BLOG ROUND-UP: Draining the last great aquifer: a group project; Toward a more resilient Delta for all; Frozen II: a water engineering and policy analysis; Hook, line & sinker!; Jobs per drop irrigating California crops; Freshwater ecosystem budgets; and more …

Cadillac Ranch in Soucy, Texas; Photo by Thomas Hawk

In blog commentary this week: Draining the last great aquifer: a group project; Frozen II: a water engineering and policy analysis; Hook, line & sinker!; Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch; Jobs per drop irrigating California crops; Freshwater ecosystem budgets; and more …

blog-round-up-previous-editionsDraining the last great aquifer: a group project: Eric Caine writes, “Environmentalists who had high hopes Gavin Newsom would lead the way to sustainable water use in the San Joaquin Valley are waking up to the knowledge that the new governor isn’t going to be any more effective than the old governor. Sustainability is just too big a lift.  Even before Newsom took office, the terms of the water debate were morphing from “sustainability” to “voluntary agreements.” Not long after, sustainability was being replaced by “resilience.”  For those who follow the course of water through the Valley, “voluntary” translates as, “We’ll continue doing what we’ve always done, only more,” because the “volunteers” in this case are mostly Valley water districts and county supervisors whose board members are farmers, those dependent on farmers, and those representing farmers. … ”  Continue reading at the Valley Citizen blog here: Draining the last great aquifer: a group project

Toward a more resilient Delta for all: protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem:  Jessica Pearson writes, “Once a sprawling tidal marsh, settlers throughout the 1800 and 1900s diked and drained the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for agriculture, dredged and straightened its waterways to improve navigation and flood flow to the ocean, and opened its waterways for transcontinental shipping and invasive hitchhikers. Later, federal, state, and local governments built upstream dams for flood and sediment control, water supply, and hydropower. This large-scale engineering of the landscape has hardened the Delta’s natural edges, disrupted seasonal water flow patterns, eliminated most natural land and water connections, and resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat for fish and wildlife.  Despite recent (and notable) investments in habitat restoration, the Delta’s natural ecosystem is in significant decline. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council blog here: Toward a more resilient delta for all: protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem

Frozen 2: the river movie of the decade?  Amy Souers Kober writes, ““The past is not what it seems. A wrong demands to be righted.” An image of a massive dam appears on the screen, and that’s when you know: Frozen 2 rocks. It is a river movie, a rallying cry for the environment, a story that couldn’t have come at a better time. High five to Disney, for making a movie that celebrates free rivers.  In the movie, the problems begin when the king gives the native people a dam to “strengthen their waters” as a “gift of peace.” But the dam wasn’t a gift, it was a trick. … ”  Read more from the American Rivers blog here: Frozen 2: the river movie of the decade?

Frozen II: a water engineering and policy analysis.  On the Public Record writes, “It has been two weeks and we can no longer put off our analysis of water engineering and policy in Frozen II. If SPOILERS would destroy your pristine viewing of Frozen II, now is the time to stop reading. The dam removal theme was unmistakable and much appreciated. Still, we can delve deeper.  This readership must have immediately noticed that the “gift” of the dam was suspect; it served no observable purpose. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here: Frozen II: a water engineering and policy analysis.

Hook, Line & Sinker! Families Protecting the Valley writes, “It looks like California politicians have done a pretty good job of convincing the people of our state that problems they mostly created with bad decisions are really out of their control.  According to the L.A. Times article below, “Pummeled by fires, drought and floods, California’s Democratic primary voters put fighting climate change at the top of their list of issues for the next president to tackle.”  Instead of putting the task of fixing California on the next president, California voters would do better to elect political leaders who can make better decisions on how to manage water through our very regular droughts, and how to better manage our forests so we don’t have such catastrophic fires. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Hook, Line & Sinker!

Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch:Q: How did you get involved with sustainable groundwater management issues?  A: I have been a volunteer activist in the county for 20 years. As irrigated agriculture came in and started planting in the region it started to become obvious that we needed to pay attention to how much groundwater there was. In 2005, the County published a study they’d done of the groundwater aquifer and they published a second one in 2009 or 2010, and then a third one. As irrigated agriculture grew and we faced this drought, residents’ wells started to go dry. … ”  Read more from the We All Live Downstream blog here:  Perspectives on Groundwater Sustainability: Q&A with Susan Harvey, North County Watch

Jobs per drop irrigating California crops:  Josué Medellín-Azuara, Jay Lund and Richard Howitt write, “Some of the most popular drought stories lately have been on the amount of what water needed to produce food from California, as a consumer sees it — a single almond, a head of lettuce or a glass of wine. The stories are often illustrated with pictures of common fruits, nuts and vegetables in one column and icons of gallon water jugs representing their water usage in the other.  But there are more than two columns to this story. The amount of water applied to crops also translates into dollars and jobs — the main reasons for agriculture’s existence in California. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Jobs per drop irrigating California crops

Do jobs per drop calculations support more use of water markets?  Jeff Michael writes, “The UC-D Watershed Center counters crops per drop calculations with jobs per drop calculations and then makes a rather large leap to their conclusion … we need more water markets – not rules and regulations.  I am not persuaded.  The biggest impact of expanded water markets, especially if combined with expensive conveyance infrastructure like Delta tunnel(s) also supported by the PPIC/Davis group, will be more ag-to-urban water transfers that direct water away from Central Valley agriculture. … ”  Read more from the Valley Economy blog here: Do jobs per drop calculations support more use of water markets?

Freshwater ecosystem budgets:  The NorCal Water Association blog writes, “The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Water Center today published a new report on A Path Forward for California’s Freshwater Ecosystems. We think there is much to learn from this report and recommend a close reading.  The water resources managers in the Sacramento River Basin have engaged with the PPIC and are exploring ways to apply new and innovative approaches in the region, particularly how to more effectively integrate freshwater ecosystem budgets into our multi-benefit water management approaches. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: Freshwater ecosystem budgets

Managing urban flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area: from a concrete bowl to a green sponge:  “The first fall storm is rolling through the San Francisco Bay Area this week, marking the beginning of the rainy season. While this may mean a reprieve from this season’s wildfires, it also means there’s a new risk: floods. In this post, I dig into the issue of urban flooding – what are the causes, what are the dangers and impacts, and how can we better manage it? … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: Managing urban flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area: from a concrete bowl to a green sponge

Pesticides, heat, and the people who feed us: climate change is making farmworkers’ dangerous job even worse:  “In a new report released this week, we show that climate change poses dire threats to farmworkers. While conversations around agriculture and climate change have increasingly focused on the devastating impacts of extreme weather, or ways in which farmers might help fight climate change, the farmworkers that are the backbone of our agricultural system have often been left out. This is a problem. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here: Pesticides, heat, and the people who feed us: climate change is making farmworkers’ dangerous job even worse

Three ways agricultural lenders can help farmers reap millions in savings from conservation:  Maggie Monast writes, “The U.S. farm economy is in its worst condition in decades due to several years of low crop prices, ongoing trade disputes, natural disasters and other variable weather. But many farmers are adapting and innovating – implementing conservation practices that build soil health and resilience, such as nutrient optimization, cover crops and no-till.  Still, there is a growing need for farmers to understand the full financial benefits of these practices and prove their value to ag lenders and other financial partners. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here: Three ways agricultural lenders can help farmers reap millions in savings from conservation

Key issues in EPA’s proposed lead and copper rule revisions:  Lynn Thorp writes, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed long-awaited revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). The LCR is a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Its purpose is to reduce lead and copper at the tap in drinking water provided by regulated Public Water Systems. … ”  Read more from Clean Water Action here: Key issues in EPA’s proposed lead and copper rule revisions

Could the Pentagon be a climate change leader?  Tara Lohan writes, “Three years into the Trump administration, its anti-climate and anti-science agenda is well established. … Under Trump there’s only one government agency whose top officials continue to take the threat of climate change seriously, albeit out of the public spotlight: the Department of Defense.  As international threat expert Michael T. Klare recounts in his new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, U.S. military leaders view climate change as a threat to the country’s security — as well as global stability. Klare explores what they’re doing about it, mostly behind the scenes. … ”  Read more from The Revelator here: Could the Pentagon be a climate change leader?

A shark in fresh water: Brian Richter writes, “It’s a bit hard to believe now, but back in 2012 there wasn’t a lot of talk about fresh water in the global dialogues on climate change. Yes, there was a lot of talk about sea-level rise, the impacts of warming temperatures on the livability of cities, the need to protect forests, and that sort of thing. But the concerns held by many freshwater scientists and water managers – such as fears of worsening freshwater scarcity in coming decades – were getting very little attention.  Anticipating further freshwater neglect at the upcoming 18th Convention of the Parties (COP-18) to be held in November 2012 in Doha, Qatar, the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) hosted a preemptive water and climate conference in Mexico City to elevate freshwater concerns on the global agenda. I’ll never forget the words of CONAGUA’s director general in opening the conference: “Climate change is the shark in our future and water is its teeth.” … ”  Read more from Sustainable Waters here: A shark in fresh water

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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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