The grass is always browner on the other side

WHEN George Knapp rumbles, people who care about water listen, even people routinely savaged by him. In April, Knapp and photojournalist Matt Adams won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for their KLAS-TV special “Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics,” which gave voice to the outrage and incredulity among conservationists, farmers and scientists over a bid by Las Vegas to drive a 300-mile-long pipeline into the heart of the Great Basin to pump its ground water south.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Few evening news programs attempt, never mind master, complicated essays on the cost of urban water in the West. This one does.

As disclosure, I should say that I too addressed the Las Vegas / Great Basin story in a year-long special assignment for the Las Vegas Sun. And by way of bragging, I will add that I too won a prize.


Newhall Ranch hearing tonight, environmental impact comments sought

THIS CAME in late, but for those following Newhall Ranch development and Santa Clara River issues, there will be a hearing on the environmental review process tonight, June 11, 6:30 pm at Rancho Pico Middle School, 26250 W. Valencia Blvd, Stevenson Ranch, 91381. A California Native Plant society rally begins at 6pm. CNPS will focus on  the endangered San Fernando Valley Spineflower (once believed extinct) on the property in question and request a 120-day extension for comments as people review the environmental documentation.  Those who can’t attend but wish to comment should do so by e-mail to before June 26.

Via Stephanie Blanc, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains and Jessica Hall. Map from Wikipedia


Smell something? It’s Cadiz, Inc

PULITZER PRIZE-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik is one of a formidable team of Los Angeles Times reporters, including Frank Clifford, Tony Perry, Bettina Boxall and Duke Helfand, who have been all over the Cadiz, Inc ground water mining wheeze for the last ten years. Today, Hiltzik is back in the Times doing what he does best: Calling a stinker a stinker.

From his report:

People who say that nothing’s harder to get rid of than a bad penny must never have met Keith Brackpool.

 The British-born promoter, who has spent the last dozen years pushing a scheme to pump water to Southern California from beneath 35,000 acres his Cadiz Inc. owns in the Mojave Desert, just won’t go away.

 On the contrary, he continues to attract political sycophants happy to attest to his wisdom in the ways of water policy — while they accept campaign contributions and consulting fees from

Weekly Drought Map

Every Thursday, this site links to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weekly Drought Map. The bad news for Southern California, we’re not only on it, the tan shading indicates severe drought. The good news: There are a number of efforts being made to conserve water. To find them for California, go to Dry Gardening Resources and Dry Gardening Events or a new LA Times column The Dry Garden.