The week that was, 1/10-16/2010

Posted on | January 17, 2010 | 2 Comments

Survivors of the Haitian earthquake reach for water packets. Source: Wall Street Journal. Click on the image for the accompanying story and photo gallery

“Water is water. You can’t last long without it.” — Stephanie Bunker, United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Frantic race against time to get clean water to Haiti quake survivors,”  The Guardian, January 16, 2010

This is one of the things Americans do really well. We step up in whatever ways we can. — “Water for Haiti: Now,” Peter Gleick, San Francisco Chronicle, January 13, 2010

The Audubon Society labeled the Salton Sea an “environmental Chernobyl” in 1999. This June 2002 NASA photograph, taken during the frantic negotiations for the Quantification Settlement Agreement, which committed California to open-ended environmental remediation, shows an algal bloom caused by agricultural run-off. Click on the image to be taken to the Earth Observatory.

In the days between October 2, 2003, and before the October 12, 2003 deadline, in an apparent attempt to make the State’s commitment to pick up any environmental mitigation cost shortfall more certain than had been provided by the California legislature … the Quantification Settlement Agreement Joint Powers Authority … language was successfully negotiated by the non-State parties to expressly provide that the ‘State obligation is an unconditional contractual obligation of the State of California, and such obligation is not conditioned upon an appropriation by the Legislature, nor shall the event of non-appropriation be a defense.’

“Everyone negotiating the QSA JPA Agreement would have reasonably understood that now the State itself was purporting to unconditionally commit to pick up the entire tab for mitigation costs exceeding the capped contribution of the other QSA parties, notwithstanding the amount of those costs … unconditional contractual obligation of the State of California not dependent on any further State action compels the Court to declare the QSA JPA Agreement invalid. — Judge Roland L. Candee, Statement of Decision, Superior Court of California, January 13, 2010

“We will not give up any more water, we’re not going to pay any more money and we’re not taking on any more liability.”Imperial Irrigation District John Pierre Menvielle, “Judge upholds QSA ruling,” Imperial Valley Press, January 15, 2010, via Aquafornia.

“It is not the end.” — Dennis Cushman, assistant general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, a major beneficiary of the Quantification Settlement Agreement / Joint Powers Authority, which was invalidated on Wednesday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Roland Candee, “Colorado River water deal overturned,” Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2010, via Aquafornia.

“At the end of the day, this is an environmental project.” — Aaron Million on a 560-mile water pipeline that he is proposing from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range, “Flaming Gorge pipeline users lining up,” Pueblo Chieftan, January 15, 2010
Barry said he plans to spend more time on his farm in Hawaii. — Denver water chief  to retire,” Denver Post, January 12, 2010
“We also note that the cost of the Demonstration Project has escalated from an early estimate of $29 million to current estimates of between $60 and $80 million.” — Federal Bureau of Reclamation quoted as back-pedalling on the proposed “Two Gates” project that only might manipulate turbid water in a fish-friendly way, “Project to increase water deliveries from Delta stalls,” Contra Costa Times, January 15, 2010

Click here to see Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter canoe the Los Angeles River.

Jan. 15, 2010 is the day that the Los Angeles Board of Public Works enlisted the help of the development and business communities and homeowners to green LA and clean local rivers and beaches. — Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay on the passage of a Low Impact Development Ordinance requiring new buildings to retain stormwater on the property to protect the local watershed, “A High Impact Ordinance,” Spouting Off, January 15, 2010

Simply sit the bulbs, pointed side up, in a shallow bowl of water containing a layer of pebbles or marbles. The bottom of the bulbs should just touch the water’s surface. Add a splash or two of vodka or white rum to the water. — “Splash of vodka or rum straightens out the paperwhites,” Toronto Star, January 14, 2010

Is it “responsible” to make a deal with Exelon to reserve more than 24 billion gallons of water annually from an over-allocated basin for its proposed nuclear plant near Victoria? — “Quit over-extending the river,” op-ed by Jim Blackburn, attorney for The Arkansas Project, San Antonio Express News, January 15, 2010

The Chacaltaya glacier, 5,300m (17,400 ft) up in the Andes, used to be the world's highest ski run. Left, 1996. Right, 2009. Source: BBC News. Click on the image for the BBC story.

Ask the mayor of a city in the Andes Mountains about the outcome of December’s climate negotiations in Copenhagen, and you will probably receive a perfunctory reply. Ask about the plummeting levels of local freshwater reservoirs, and you will get an earful. — “Latin America’s water needs could foster collaboration to curb global warming,” op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times by Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, January 13, 2010

“This simply would not happen if people were paying for these scarce resources.” — Sean Murphy, spokesman for the Irish business group Chambers Ireland, on chronic water shortages following a deep freeze during which residents left their taps open to keep pipes from freezing, “Local councils battling to restore supplies,” Irish Independent, January 14, 2010

Tuscon water sculpture. Photo: Mamta Popat / Arizona Star. Click on the image to be taken to the story of shifting appreciation for the piece.

What is ugly to some is lovely to others. —Once unwanted water art finds a welcoming home,” Arizona Daily Star, January 11, 2010

“It’s essentially subsidizing urban sprawl.” — Dave Dempsey, author of “Great Lakes for Sale: From Whitecaps to Bottle Caps,” on Lake County, Illinois moving to tap a Great Lake, “Chicago suburbs covet Lake Michigan water,” Ledger-Enquirer, January 14, 2010

Public hearings held by the Department of Natural Resources last month to discuss a $600 million copper-mining project on a 7-square-mile tract of public forest land near Biwabik turned into pro-mining pepfests. — Nick Coleman column “If there’s a ‘copper rush,’ there’s peril,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 10, 2010

Boundary Waters Map. Source: Wikipedia. Cartographer: Karl Musser

Is this precious metal worth this much? Is our environment worth less than that? — Precious waters,” documentary by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in the Superior National Forest, linked through “If there’s a ‘copper rush,’ there’s peril,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 10, 2010

Grannis’ environmental impact statement was so off the wall, he proposed opening the door to gas drilling anywhere in the watershed more than 300 feet from a reservoir. — Protect New York’s water: Frackers must not endanger city’s reservoirs,” New York Daily News editorial, January 11, 2010

This post has been updated. The San Francisco Chronicle item was added 55 minutes after the first posting.

Correction: early versions of this post mis-captioned the photos of the Chacaltaya glacier change as between 2009 and 2008. In addition to being back-asswards, they were wrong. The correct dates, left to right, are between 1996 and 2009. Thanks to Michael van der Valk for spotting and reporting the error.


2 Responses to “The week that was, 1/10-16/2010”

  1. Eric Perramond
    January 18th, 2010 @ 9:31 am

    Thanks for the Flaming Gorge pipeline (pipe dream?) project update – hadn’t heard about this latest insanity. EPP

  2. Bad planning and hyperbole | Chance of Rain
    January 21st, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    […] reported in The week that was, and repeated here for good measure, last week, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works passed a Low […]

Leave a Reply

  • After the lawn

  • As you were saying: Comments

  • As I was saying: Recent posts

  • Garden blogs

  • Contact

    Emily Green by e-mail at [at]
  • Categories