Everything’s broken

"La Dragona del Jardin" in the Echo Park garden of Larry Nichols and Rob Kibler. Photo: R Daniel Foster (reproduced with permission). Click on La Dragona to be taken to Foster's story "A smashing success" in the Los Angeles Times.

By now you may have read that the Governor of California and a good number of state legislators want to spare voters the trouble of considering an $11bn bond measure to pay for the package of water bills that they passed last November. After describing passage of the bills as “historic” and “herculean” last fall, the same men who told us that it had to be done because our water supply was “one earthquake, one flood away from collapse” have now decided that disaster can wait. We’re not scared enough to pay what it will cost to plan for it. For details, go to Aquafornia. My own

The week that was: Fracking special

To read about how advances in hydraulic fracturing technology led geologists and energy companies to believe that a previously uneconomic source of natural gas might be tapped in the Marcellus Shale and Appalachian Basin, click on the map to be taken to an overview from Geology.com

Josh Fox’s documentary “GasLand,” broadcast last Monday on HBO, planted the suggestion that as former Vice President Dick Cheney was waging his “war on terror” in the wake of 9/11, his energy task force set America on a path capable of poisoning the drinking water supply of New York City, along with that of Pennsylvania, Delaware, parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

In May 2001, the report of the National Energy Policy Development Group gathered by former Halliburton CEO and then Vice President Dick Cheney concluded, "Most new gas wells drilled in the United States will require hydraulic fracturing." Click on the

The Dry Garden: Coyote mint

Paradise is at once so attainable and so far away.

This column was going to be about how the most immediate and affordable thing that Southern California homeowners could do to reduce our collective dependency on fossil fuel would be to rip out lawn. But events in the Gulf of Mexico are too crazy-making to be sure that it wouldn’t be the garden-writing equivalent of picking a fight at the dinner table. So this column is about coyote mint. Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.

From press release to pocketbook

Click on the image to be taken to NASDAQ.com

Cadiz, Inc today announced that the Santa Margarita Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District have agreed to stand as lead agencies in a review under the California Environmental Quality Act to evaluate the risks of reviving a previously discredited plan to mine Mojave Desert groundwater to serve the Southern Californian urban conurbation.

The share price responded with a jump of more than 14 per cent before declining.

No water has been produced by this 12-year-old scheme, however for the last year skillfully deployed press releases have made Cadiz a volatile and occasionally lucrative stock. It would take a SEC investigation to see if a run on the shares last year involving a privately secured endorsement from the Governor of California amounted to insider trading by directors at the expense of stockholders.

Today’s news about two Southern California water companies

‘Erin Brockovich’ writ large

Josh Fox standing in a stream that passes by his home in Pennsylvania. Source: HBO. After fracking began in Dimock, Pa., local livestock that drank water near gas mines began losing their hair. Fox took up the subject in the documentary 'Gasland' after his family was offered nearly $100,000 by a company for drilling rights on their land. From the Philadelphia Inquirer. Click here to read its review of 'Gasland.'

For Westerners, the connection between gas and water usually centers on Chromium VI, the chemical once used as a coolant by PG&E gas compressor plants and subsequently the Mojave Desert groundwater pollutant made famous by “Erin Brockovich.”

Yet a far greater, clear and present threat exists to a shared watershed extending from New York to West Virginia and throughout gas fields of the midwest and Texas. That is “hydrofracking,” the process in which chemically laced water  is used to fracture

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