BLOG ROUND-UP: Newsom’s water resilience portfolio, Groundwater-only lands in the San Joaquin Valley, Tunnels and seismicity, When water wonks play water games; and more …

Gardens of Light, Botanical Garden, Montréal, Canada.  Photo by Hubert Figuiere

This week in blogs: Families Protecting the Valley on Governor Newsom’s water resilience portfolio; Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley; Assessing the Delta tunnel project as a seismic upgrade; Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation; When water wonks play water games; and more …

blog-round-up-previous-editionsFamilies Protecting the Valley on Governor Newsom’s water resilience portfolio:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Governor Newsom’s Water Portfolio is being praised by a coalition of 55 public health and environmental justice groups from throughout California.  There are no farm organizations mentioned, and there is practically no mention of farming at all.  The letter points out “conditions have declined to unacceptable levels and continue to deteriorate. Contaminated drinking water wells, endangered fish species, collapsing fisheries, toxic algae blooms, and land subsidence all evidence the unsustainability of California’s water systems.” … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Families Protecting the Valley on Governor Newsom’s water resilience portfolio

Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley:  Jelena Jezdimirovic, Ellen Hanak, and Alvar Escriva-Bou write, “The San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest agricultural region—has the largest groundwater deficit in the state. However, water scarcity is not experienced equally across the valley. Some areas receive abundant surface water to support cropland irrigation and drinking water supplies. Most others supplement their use with groundwater. Still others have no surface water access and depend entirely on groundwater. Water users in these groundwater-only areas are particularly vulnerable to pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)—the state-mandated effort to balance groundwater basins. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley

Assessing the Delta tunnel project as a seismic upgrade:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Governor Newsom’s April 29, 2019 Executive Order mandated that the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency assess “current planning to modernize conveyance through the Bay Delta with a new single tunnel project.”  Part of the agencies’ assessment of that planning should include an independent, objective assessment of the Delta tunnel’s performance in a large earthquake.  The assessment needs to look into why Metropolitan Water District’s analysis of whether the tunnel lining will survive a large earthquake assumes the tunnel is constructed in very dense soil. This assumption is questionable. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here:  Assessing the Delta tunnel project as a seismic upgrade

Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation:  Kristin Dobbin, Jessica Mendoza and Michael Kuo write, “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Past research indicates that few of these communities are represented in the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) formed to implement the new law. This raises questions about the extent such communities are involved in groundwater reform and potential concerns about how small and rural drinking-water interests are being incorporated into Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

Delta Smelt – Spring 2019 Status:  “Late April and early May 20-mm Surveys provide an excellent picture of the status of Delta smelt population in the estuary. Since 2017, some surveys collected no Delta smelt (Figures 1-3) in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. The 2018 and 2019 survey catches (Figures 1 and 2) are a new low for Delta smelt, lower even than the 2017 survey catch (Figure 3), and the lowest in the 1995-2019 survey period. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Delta Smelt – Spring 2019 Status

Saving Killer Whales:  Tom Cannon writes, “In a January 18, 2019 post, I related the state of Washington’s plan to increase the state’s hatchery salmon production to recover salmon populations and help the endangered southern population of killer whales.  In response to an executive order by the governor of Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s proposed broad measures to increase the numbers of hatchery-raised salmon smolts released into killer whale migration areas that have minimal numbers of wild salmon.  The program would also enhance commercial and sport fisheries for salmon.  Much of the hatchery program would remain committed to recovery of threatened and endangered wild salmon stocks, which would also get a boost in essential habitat restoration. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here: Saving Killer Whales

Following Mill Creek water rights:  Lisa at the Mono-Logue writes, “Mill Creek, Mono Lake’s third-largest tributary, is unique in the Mono Basin because it was never diverted to Los Angeles. Mill Creek is also the heart of one of the Eastern Sierra’s natural treasures, Lundy Canyon, where it flows from the Sierra crest through waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and beaver dams, into and out of Lundy Lake Reservoir, and through rare wooded wetlands before it reaches Mono Lake. Upper Mill Creek is healthy as evidenced by streamside forests and flows consistent with other Eastern Sierra streams. But downstream of Lundy Reservoir—especially in the bottomland reaches near Mono Lake, Mill Creek has been hanging on by a thread. … ” Read more at the Mono-Logue here:  Following Mill Creek water rights

The hydrograph of the All-American Canal:  John Fleck writes, “With little water storage to speak of in the Imperial Valley, the flow of the All-American Canal west from Imperial Dam integrates, in close to real time, the collective decisions of a thousand farmers growing crops on half a million acres.  A “hydrograph” is a commonly used tool for looking at the flow of water past a measurement gauge over time. You put time on the “x” axis and flow on the “y” axis, to help visualize its ups and downs. There aren’t many natural hydrographs left to look at in the western United States, but I’m fascinated with human-intermediated ones. … ”  Read more at the Inkstain blog here:  The hydrograph of the All-American Canal

How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first:  John Fleck writes, “If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.  I paid a visit last month on my Lower Colorado River trip to Parker Dam, which was built in the 1930s, in tandem with Hoover Dam, to create a stable surface for the pumping plant that supplies water Los Angeles, and later for the Central Arizona Project. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

Blog special: When water wonks play water games

By: Maven

I was out in Visalia last week, attending the Roundtable on Water Markets that was hosted by the Community Water Center and the Leadership Counsel. I have to admit, I was expecting to hear why water markets are bad, but instead found the event was focused more on education and discussion, not what’s good or bad. Kudos to them!

The evening had an audience participatory portion where each table played a water markets game developed by EDF. We each were assigned a role; I was an alfalfa grower. The bowl you see there is the well, and the spoon in the hand is the size of my well; others were smaller. I did pretty well in the free for all rounds.

I guess I’m not very good at being ambitious about buying water; in the leaner years, I had some water, never enough to meet my needs.  However, I’m sort of a make-do person; I’ve spent most of my adult life (and built a career, LOL) figuring out how to do the most with the resources that I do have.  At the end, when I asked if I was going to try to buy water, I said, ‘No, I think I’ll go hire Anthea Hansen to build me a reservoir or a recycled water pipeline or something … ‘

It was a lot of fun; my friend and fellow colleague Don Wright was at the table. Don publishes a website called Water Wrights, and he travels up and down the Central Valley, covering water meetings – GSAs, Irrigation Districts, etc. He sits in the room with his computer and takes notes, and that’s pretty much what he posts. He doesn’t quote much and, well, he does have a point of view, but if you’re interested in what goes on in those meetings, you should definitely check him out.

Here’s his post which includes a write-up of our water market game at the end. https://waterwrights.net/…/eastern-tule-gsa-and-a-surprise…/

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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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