State Water Project water rights assume augmentation of Sac River flows by 890,000 af/year

One of the largest water rights hearings in the California State Water Resources Control Board’s history was the hearing on eight applications by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) for the State Water Project. The then-called State Water Rights Board approved the permit for the State Water Project in Water Rights Decision 1275 on … Continue reading State Water Project water rights assume augmentation of Sac River flows by 890,000 af/year

On the “long tail” of flood disaster losses in California

By Kathleen Schaefer and Deirdre Des Jardins Hurricane Ian has shown the vulnerability of the rapidly growing cities in the Southeast to storm-driven flooding. As reported in the New York Times, in the counties whose residents were told to evacuate, just 18.5 percent of homes have insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (Flavelle … Continue reading On the “long tail” of flood disaster losses in California

Delta Independent Science Board requests extension on Delta tunnel Draft EIR comments

On September 2, 2022, Lisa Wainger, the new Chair of the Delta Independent Science Board, sent a letter to the Department of Water Resources Director, Karla Nemeth, asking for a 30 day extension of time to comment on the Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR. The DISB Chair's letter gave the following reasons for asking for … Continue reading Delta Independent Science Board requests extension on Delta tunnel Draft EIR comments

Will ruling on pre-1914 curtailments force the Water Board to track stored water?

On September 12th, 2022, the Sixth District Court of Appeal issued a ruling that the State Water Resources Control Board did not have the authority to curtail pre-1914 water rights under Water Code section 1052(a).  This code section provides that “The diversion or use of water subject to this division other than as authorized in … Continue reading Will ruling on pre-1914 curtailments force the Water Board to track stored water?

Tales from the Water Wars: The Gift of Anger and other lessons from Gandhi

Last year, I read the book, “The Gift of Anger and other lessons from my grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi." It's by Mahatma Gandhi's fifth grandson, Arun Gandhi. Arun asked his grandfather why he didn’t get angry. Mahatma Ghandi answered, "it is not that I don't get angry. I have learned to use my anger for good. … Continue reading Tales from the Water Wars: The Gift of Anger and other lessons from Gandhi

Water Board’s Decision 1641 adopted in wetter period

Tree in wet and dry landscape

This blog post analyzes long term changes in the Sacramento Four River runoff using a 10 year and 30 year running mean. Sacramento River runoff was lower during the Dust Bowl era drought of 1928-34, and the current 30 year mean runoff is close to the mean for the historic record. However, the current 10 … Continue reading Water Board’s Decision 1641 adopted in wetter period

California’s FY 2022-23 budget invests little in flood risk reduction

California's FY 2022-23 budget provides huge, once in generation capital investments. And extreme flooding is a growing climate risk, as the ARkStorm 2.0 study by XingYing Huang and Daniel Swain illustrates. In November of 2021, after the unprecedented flooding in British Columbia, we called for California to prepare for unprecedented flooding, citing a 2018 study … Continue reading California’s FY 2022-23 budget invests little in flood risk reduction

Delta tunnel — Inconvenient truths about sea level rise and salinity intrusion

Polar ice sheet melting

The Delta tunnel Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has a new Sea Level Rise Study in Technical Appendix 5A-F. The study was done with Bay-Delta SCHISM, a 3-D hydrodynamic model of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. The new SCHISM study has limitations, in that it assumes that Delta levees are raised to keep up … Continue reading Delta tunnel — Inconvenient truths about sea level rise and salinity intrusion

Delta tunnel EIR shows predictable megaproject management biases

Professor Brent Flyvbjerg is an internationally renowned expert in megaprojects. His research has shown how megaprojects are systematically subject to "survival of the unfittest." Flyvbjerg’s 2021 paper, Top Ten Behavioral Biases in Project Management: An Overview, describes several behavioral biases which are relevant to the Delta tunnel project. They include strategic misrepresentation, optimism bias, planning … Continue reading Delta tunnel EIR shows predictable megaproject management biases