How water is apportioned to California’s cities, farms, and the environment can lead to conflict and competition in times of drought. … This report reviews the state’s long-standing methods for defining and accounting for environmental water and proposes reforms to improve the timeliness, transparency, and detail in the accounting of environmental water allocation.
California’s management of water for is not working for anyone. Environmental advocates argue that state and federal regulators have set water quality and flow standards that do not adequately protect fish and wildlife, and have not enforced these requirements when they are most needed. Farm and urban interests claim that these regulations have been ineffective and cause unnecessary economic harm.
There is a sense of urgency regarding how the overallocated Colorado River is managed amid looming shortages and a grim climate change forecast. People who have dealt with river management issues for decades are girding for a heightened degree of activity that calls upon years of trust and collaboration to compose a plan for equitably sharing a vital resource.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today [Dec. 6] released a beta version of an updated water resources and water supply reliability planning tool for review and comment. Water managers in California use the model – known as CalSim – to examine operations of the interconnected Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) given assumptions for hydrology conditions, project facilities, and regulatory criteria.
Three U.S. states with anticipated water supply deficits in the coming decades reached milestones in July in their deliberations on how to meet the demands of cities, farmers, and industries. … A few plans have already been published. California, for example, released its five-year update in January.
Modesto is feeling the effects of the drought, with the Modesto Irrigation District reducing the amount of water it sends to the city by 43 percent, which is the same reduction MID has imposed on its other water users.
“California could save more water than what its cities use in a year by ramping up its conservation and recycling programs and storing rainwater instead of letting it run off into the Pacific Ocean, according to a report released Tuesday.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation today [June 6] announced its selection of six projects across California to receive a total of $1.8 million in CALFED Water Use Efficiency grants for Fiscal Year 2014. Combined with local cost-share contributions, more than $11.7 million in water management improvement projects will be implemented during the next 24 months.”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS), in ‘From Crisis to Connectivity: Renewed Thinking About Managing California’s Water & Food Supply,’ outlines a framework for reconnecting competing groups of water users and managing the state’s water resources with emphasis on simultaneous benefits.”
From the California WaterBlog, from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences in a post by Sarah Null:
“In California, we ask water managers to do the near-impossible task of managing rivers for both environmental and economic objectives, which are often at odds. Where we have repeatedly failed to stem or reverse environmental problems, environmental regulation can drive water management.”
“The first USGS streamgage in the country is turning 125 years old, and the U.S. Geological Survey, along with many partner agencies, is commemorating the event on Tuesday, April 22, with a celebration at the Embudo streamgage near Espanola.
From the PPIC [Public Policy Institute of California] Viewpoints Blog, in a post by Linda Strean:
“The drought has focused attention on water supply and highlights the crucial role of funding in supporting our water system, said Ellen Hanak, PPIC senior fellow, at a half-day conference PPIC hosted last week at the Sacramento Convention Center.
From the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) blog, in a post by NCWA Chair Bryce Lundberg:
“Despite recent rainfall in March, there will be significant surface water cutbacks in the Sacramento Valley during the third consecutive year of drought. Reduced water use by farms and wildlife refuges will directly impact wildlife habitat, rural communities and our economy.”
“Modesto’s auditor spent about six months reviewing the Public Works Department’s water and wastewater divisions, including interviewing more than 40 managers, supervisors and rank-and-file city employees.”
From the San Francisco Chronicle, in a commentary by Tim Palmer:
“One peril of being human is that we often respond poorly to crises. Because we now face one of the worst droughts in California history, the stage is set to flirt with error on a scale as colossal as the crisis itself.”