BLOG ROUND-UP: Fighting construction destruction in the Delta; Groundwater law and “the water budget myth”; One small water district explains the challenge of clean, affordable water; “Hero insurance companies save thousands”; Fracking and public health; and more …

Let there be light; Pfieffer Beach, Big Sur; photo by Nagarajan Kanna

This week in California water blog commentary: Fighting to Save the Delta as a Place, Fighting Construction Destruction; DWR rescinds engineering performance standards for Delta tunnel; Groundwater Law – Physical – “the water budget myth”; California leaders finally stepped up on clean, affordable water. One small water district explains this challenge; Sites Reservoir—Improved Resilience for California in Wet, Dry and Average Years; “Hero insurance companies save thousands from fiery death-trap.”; Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’; and more …

Fighting to Save the Delta as a Place, Fighting Construction Destruction: The Save The California Delta Alliance blog writes, “Governor Newsom is looking at a single tunnel option.  Some at the negotiating table are still failing to recognize the effect a through-Delta tunnel construction project would have on the Delta itself. On the Delta as a Place.  Let’s be clear: Construction destruction along a through-tunnel route will ruin the Delta communities, highways, waterways, and farms (from the north to the south) in all five Delta counties: historical towns in Sacramento County (Hood and Locke) and in Yolo County (Clarksburg), farmers in Solano County (Rio Vista), boating communities in Contra Costa County (Discovery Bay, Bethel Island), tourism, marinas, and water ways in San Joaquin County (Stockton and South Delta marinas). … ”  Read more from the Save The California Delta Alliance blog here: Fighting to Save the Delta as a Place, Fighting Construction Destruction

DWR rescinds engineering performance standards for Delta tunnel:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “The Department of Water Resources delegated the design and construction of the WaterFix project to the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority in the October 2018 Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement. The Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement included performance standards for the engineering design of the project. The performance standards included requirements that the Delta conveyance be designed to withstand a maximum earthquake, and to have a 100 year lifetime.  The June 2019 Addendum to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement rescinded the engineering performance standards. This should be of concern to water agencies evaluating whether to participate in the Delta conveyance project. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: DWR rescinds engineering performance standards for Delta tunnel

Groundwater Law – Physical – “the water budget myth”:  Jay Lund writes, “This week’s short post is on groundwater law – from the viewpoint of physics.  Water policy, management, and human law often misunderstand how groundwater and surface water work physically.  Bredehoeft, et al. (1982) distill a longstanding lament of many groundwater experts, “Perhaps the most common misconception in groundwater hydrology is that a water budget of an area determines the magnitude of possible groundwater development.  Several well-known hydrologists have addressed this misconception and attempted to dispel it.  Somehow, though, it persists and continues to color decisions by the water-management community.” ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Groundwater Law – Physical – “the water budget myth”

California leaders finally stepped up on clean, affordable water. One small water district explains this challengeAna Lucia Garcia Briones writes, “Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed long-overdue legislation to dedicate up to $130 million a year to provide clean, affordable drinking water to more than 1 million Californians who still lack access to this vital resource. The legislation creates the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to help cash-strapped, smaller water systems, which primarily serve rural, low-income communities.  The Seeley County Water District, located in Imperial County approximately 20 miles from Mexican border, is one of these communities. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here: California leaders finally stepped up on clean, affordable water. One small water district explains this challenge

Record-High Share of Californians Worried about Climate-Fueled WildfiresAlyssa Dykman and Gokce Sencan write, “Two devastating wildfire seasons have put Californians on edge about future fire risk. Their concern is reflected in PPIC’s latest Californians and the Environment survey.  A record-high share of Californians (71%) report that they are concerned about wildfires becoming more severe as a result of global warming. This is an increase of 15 points since 2011 and 9 points since 2018. Concern over climate-fueled wildfires is significantly higher than concern about other potential global-warming impacts—this year it’s 29 points higher than concern over rising seas, and 22 points more than concern over worsening heat waves. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here: Record-High Share of Californians Worried about Climate-Fueled Wildfires

Sites Reservoir—Improved Resilience for California in Wet, Dry and Average Years:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “As California seeks water resiliency and solutions to prepare for more extreme wet and dry years, Sites Reservoir emerges as an innovative 21st century water project: an off-stream regulating reservoir on the west-side of the Sacramento Valley that can store water for the future by capturing it during high runoff periods, and then releasing it for various beneficial uses at a later time. With its location upstream of the Delta and near the Sacramento River, water in Sites reservoir would serve multiple benefits in the Sacramento Valley, as well as the Delta and the rest of the state. ... ”  Read more from NCWA here:  Sites Reservoir—Improved Resilience for California in Wet, Dry and Average Years

Mokelumne Hatchery 2016-2018 Releases:  Tom Cannon writes, “In a post last year I remarked on the progressive management of the Mokelumne River hatchery. The hatchery is a mitigation hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Its activities over the past several decades have led to the recovery of Mokelumne River salmon.  The hatchery’s 6 million smolt releases continue to survive well under present management practices (Figures 1 and 2). ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Mokelumne Hatchery 2016-2018 Releases

California Protects its Deserts from Greedy Water Grabs:  Tracy Quinn writes, “A water mining company’s plan to suck 16 billion gallons of groundwater every year for the next 50 years has been placed on hold by state leaders.  The project, on Trump’s list of priority infrastructure projects, will now undergo thorough scientific review to guarantee that any proposed pumping from the California desert is environmentally sustainable. … ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here: California Protects its Deserts from Greedy Water Grabs

“Hero insurance companies save thousands from fiery death-trap.”  On the Public Record writes, “If we were a culture that took climate change seriously, the tenor of this article would be completely reversed. As written, the article suggests that it is a problem that the high cost of insurance is preventing people from moving to high fire risk areas. Thus:  “The refusal of insurance companies to cover homes in fire-prone areas is prompting home buyers to cancel purchases and look elsewhere.  That’s depriving struggling rural areas of one of their most reliable sources of economic oxygen — the steady influx of well-off retirees and other transplants from Sacramento, the Bay Area and other prosperous areas. … ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here: “Hero insurance companies save thousands from fiery death-trap.”

Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’:  Tara Lohan writes, “In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. … When people asked me if they should leave their homes, it was hard to know what to say; there weren’t many peer-reviewed studies to understand how fracking was affecting public health. Those days are over. … ”  Continue reading at The Revelator here: Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’

From Kochland to Standing Rock: Here Are the 16-plus Best Environmental Books of August:  “Things are heating up — and not just because it’s August. This past July was the hottest month in recorded history. That makes this month’s new books about climate change essential reading, along with other important new titles on pollution, wildlife, oceans and Indigenous peoples.  Our full list — an amazing 16 books, plus an entire series for kids — appears below. They include a deep dive into the world of the Koch brothers, a look at plastic in our food, an examination of the future of bluefin tuna, thoughts from the Standing Rock protests, and a whole lot more. ... ”  Read more from The Revelator here: From Kochland to Standing Rock: Here Are the 16-plus Best Environmental Books of August

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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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