd and Nick Blom into supposed illegal activities by fellow board members Mensinger, Stu Gilman, and Paul Campbell. Mensinger, Gilman and Campbell formed a new board majority after Gilman upset incumbent Jake Wenger in 2017.  January 24, the war boiled over into shouted accusations. Both Mensinger and Byrd accused the other of lying, an outburst  brought on by Byrd’s removal from the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA), where he was replaced by Mensinger. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here:  Storm clouds over the Irrigation District

Fall 2019, University of Arizona Press – Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, by Eric Kuhn and John Fleck:  John Fleck writes, “USGS hydrologist Eugene Clyde LaRue’s December 1925 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation set my storyteller’s nerves tingling.  It was a critical moment in the history of the West, as Congress deliberated turning the abstract water allocation rules of the Colorado River Compact into appropriations and concrete.  Y’all probably know the conventional telling of the story of the allocation of the Colorado River’s waters, a story I told this way myself in what I now call “my last book“. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Fall 2019, University of Arizona Press – Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, by Eric Kuhn and John Fleck

Blog: How things stand now that the Arizona legislature has approved the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan:New plan: a temporary tattoo that reads, “CLOSE IS NOT DONE.”  That was Commissioner of Reclamation Brenda Burman’s talking point during a press call this morning explaining what happens next now that we all turned into DCP-less pumpkins last night at midnight.  The Arizona legislature gave its last-minute approval late yesterday (hilariously, as I was in the middle of lecturing to UNM Water Resources Program students about DCP – went into the lecture  – no DCP vote – logged in to the Arizona Republic to check during a class break – DCP vote approved screaming headlines and excited #azwater tweetage). ... ” Continue reading from the Inkstain blog here: How things stand now that the Arizona legislature has approved the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

The path to Colorado River collaboration is narrow, but we remain on it:  John Fleck writes, “Amid the Sturm und Drang of Arizona’s struggle to find a path to reduce its Colorado River water use in the face of a federal ultimatum, I lost sight of an important point.  With last week’s legislative approval, Arizona has now agreed to a plan that could eventually reduce the Central Arizona Project’s flow of Colorado River water into the valleys of Tucson and Phoenix by nearly half from current levels. Voluntarily. Without litigation. Without even reaching the first mandatory shortage declaration.  There’s still important stuff remaining, most notably some sort of a Salton Sea fix to ensure that the communities around the lake are less burdened by the externalities associated with water use reductions there. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here: The path to Colorado River collaboration is narrow, but we remain on it

Judges should not let bureaucrats dictate the meaning of the law: Anthony Francios writes, “This week we filed this amicus brief on behalf of our Clean Water Act clients, the Sacketts and Duarte Nursery, in the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Kisor v. Wilkie. In this case, the Supreme Court is considering whether to end the decades long practice of federal judges allowing executive agency bureaucrats to preclusively determine what their regulations mean, known as Auer deference. We argue that the Court should overturn Auer.  The federal judiciary has the sole constitutional responsibility to interpret statutes and regulations. This serves as a necessary check and balance on both the Congress and the President. These checks and balances, part of the Constitution’s separation of powers, are designed to protect individual liberty from overpowerful government officials. ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Legal Foundation here:  Judges should not let bureaucrats dictate the meaning of the law

EPA’s Administrator Must Be Serious About Protecting Us From PFAS. Wheeler Is Not.:  Genna Reed writes, “After Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing for the agency’s top job earlier this month, he responded to a long list of questions for the record that had been submitted by senators. In the questions related to the class of toxic chemicals, PFAS, Wheeler claimed that “EPA continues to take concrete steps, in cooperation with our federal and state partners, to address PFAS and ensure all Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water.” Yet, Politico reported earlier this week that the agency will not be setting an enforceable limit for the two most prevalent PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, in drinking water. … ”  Read more from the Equation blog here:  EPA’s Administrator Must Be Serious About Protecting Us From PFAS. Wheeler Is Not.

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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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