This week in California water blogs: Trek Towards Smarter Water Policy May be Stopped in Its Tracks by SB1; Leaders With Vision; Fostering Sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley; Economic Tradeoffs in Groundwater Management During Drought; SGMA and Dairies; What does the future hold for irrigation management?; All water is local. Sort of.; and more …
California’s Marathon Trek Towards Smarter Water Policy May be Stopped in Its Tracks by Shortsighted Legislation (SB 1): The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “You’re running a marathon that everyone said you’d never complete. But despite many obstacles, you kept moving forward, and now the finish line is in sight. You’re feeling good that the work is going to pay off. And then, at the last minute, race officials insert themselves and announce that once you finish, it won’t count for anything. California is at this juncture right now. Following marathon-like efforts and negotiations, Voluntary Agreements on water management are on the verge of completion. However, state officials are now considering legislation, SB1, that would negate all that progress. … ” Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: California’s Marathon Trek Towards Smarter Water Policy May be Stopped in Its Tracks by Shortsighted Legislation (SB 1)
Leaders With Vision: The choice is simple we either start electing leaders who are bold enough… Families Protecting the Valley writes, “California lawmakers must stop buckling to the demands of the environmental left and start attending to the needs of the people of the state when it comes to water policy. The article below by representatives of water districts and associations explain how to begin the conversation. They describe the benefits of expanding our inadequate storage capacity and how it would help deal with extreme precipitation like we had this year and the flooding that ensues. ... ” Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Leaders With Vision: The choice is simple we either start electing leaders who are bold enough…
Fostering Sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Lori Pottinger writes, “California’s largest farming region faces two linked challenges: balancing groundwater supply and demand in overdrafted basins, and addressing water quality in the region’s aquifers. We talked to Ashley Boren, executive director of Sustainable Conservation, about tackling these issues in the San Joaquin Valley. PPIC: Talk about your organization’s efforts in groundwater recharge. Ashley Boren: We’re focused on trying to get stakeholders in the San Joaquin Valley to think about doing more recharge―and expanding recharge approaches―to make a dent in the overdraft problem. … ” Read more from the PPIC blog here: Fostering Sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley
Economic Tradeoffs in Groundwater Management During Drought: Kathleen Stone and Rob Gailey write, “Domestic well users in some areas were greatly impacted by additional agricultural groundwater pumping during California’s 2012-2016 drought, which substantially compensated for reduced surface water supplies. Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) should improve long-term groundwater availability during drought for all system users by requiring groundwater management to avoid significant and unreasonable impacts of decreased groundwater levels. To evaluate the economic impacts of local groundwater policy alternatives on two sometimes conflicting user groups in a local groundwater system, we analyzed agricultural and domestic groundwater use in Tulare County, California (Figure 1) during the 2012-2016 drought (Gailey et al., 2018; Gailey et al., 2019; Stone, 2019). … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Economic Tradeoffs in Groundwater Management During Drought
SGMA and Dairies: Geoff Vanden Heuvel writes, “One year ago, the Milk Producers Council Board of Directors charged me with the responsibility of being the dairy industry’s eyes, ears and advocate in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Over the past 12-months of traveling Highway 99, I have attended nearly 300 water meetings – sometimes as many as 4 or 5 per day – to cover the water story in dairy areas of the Central Valley. We have dairies located south of Bakersfield and all the way up to Stockton that are in parts of the Central Valley considered by the state of California to be in a “critically overdrafted” condition. This “critically overdrafted” designation triggers a requirement under SGMA that these areas produce a plan that will, by the year 2040, eliminate overdraft and create a situation that prevents the occurrence of the “undesirable results” caused by mining groundwater. … ” Read more from Water Wrights here: SGMA and Dairies
Why Delta conveyance: DWR writes, “Rain and snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and supplies drinking water—through the State Water Project (SWP)—to 27 million people. That’s more than the entire population of 48 other states. Yet the reliability of this critical water supply is compromised. Constraints on the effectiveness of the 1960-era water conveyance system include highly variable precipitation, environmental regulations, more frequent extreme weather events such as flood and drought, climate change, as well as risks from sea level rise and seismic events. … ” Read more from DWR News here: Why Delta conveyance
Learning from the Bullet Train Mess: Restore the Delta writes, “As we scanned the news today this story jumped out as something for Delta activists to think about. This LA Times story is truly a heartbreaking cautionary tale about the impacts of large infrastructure projects on farming communities. ... ” Read more from Restore the Delta here: Learning from the Bullet Train Mess
What does the future hold for irrigation management? Isaya Kisseka, PhD writes, “Climate variability, competition for water from other users including urban and environmental, and groundwater depletion threaten the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. To face these challenges, the irrigation industry must develop and adopt innovative technologies and management practices that optimize economic outcomes, while also minimizing environmental impact. Lately, there is no shortage of irrigation technologies hitting the market. To get a glimpse of what is out there, I recommend visiting the annual Irrigation Show held each December, as well as other annual farm shows such as the World Ag Expo. ... ” Read more from The Confluence Blog here: What does the future hold for irrigation management?
CSPA Legal Wins Generate Significant Environmental Mitigation Funds: Cindy Charles writes, “CSPA is proud to report that our legal work to protect water quality continues to generate monetary settlements that are donated to foundations and other organizations that protect water quality. While the primary focus of CSPA’s enforcement efforts is to eliminate continuing pollution, settlements generally include mitigation payment for past damage to the environment. These settlements are approved by the courts and U.S. Department of Justice and, by law, cannot benefit or be directed to CSPA. For example, the largest recipient of CSPA’s mitigation funds is the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. ... ” Read more from the CSPA blog here: CSPA Legal Wins Generate Significant Environmental Mitigation Funds:
Water + Land + Sunlight: The Elixir for Bountiful Life in the Sacramento Valley: “Nearly all of the Sacramento Valley floor is part of the historic floodplain—the naturally flood prone areas surrounding the rivers. Before levees and dams were built to protect people from catastrophic floods, this floodplain supported robust fish and wildlife populations. The reason for these robust populations was fairly simple according to leading scientists: the special combination of water, land and sunlight. We can learn from this simple equation. … ” Read more from the NCWA blog here: Water + Land + Sunlight: The Elixir for Bountiful Life in the Sacramento Valley
All water is local. Sort of.: John Fleck writes, “I took back roads upon back roads this weekend to get home from Boulder, where a bunch of us had gathered for three very socially and intellectually intense days talking Colorado River stuff. I ended up on one of those “what happens if I turn here?” digressions, off US 285 onto NM 567/570 (I’m confused about the numbering). The road drops via zany unpaved switchbacks onto the Rio Grande in Taos Gorge, crossing at Taos Junction Bridge, circa 1930. I stopped for a few minutes at the boat ramp on the far side of the bridge, lurking and watching as happy families rigged their boats for a float down a pretty robustly flowing Rio Grande. It’s the biggest flow at this point in the year since 1997. After three days of thinking about water management at the scale of the entire Colorado River Basin, it was a great reminder that at its root all water – this day, this river, this reach, these families – is local. Sort of. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here: All water is local. Sort of.
The Clean Water Act’s Murky Regulation Poses Problems: Jonathon Wood writes, “In February, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the federal Clean Water Act regulates pollutants that migrate through groundwater. The case concerns a Maui water treatment plant, which injects treated wastewater into the ground. Recently, it was discovered that the wastewater migrated from the injection wells, to groundwater, and out to the Pacific Ocean. Traditionally, the Clean Water Act was understood to apply to pollution that was discharged directly to a navigable water, so regulation of Maui’s discharges would be a significant expansion. … ” Read more from PERC here: The Clean Water Act’s Murky Regulation Poses Problems
Taking apart the Clean Water Act is not a game: Lynn Thorp writes, “The Trump/Wheeler Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dismantling critical parts of the Clean Water Act one by one. Cumulatively these are the most serious threat to our nation’s bedrock environmental law in its history. If even one of these administration proposals is finalized, the consequences would be dire. Taken together, the Clean Water Act as we know it could go away. Since the Trump administration is parceling out these assaults, it can be hard to see the full picture. So we wanted to take a step back and explain was is at stake for the rule of law, the Clean Water Act, and, most importantly, our health and the health of our water. … ” Read more from We All Live Downstream here: Taking apart the Clean Water Act is not a game
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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.