BLOG ROUND-UP: The lawlessness of the Trump Admin hits #CaWater; Backfire! Newsom hoped the state contractors and Met would side with him but they didn’t; Delta Smelt recovery strategies update; Day Zero for the Colorado River; and more …

The lawlessness of the Trump Administration hits #CaWater:  Kate Poole writes, “According to the Washington Post’s fact checker, as of January, 2020, President Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims during his first three years in office. Sadly, this lack of regard for truth seems to be trickling down and infecting the Trump Administration’s management of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) in California, one of the largest water storage and diversion projects in the country. Several events have come to light in just the last few days that show an alarming disregard for transparency, truth, and the law within the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the agency charged with managing the CVP.  First, the Bureau of Reclamation is now operating the massive CVP pumps in the Delta at almost four times the rate that the agency informed the federal district court in Fresno that it would pump in April. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  The lawlessness of the Trump Administration hits #CaWater

Backfire! Governor Newsom hoped the state contractors and Metropolitan would side with him because under his plan they would lose the water the federal contracts gained. But they didn’t:  Families Protecting the Valley write, “What’s going on in the cat-and-mouse game between the State of California, Governor Gavin Newsom and the Trump Administration when it comes to pumping policy in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?  When the Trump Administration came out with new Biological Opinions regulating the federal pumps, what some are calling a rollback of federal endangered species protections to increase pumping for Central Valley farmers, the Newsom Administration decided to develop its own set of delta fish protections under the California Endangered Species Act.  Newsom’s action would cut state water deliveries in response to the increased pumping by the feds.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Backfire!

State’s new permit fails to protect salmon and the Bay-Delta: Doug Obegi writes, “With governments around the world racing to address our current crisis, it seems profoundly strange to write about anything but the challenge of meeting this global threat that is disrupting our lives and threatening our families and loved ones.  However, even in the face of a pandemic, government must continue its essential functions, and that includes operating and issuing permits for state and federal water projects. … The State of California has finalized a new permit for the operations of the State Water Project that significantly weaken protections for salmon and other endangered species in California’s Bay-Delta watershed. ... ”  Read more at the NRDC here: State’s new permit fails to protect salmon and the Bay-Delta

Early implementation “no regrets” projects submitted to advance voluntary agreements and recovery planning:  The NorCal Water Association writes, “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)–working closely with water suppliers in the Sacramento River Basin–have submitted a list of early implementation “no regrets” salmon recovery projects to the California Natural Resources Agency. As the projects show, the water leaders in Northern California are committed to advance Voluntary Agreements and recovery planning and implementation as a boost for both our economy and environment in California. These projects also show a commitment to fixing problems rather than fighting over them by pointing positive and bringing people together to re-imagine our water system to serve multiple benefits for the future. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Early implementation “no regrets” projects submitted to advance voluntary agreements and recovery planning

Eating Delta smelt:  Peter Moyle writes, “Delta smelt are an endangered species and the latest estimates of their numbers indicate they will likely not be around much longer as wild fish. When I first started working on them, in the 1970s, they were abundant and frequently caught in various sampling programs. One of my regrets is that I never ate any that we caught, despite the fact that smelt in general are highly regarded as food fish. Indeed, a memorable experience from my high school days in Minnesota was driving up to the North Shore of Lake Superior with friends and spending a night dip-netting rainbow smelt in the freezing water. We built a fire on the beach and luxuriously fried the smelt in butter. We ate them heads and all, a tradition I learned from my father. Delicious. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Eating Delta smelt

Delta Smelt Recovery Strategies – Winter 2020 Update:  Tom Cannon writes, “The Delta smelt are in trouble. The state and federal programs to help smelt recover are failing to meet their goals. The Delta Smelt Resilience Strategy adopted in 2016 is the State’s program to save Delta smelt. The State Strategy is not working, and has perhaps even made things worse in the four below normal and wet years that the state strategy has been applied since the 2013-2015 drought. This failure may explain why the strategy document is stored as a “legacy” file on the California Natural Resources Agency’s website. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Delta Smelt Recovery Strategies – Winter 2020 Update

Delta Flows: Transparency Does Not Occur By Declaring Transparency; It Takes Intentional Action: “This Delta Flows is brief. This is what is happening in state and federal water processes during COVID19. We are not pleased with what we are seeing and hearing. But we don’t want to run alerts on our Governor who has more than a full plate, and who is handling the pandemic admirably.  We, however, believe that the California Natural Resources Department and the Department of Water Resources need to hear from all of us, as well as our US Senators and Congressional Representatives. They need to know what the public expects from them during the pandemic and to understand that transparency is not just a buzzword. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta Flows: Transparency Does Not Occur By Declaring Transparency; It Takes Intentional Action

Trends and opportunities in water markets in the western U.S.:  Faith Kearns writes, “Climate variability and the mismatch between where water is and where people need it to be are two defining forces of life in California. Therefore, water storage, conveyance, and transfer are major issues in the state, and water markets have arisen as one way of facilitating the movement of water from one place to another at specific times.  In a new paper published in the journal Water, Kurt Schwabe and Mehdi Nemati of UC Riverside partnered with Clay Landry and Grant Zimmerman from WestWater Research to review water markets in Arizona, California, Texas, and throughout the western U.S. The researchers examined trends in water supply by source and demand by sector. They also studied the volume and value of water traded between 2009 and 2018. … ”  Read more from the Confluence blog here: Trends and opportunities in water markets in the western U.S.

How to choose a water system model:  Richard McCann writes, “The California Water & Environmental Modeling Forum (CWEMF) has proposed to update its water modeling protocol guidance, last issued in 2000. This modeling protocol applies to many other settings, including electricity production and planning (which I am familiar with). I led the review of electricity system simulation models for the California Energy Commission, and asked many of these questions then.  Questions that should be addressed in water system modeling include ... ”  Read more from Economics Outside of the Cube here: How to choose a water system model

Day Zero for the Colorado River: Brian Richter writes, “America’s two largest reservoirs — Lake Mead and Lake Powell on the Colorado River — could both run of out water in just five years.  I really wish this was an April Fool’s joke. But instead, it’s a conclusion I came to after being asked by one of my University of Virginia students, “What would happen to those reservoirs if they had another bad string of really dry years?”  My distressing conclusion is based on simple math, as illustrated in the graphs below. … ”  Read more from Sustainable Waters here: Day Zero for the Colorado River


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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