Tag Archive for: California WaterBlog

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – A Mick Jagger Theory of Drought Management

“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need,” Rolling Stones (1969, Let It Bleed album)

The ongoing California drought has many lessons for water managers and policy-makers. Perhaps the greatest lesson is how unimportant a drought can be if we manage water well.


Is it Drought Yet? Dry October-November 2019

So far, October and November 2019 has been the driest (or almost the driest) beginning of any recorded water year with almost zero precipitation. (The 2020 water year began October 1, 2019 – so you might have missed a New Year’s party already.)

Should we worry about a drought yet?

The Long and Winding Road of Salmon Trucking in California

Trucking juvenile hatchery salmon downstream is often used in the California Central Valley to reduce mortality during their perilous swim to the ocean. But is it all good? Researchers at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Francisco and NOAA Fisheries published an article in Fisheries this month exploring the history and implications of salmon trucking in a changing climate.

Who governs California’s drinking water systems?

A key feature of California’s drinking water system is the large number of individual water systems.

There are approximately 3,000 Community Water Systems (CWSs) in the state, meaning systems that serve a residential population year-round (the remaining 5,000 of the state’s 8,000 Public Water Systems are non-community systems serve places like schools, daycare, hospitals, campgrounds, or businesses that serve at least 25 people but have transient or non-residential populations.

Can Water Agencies Work Together Sustainably? – Lessons From Metropolitan Planning

It is said that, “In the US, we hate government so much that we have thousands of them.” This decentralization has advantages, but poses problems for integration. Integration is easy to say, and hard to do. Integration is especially hard, and unavoidably imperfect, for organizing common functions across different agencies with different missions and governing authorities. (Similar problems exist for organizing common functions across programs within a single agency.) Much of what is called for in California water requires greater devotion of leadership, resources, and organization to multi-agency efforts.

Groundwater Law – Physical – “The Water Budget Myth”

This week’s short post is on groundwater law – from the viewpoint of physics. Water policy, management, and human law often misunderstand how groundwater and surface water work physically. Bredehoeft, et al. (1982) distill a longstanding lament of many groundwater experts, “Perhaps the most common misconception in groundwater hydrology is that a water budget of an area determines the magnitude of possible groundwater development. Several well-known hydrologists have addressed this misconception and attempted to dispel it. Somehow, though, it persists and continues to color decisions by the water-management community.”

U.C. Davis Law’s Environmental Law Center Releases Proposition 3 White Paper

The U.C. Davis School of Law’s California Environmental Law & Policy Center has published a detailed analysis of one of the most controversial initiative measures facing California voters on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot: Proposition 3.  California’s Proposition 3: A Policy Analysis provides a detailed summary and analysis of the proposed “Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018.”  If enacted, Proposition 3 would authorize the sale of $8.877 billion in state general obligation bonds to finance a wide array of water infrastructure, safe drinking water, groundwater management and watershed and fisheries improvement projects.

BLOG: Improving Urban Water Conservation In California

The relatively dry 2017-18 winter in California resurfaced recent memories of drought conservation mandates. From 2013-16, urban water utilities complied with voluntary, then mandatory, water use limits as part of Executive Order B-37-16. Urban water utilities met a statewide 25% conservation target (24.9%), helping the state weather severe drought. Winter rains in 2016-17 led to a reprieve from mandatory conservation. Freed from statewide requirements, urban water agencies ended mandatory cutbacks by meeting “stress tests” that included several years of secured water supplies. A useful outcome of the 2013-17 drought period was long-needed reporting data on monthly urban water use and conservation.