Waiting for ‘catastrophe’

"Today’s system of water management, developed in previous times for past conditions, is leading the state down a path of environmental and economic deterioration. We’re waiting for the next drought, flood, or lawsuit to bring catastrophe,” says Ellen Hanak, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and co-author of the new report Managing California's Water. "But if we take bold steps now, we can move from an era of conflict to one of reconciliation, where water is managed more flexibly and comprehensively, to benefit both the economy and the environment.” Click on the cover to be taken to the report.

The life aquatic

Los Angeles River. Photo: Wikipedia via Flickr. Click on the image to be taken to Wikipedia

Last call for $30 seats for the The Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council September 28th symposium “The science behind the policy: Clean water and natural resources in California.” After September 17th, the price rises to $40. Click here for details. Personally, I don’t understand the logic of the early bird special. If cinemas did that for movies, only well organized people would attend. Then again, the movies don’t have Pacific Institute president and MacArthur Fellow Peter Gleick. Yet. LASGWC panelists also include economics professor Bowman Cutter of the Pomona College and Adan Ortega, former Metropolitan Water District conservation strategist and a memer of the California Board of Food and Agriculture. Environment correspondent Molly Peterson of KPCC moderates.

This post has been updated from a preliminary stub with date and

“One earthquake, one flood away from collapse”

THE SACRAMENTO-San Joaquin River Delta is “one earthquake, one flood away from collapse,” said the California Senate speaker pro Tem as he opened legislative hearings last week on a compromise package of water bills. In case listeners didn’t care, Darrell Steinberg added to a legislature convened in an extraordinary session precisely to deal with the delta, “24m people could lose their drinking water.”

Powerful language, except in California extreme warnings are old hat. Delta levees have been crumbling for a quarter of a century, and repeated alerts to the clear and present danger, such as the USGS subsidence map, left, have not broken the deadlock between legislators representing fisheries, Delta residents, Central Valley farmers, and Southern Californian cities over how to manage the largest estuary on the Pacific coast of the US.

Latterly, a governor top-loading delta fixes with demands for $3bn worth of new dams has only deepened divides.

Blow hard, blow now, just don’t mow and blow: Second Comment Period opens on Modified AB 1881

California landscapers and other interested parties have until 5pm on May 26 to submit comments on an updated and modified version of the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB 1881.  


Turn off the sprinklers and put down the hose, unless you are fighting a fire

Highlights from March 31, 2009 testimony before the US Congress Natural Resources Committee by US Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner J. William McDonald on Interior’s preparedness plan for dealing with California drought.

FIRE: “The Interior bureaus and our land management partners are preparing to deal with the potential for widespread and intense fires in California this year as a result of multiple successive years of drought.”

NATIONAL PARKS AND CAMPING: “Conservation measures will be put in place in parks where campground water supplies are expected to be limited, including several sites in Yosemite National Park.”

CENTRAL VALLEY: “As of March 30, Central Valley Project agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta will be allocated 5 percent, or 19 thousand acre-feet, of contract water supplies under their CVP contracts. CVP agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta will likely receive no allocation.”

Full Testimony