Peter Gleick: California’s next one million acre-feet of water

Peter Gleick:

This is a key time for California water: we are coming off of three years of serious drought and growing political conflict over water allocations. The Legislature passed a comprehensive water bill last November. A major water bond was proposed to fund a wide range of interventions, but has now been tabled for at least two years and could be greatly altered or even scrapped altogether. New reviews from around the state are calling for prompt efforts to use infrastructure, markets, and institutional reform to address the state’s water crisis. All parties agree that the state will need a diverse portfolio of solutions for our diverse and complex water problems.

But the argument that we must do everything at once — conservation, new dams, seawater desalination plants, replumbing the Delta, some of this or that — is disingenuous, and wrong. We must do the most critical and effective things first, from a technical, political, and economic perspective.

And the most effective thing, hands down, is improving water-use efficiency. The Pacific Institute has just released a new analysis that recommends a set of specific actions that can annually save a million acre-feet of water quickly and at a lower economic and ecological cost than developing new supplies. These water savings are split 30/70 between the urban and agricultural sectors.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gleick/detail?entry_id=71828#ixzz0z9xHjYJA

Californians need to see the real water problems

From Aguanomics:

A guest post from David Schurr:

Many Californians believe there is a water shortage, actually there is a water management shortage fueled by economics.* Studies conclude that water exports are the major stressor to the Delta Ecosystem, which is the most productive estuary on the west coast. Essentially water exports have exceeded what the Delta ecosystem can handle. The result is an interruption in the food chain beginning with losses in zooplankton populations that sent fish populations crashing.

Even though The State Water Board declares that 75% of the state’s water is needed to protect the environment, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has allowed water contractors to deliver more water. This year environmental protections were overturned by Federal Court Judges to help farmers. Districts that received their water too late in the season simply used the surplus water to flush toxic salt and selenium from their fields, (no kidding) selenium that eventually ends up back in the Delta.

Read more…

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Comment: Some good points, but the best way to allocate by price is through privatization. 

Some good points. And the best way to allocate a resource by price is to privatize it; which should be done with water.

From Paper to the Real World: Stopping Illegal Water Diversions in California

Elliott Rector, Legal Intern, EDF

On June 29, the California State Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee approved SB 565, an encouraging first step towards reforming the illegal use and diversion of water in California. This important bill will next be taken up in the Appropriations Committee, possibly next week.

Read more…

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TragerWaterReport Comment: The best way to reduce the diversion of water is to privatize all water. That way, people would guard their supplies. In a similar fashion, people who own their own homes take care of them much better than, say, people forced to live in government housing, such as the infamous Cabrini Green in Chicago.

Keeping California Under Water:

OPED: Consumers get soaked as state agencies try to balance conservation with revenue generation.

By TIM DeROCHE

Monday, July 19, 2010

What a difference a year makes. One year ago, California faced the third straight year of severe drought. Water rates went up. Cities like Los Angeles implemented draconian watering restrictions. The Schwarzenegger administration released a plan calling for a 20 percent reduction in consumption by 2020.

This year, all’s quiet on the Western front. A wet winter – and ongoing economic troubles – have muted the public outcry over water usage. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proudly announced that consumption by single-family homes is down almost 30 percent since 2007.

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In a Time of Conservation, a Handful of Water Officials Increase Use

Some 69 other officials who oversee the region’s 24 water retailers — the agencies or cities that sell water to individual homes and businesses — either kept their use steady or cut it. (Their water use totals are public records because they have the power to set rates.)

But a few went in the other direction. Lopez was one of eight elected or appointed officials countywide whose home consumption increased by more than 10 percent between 2006 and 2009. Back in 2006, water conservation wasn’t a common refrain. But by 2009, with the first countywide supply cuts in two decades taking effect, the cause was advertised everywhere — from city buses to radio and television.

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New law strengthens Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency

July 19, 2010, 03:30 AM

By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
 
A new law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week strengthens a local water agency’s ability to obtain state grants and implement conversation projects.

The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency will now be able to compete with other water distributors across the state for bond money related to maintaining infrastructure or conservation efforts.
Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City, drafted the legislation, in part, because of Proposition 18, an $11 billion water bond measure on the November ballot.

The bond measure provides financing for a variety of projects, such as the construction of new dams, drought relief, habitat restoration, recycling, groundwater improvements, watershed restoration and infrastructure improvements.

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Glendale Water officials: Be stingy

Beautiful Glendale

With summer temperatures starting to take hold, Glendale Water & Power has seen a slight increase in customer water usage, officials said.

Glendale customers recently logged a 3% increase in water use, worrying some officials that compliance with conservation rules might be waning as summer heat approaches. Irrigation throughout the region is limited to just three days a week. In Glendale, the ordinance led to an overall 18% drop in water usage.

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