Photo by Thomas Hawk

BLOG ROUND-UP: The water resilience portfolio, Delta conveyance project, Drought and the Delta, Privatizing water, and more …

Final California Water Resilience Portfolio released: What’s there, what’s missing

Cora Kammeyer writes, “In January 2020, California state agencies released a draft document meant to signify a new chapter in California water. Now, six months later and after extensive public consultation, the final draft of the Water Resilience Portfolio has arrived.  The Portfolio was developed in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order (N-10-19), which calls for a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system in California for the 21st century. This strategy includes several ambitious actions, such as ensuring all communities have access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water and utilizing natural infrastructure and approaches that provide multiple benefits. The Portfolio was a collaborative effort, compiled through an interagency working group with input from communities and leaders across the state. ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: Final California Water Resilience Portfolio released: What’s there, what’s missing

Gov. Newsom’s water portfolio has no water entrepreneurs

Wayne Lusvardi writes, “On July 28 Gov. Gavin Newsom issued what he called a Water Resilience Portfolio.  Prior governors have put out ambitious water plans, such as Jerry Brown’s Water Fix and Eco-Restore PlansHowever, Newsom’s water portfolio is not a plan and is in the form of an Executive Order (No. N-10-19), like the Coronavirus emergency orders, that focuses on “climate change” as justification for fast tracking construction of the proposed Sites Reservoir and a water tunnel under the Sacramento Delta.  The Sites Reservoir is to be built by the state Department of Water Resources and financed by 30 water agencies to develop 470,000 to 640,000 acre-feet of new water for dry years.  Perhaps, the use of executive orders signal that Newsom is going to autocratically govern every aspect of state government using similar emergency powers as his declared Coronavirus emergency.  ”  Read more from the California Globe here:  Gov. Newsom’s water portfolio has no water entrepreneurs

Sacramento County asks DWR to return to the drawing board on the tunnel project

In June of 2019, the Department of Water Resources gave the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) $19.7 million to continue work under the contracts signed for the WaterFix project. Delta Defenders joined other Delta community groups to formally request that DWR withdraw their approval for the DCA to commence work on the project. Our letter stated:  “The WaterFix was a project that Delta residents strongly opposed, and that now has no underlying approvals or environmental review. Allowing the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (“DCA”) to continue preliminary design, survey and right of way mapping, and real estate acquisition planning based on the withdrawn WaterFix project specifications is wholly unacceptable to our communities. … ”  Read more from the Delta Defenders here:  Sacramento County asks DWR to return to the drawing board on the tunnel project

Drought and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2012–2016: Environmental review and lessons

Droughts are common in California. The drought of 2012-2016 had no less precipitation and was no longer than previous historical droughts, but came with record high temperatures and low snowpack, which worsened many drought impacts. Water supplies for agriculture and urban users statewide struggled to meet water demands. Conservation and rationing, increased groundwater pumping and a diversified economy helped keep California’s economy robust in most sectors. The drought degraded environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) as the region became saltier and warmer, invasive weeds spread, and iconic fishes like salmon and Delta smelt had strong declines. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Drought and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2012–2016: Environmental Review and Lessons

Water, a public resource: How privatization happens

Demitri Fierro writes, “Water has been a fundamental pillar of civilization since antiquity, and access to clean water is a basic universal right to be enjoyed by us all. As it is our most vital resource, we each have a moral responsibility to see that everyone has access to it. But, what occurs when access to clean water is sold off and exploited? The result is lower quality and a threat to public health in the name of easy profit.  In this day of public/private partnerships (PPP), “contracting out” and corporatization of many public services, our water supply and delivery systems have been no less a target of large private corporations than our air waves, our beaches and our transportation services. But loss of our water resources and delivery systems might well be the most disastrous for the public. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Club here:  Water, a public resource: How privatization happens

California ‘water efficiency’ myths debunked again

Wayne Lusvardi writes, “At a December 6, 2019 meeting at the White House with the Small Business Roundtable, Pres. Donald Trump made the following remarks about “opening up” national standards for water efficient bathroom fixtures and appliances:  “We’re using common sense.  We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on — in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it — and you don’t get any water.  You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water.  They take a shower and water comes dripping out.  It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out.  People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.  They end up using more water.  So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion.” … In a July 24, 2020 response, Peter Gleick, PhD from U.C. Berkeley, former president of the Pacific Institute for water policy in Oakland, California, challenged Trump’s “common sense” policy in, “Donald Trump’s Water Problem”.  ... ”  Read more from the California Globe here: California ‘water efficiency’ myths debunked again

Reimagining our water system?

David Guy writes, “Can Californians reimagine a water system that reflects modern values and helps our great state meet critical water needs in the face of many uncertainties?  For leaders in Northern California, we say “yes!” I have the pleasure to work with leaders in the Sacramento River Basin, the northern part of the Great Central Valley. Our leaders have coalesced and are working hard to reimagine our water system to better serve people, fish and wildlife that inhabit our region’s unique mosaic of farmlands, cities and rural communities, wildlife refuges, and meandering rivers. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Reimagining our water system?

Congress and the Yuma Desalting Plant

John Fleck writes, “It’s hard to know whether Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally’s “Water-Energy Technology Demonstration and Deployment Act” is a serious bill. Congress doesn’t do much of anything these days, so probably not. But, serious or not, it is a very bad idea masquerading as a good-sounding one. The good-sounding idea is the creation of a partnership between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Energy to do neat stuff involving water and technology and energy demonstration etc. The bad part is a congressional intervention to goose the restart of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Desalting Plant.  I’m all for having a conversation about restarting YDP. But Congress is a lousy place to do it. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here: Congress and the Yuma Desalting Plant

Bottled water: The human health consequences of drinking from plastic

Tatum Pied writes, “As we continue to advocate for the reduction of plastic use beyond Plastic Free July, the issue of bottled water remains a significant problem to not only the well-being of our environment, but the quality of our health as well.  In the U.S. alone, Americans buy an estimated 50 billion water bottles a year from a growing industry projected to reach $334 billion by 2023. Many consumers purchasing bottled water are presented with the facade of a high quality product. In reality, countless companies are simply filtering municipal water and bottling it! Next time you reach for the bottle of “pure” water, think twice as popular brands may be selling you water contaminated with microplastics and toxic chemicals from their plastic packaging. … ”  Read more from We All Live Downstream here: Bottled water: The human health consequences of drinking from plastic

With thousands of species on the brink, Trump administration moves to further dismantle the Endangered Species Act

Despite clear warnings of a looming biodiversity crisis, the Trump administration has moved to further weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—the most effective law at protecting wildlife from extinction—this time by making it harder to protect habitat for species.  “This weakening of the ESA will have dire consequences for wildlife already struggling to survive,” says Rebecca Riley, legal director of NRDC’s Nature Program. “The proposal would make it harder to protect habitat necessary for species’ recovery. If we fail to protect habitat that species need, before long, we won’t have those species anymore.” … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: With thousands of species on the brink, Trump administration moves to further dismantle the Endangered Species Act 

Featured image credit: Photo by Thomas Hawk.

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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