Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about this blog …

What issues do you cover?

The focus of the blog is primarily on statewide water issues, such as the Delta, groundwater, the drought, the water bond and other water-related legislation.

What types of things do you post?

I post both aggregated content from other internet sources, as well as produce original content exclusive to this blog.

Aggregated content appears in Notebook features such as the Daily Digest, News worth noting, the Blog Round-up, and Science News. Please see this page for detailed explanation of those features (scroll down to “About this blog”).

As for exclusive Notebook content, I tend to cover the items and events that are not usually covered in the mainstream press, thereby supplementing the stories and articles posted in the Daily Digest. The core of the coverage on the Notebook blog is centered around meetings of the Delta Stewardship Council, the California Water Commission, the State Water Board and others. I also cover legislative oversight hearings, seminars, and speeches. I occasionally produce report summaries of important documents, or write explanatory articles for various issues.

I look for items that advance the conversation on California water issues, and I actively seek out various and competing viewpoints.  However, I do not include items that contain personal attacks, overly harsh commentaries, long-winded rants (unless I find them particularly humorous), or allegations of misconduct.  I am not Erin Brockovich; I am not looking to investigate allegations of wrong-doing; those are best left to the journalists at the major news outlets.

What is the philosophy of the blog?

I attend events and I simply tell you what they said without any spin or advocacy.  I try to keep participants in their own words as much as possible, although the grammar fairy does assist from time to time. I am most interested in giving you the facts and information to form your own opinion on these matters, and so I try to balance the blog with to give you the best mix of viewpoints on these complex and controversial issues. You are then free to make up your own mind.

Are you and/or Maven’s Notebook funded by any organization?

Maven’s Notebook is proudly, gratefully and partially funded by the Rose Foundation. Other than that, the Notebook survives on the generosity on donations from readers. If you can help keep this blog going, please consider donating. It is tax deductible! Click here for more information.

Frequently asked questions about me …

Who are you?

I am Chris Austin. I am the sole writer and publisher of Maven’s Notebook. I live with my husband and two teenage sons in Santa Clarita, which is better known as “the place where Magic Mountain is.”

Why are you called Maven?

In 2007, when I started my first water blog, Aquafornia, blogging was a brand new technology, one that at first was the domain of silly cat videos and dinner recipes. In those early days, nobody blogged under their real names, and so I began with “Aqua Blog Maven”. Eventually, I shortened it to just “Maven”. I liked it, so I kept it.

How did you get started in water?

I was first inspired by reading the classic book, The Cadillac Desert. At the time, I was writing for a citizen journalism website and I decided to write a feature article on water. I was hooked. I enjoyed researching the article, and was convinced that water was going to be a much bigger issue than it was at the time. I remember saying to my husband, “I wonder what would happen if I were to get real smart about water.” Well, here I am.

My initial interest sparked my idea to create a website that would aggregate the amazing amount of internet content on California water issues. In 2007, I created and launched the water news website, Aquafornia, a blog that provided a daily aggregation of the latest news articles, editorials, commentaries, press releases, blogs, trade journals, scientific research and information on a daily basis. Over the years I refined and developed the website to include an information desk of basic educational articles, a calendar of important public meetings (federal, state and local) and links to relevant webcasts and meetings. I maintained the website on a daily basis, every day of the year, for nearly six years. In 2010, I sold the website to the Water Education Foundation, and continued to maintain it up until January of 2013. The Foundation now maintains and publishes the website, and I am no longer affiliated with either Aquafornia or the Water Education Foundation.

In June of 2012, I started Maven’s Notebook without really having a plan, just a head full of ideas. One of those was to cover meetings that are rarely covered in the mainstream media, so I started with the BDCP public meetings and grew it from there. Another idea I had was to slice and dice the 40,000+ pages of the BDCP up into the BDCP Road Map to make the document more user-friendly. Along the way, I worked to develop a new way of aggregating the enormous volume of water-related material available on the internet. Those are just some of the ideas I have implemented … I have plenty more!

This website is programmed, developed, and maintained by myself with occasional help from my husband, as are my other websites: Mavens Photoblog, Maven’s Manor, and the new kid on the block and currently in the initial stages of development, One Delta, One Science. I suppose that is both a blessing and a curse … you will find I am constantly tinkering with my websites, adding new nuances and features. It’s like the Winchester House to me – I will never be done with it. It will never be complete. To borrow a phrase from Ms. Connor, I’m building this car as I drive it, and upgrading it along the way, too.

I have long had a vision for what I describe as the ‘crazy-best’ website dedicated to California water news, views, and education … a one stop shop, if you will, for everything you’d want to know about California water. Well, I can’t say that this blog is there yet, but it’s not too far off.

So stay tuned. Much more to come!

Do you ever sleep?

Seriously, I do get asked this a lot.  I describe myself as a ‘non-sleeper’ – I don’t sleep nearly as much as regular people do. I’ve been an insomniac over half of my life, so I’m just used to it.  I even tried taking some of those new sleeping meds a few years ago but they just didn’t work, so I just came to accept that it’s just part of who I am. The way I look at it, I have at least three or more hours in a day than the rest of y’all, so I put them to good use.

More on me here …

Other people have written about me here:  In praise of ‘Aqua Blog Maven’, from the Chance of Rain blog;Unmasking California’s water ‘Maven’, from the California Water Blog; and Water ‘Maven’ Chris Austin: A Flo Rida Fan Who Lives Outside Her Comfort Zone, from Zocalo Public Square.  See also my About page.

Do you have a question for me or about the blog?

  • Send it to me, and maybe I’ll answer it on this page in the future.
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