The Assignment? “Explain the Delta”

KCET's new Bay Delta Project, funded by the Rose Foundation, explains how water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers ended up in the faucets of 25 million Californians and fields of the San Joaquin Valley.

“After the Lawn” Part 3: Turf dormancy

Allowing lawn to go seasonally brown is a smart way to save water and divert irrigation to high-value trees.

The Dry Garden: In search of a ‘water ethic’ for America

Most high-level arguments about how to conserve water in the garden take place without involving home gardeners. Rather, as water managers weigh what an imaginary average consumer would and would not do by way of conservation, we real-life consumers are alternately offered carrots in the form of ephemeral rebate programs and sticks in the form of emergency sprinkler ordinances. 

The new book, “Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis,”  knocks this tired see-saw off its axis. Author Cynthia Barnett argues that no conservation program will truly succeed unless embraced by the public as part of a universally adopted “water ethic.” After research took her across the US, to the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia, Barnett concluded that the only way that a water ethic can be reintroduced to places that have lost it is if a primal sense of the importance and beauty of water is restored. 

It’s unorthodox to

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.

Pass the buffalo

The president intimated Tuesday that the Department of Interior may be in for some cuts, however  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar followed up yesterday with a shadow state of the union address for staff. Click here for the text. Included in the oratory is a pledge to “increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental uses in the western United States by 490,000 acre feet through Reclamation’s conservation-related programs.”  Also on the promise list is increasing capacity for renewable energy on public lands, while at the same time ensuring complete environmental review. How the latter can be assured without the environmental reviews being a sham is unclear. Via the Great Basin Water Network.

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