Tales from the Water Wars — Jonas Minton’s testimony on true collaboration

Jonas Minton, the Senior Water Policy Advisor for Planning and Conservation League, passed away on June 22, 2022. He was 73. I had the privilege of serving on an expert panel with Jonas on April 2, 2018. We testified in the WaterFix Water Right Change Petition hearing for attorneys Bob Wright and Kyle Jones, representing … Continue reading Tales from the Water Wars — Jonas Minton’s testimony on true collaboration

Budget negotiations could determine the future of California’s Central Valley

Modeling by the Department of Water Resources for the 2022 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Update shows that peak flood flows on the San Joaquin River could more than double with climate change, and peak flows on the Sacramento could increase by 40%. In 2018, Daniel Swain, Baird Langenbrunner, and David Neelin found that there … Continue reading Budget negotiations could determine the future of California’s Central Valley

The State Water Project Delivery Reliability Report may have created systemic drought vulnerability

On June 7, 2022, Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issued the following statement: We are in an unprecedented situation, where our water supplies from the State Water Project are so limited by drought and climate change that they do not meet demands. Southern Californians must decrease their water … Continue reading The State Water Project Delivery Reliability Report may have created systemic drought vulnerability

Could California be at a social tipping point towards sustainability of water use?

European Complex Systems scientists Ilona M. Otto et. al. published a conceptual model of the dynamics of social tipping points towards rapid decarbonization of the earth's economy.  The concepts are also applicable to the changes needed to transition to more sustainable resource use, including water. This figure from Otto's paper shows a series of social … Continue reading Could California be at a social tipping point towards sustainability of water use?

Senate Climate Budget Plan proposals on water management science

Tree in wet and dry landscape

This Water and Drought package of the California Senate's Climate Budget Plan proposes major investment in water management science. One of the goals is to: Strengthen water rights quantification and enforcement at SWRCB. Currently the state does not have a reliable quantification of water rights or the ability to effectively enforce. The budget plan includes … Continue reading Senate Climate Budget Plan proposals on water management science

California Senate proposes $2 billion program to balance water supply and water rights

The California Senate has proposed a $2 billion reconciliation framework to rebalance water supply and water rights, as part of proposed investments of $7.5 billion in state and federal funds spread over three years for climate resiliency. It is the most sweeping land retirement proposal since the landmark 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act. According … Continue reading California Senate proposes $2 billion program to balance water supply and water rights

On sowing doubt about extinction risks for Chinook salmon in 2022

A decade ago, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway wrote the seminal book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Oreskes and Conway documented how scientists paid by the tobacco industry sowed doubt about the links between smoking and lung cancer, and how the … Continue reading On sowing doubt about extinction risks for Chinook salmon in 2022

Game theory explains what happened in the Voluntary Agreement negotiations

In 2009, Michael Hanneman and Caitlin Dyckman published a stark assessment:  "The San Francisco Bay-Delta: A failure of decision-making capacity." A decade later, their game theoretic analysis explains a lot of what happened with the Voluntary Agreement negotiations for the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Update. This is the key bit: A well-known theorem from … Continue reading Game theory explains what happened in the Voluntary Agreement negotiations

Social network weaving for climate adaptation

Interconnected people

Network weaving is a concept from community organizing.  Here's a definition from the Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network: Network weaving is the process of building community and strengthening social capital in a community by bringing together and connecting better the actors in a social network ... A successful network weaving approach uses social network maps to … Continue reading Social network weaving for climate adaptation

The Delta regime shift hypothesis and the Voluntary Agreement framework

In response to the decline of pelagic fish populations in the early 2000s, the Interagency Ecological Program formed an interagency team to find the causes.  The team was called the Pelagic Organism Decline Management, Analysis and Synthesis Team. The interdisciplinary effort funded a suite of 47 studies to evaluate the likely mechanisms for the decline. … Continue reading The Delta regime shift hypothesis and the Voluntary Agreement framework