Central Valley groundwater mining detected from space

Approximate location of maximum subsidence in the United States identified by research efforts of Dr. Joseph F. Poland (pictured). Signs on pole show approximate altitude of land surface in 1925, 1955, and 1977. The site is in the San Joaquin Valley southwest of Mendota, California. Source: USGS. Click on the image to be taken to a groundwater subsidence fact sheet.

PASADENA, California — New space observations reveal that since October 2003, the aquifers for California’s primary agricultural region — the Central Valley — and its major mountain water source — the Sierra Nevadas — have lost nearly enough water combined to fill Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir, reports the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To keep reading the JPL news release, click here.

Legislation that would have required monitoring of groundwater in the Central Valley was gutted at the last minute from the raft of water bills passed by the

David Zetland on political influence, insider trading and Cadiz

Manhattan Beach Country Club, owned by Keith Brackpool, CEO of Cadiz, Inc

DAVID ZETLAND, the Berkeley-based water economist and publisher of Aguanomics, today follows up on Cadiz’s June 5 stock surge and the market position of Cadiz CEO Keith Brackpool: Who knew what when in advance of the Cadiz-issued endorsements of the Cadiz groundwater project by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt?

“What intrigues me is that Brackpool took options on 60,000 shares on May 22,” Zetland writes. “They were worth about $400,000 then and about $750,000 two weeks later. (He only had 90,000 shares before exercising that option. Was it “in the money”? Did he sell those shares?…)”

“Bottom Line,” Zetland writes, “It’s fine to buy and sell water to make a profit. It’s NOT fine to use political influence to change the value of your water trading

I heart Robert Glennon

From the king of water bloggers Aquadoc of WaterWired, this on Robert Glennon, a groovy enough water guy to make it to the Daily Show …. (to watch last night’s episode, click here)

Review: Robert Glennon’s ‘Unquenchable’

Robert Glennon, inveterate Boston Red Sox fan that he is, has hit another home run. His first one came in the form of Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters.But now he has topped that with Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It.

Shill alert #1: Before providing my review I must confess that I am a huge fan of Glennon’s. I’ve seen his Water Follies talk four times. Two of those times I invited him. I never get tired of hearing him. He is an excellent, entertaining speaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject.  And anyone who

Cadiz, Inc boondoggle is back

CALIFORNIA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has endorsed plans by private speculator Cadiz, Inc to tap Mojave ground water, reports the Los Angeles Business Journal. The Cadiz plan, according to a statement from the governor, “will sustainably recover more than one million acre feet of water that would otherwise be lost to evaporation and make it available to help provide a reliable source of water for Southern California.”

The Cadiz project proposes storing Colorado River Water in a Mojave aquifer in wet years and pumping it to Southern Californian communities in dry ones. Among its problems are that it involves taking out far more water from the desert than naturally refills every year and that, cost-wise, experts say it’s a boondoggle.

The Cadiz self-styled “dry year supply project” is best known, however, as a synonym for croneyism. As a succession of Los Angeles Times stories during the last nine

Is Obama’s Gain the Great Basin’s Loss?

NOT EVERY American politician happens to be fluent in Mandarin. But Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is; he served his LDS mission in Taiwan. He is also no stranger to international industry. His father founded the Huntsman Corporation, which became a global chemical company whose products most of  us know in the form of the Big Mac clamshell container. So President Obama’s choice of  the Republican governor of Utah for ambassador to China is no surprise.

But regionally in rural Utah, Nevada and California, Gov Huntsman has an arguably rarer fluency — with western water. Utah’s West Desert counties running parallel to the Eastern Nevada valleys targeted by the Las Vegas pipeline plan have no more influential ally than the Mormon Governor. Those counties staunchly oppose the Las Vegas pipeline. In a tour of the West Desert last year, Gov. Huntsman told ranchers assembled in Delta, Millard County, “I want you

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