A brief history of the water wars — comments to the Delta ISB

On Thursday March 10, 2022, the Delta Independent Science Board received presentations from Brooke Jacobs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the Incidental Take Permit, and from Cathy Marcinkevage of the National Marine Fisheries Service and Kaylee Allen of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on the Biological Opinions on the … Continue reading A brief history of the water wars — comments to the Delta ISB

On the Voluntary Agreements — comments to the Delta ISB

On Thursday March 10, 2022, the Delta Independent Science Board had a presentation by Diane Riddle, Matt Holland, and Erin Foresman of the State Water Resources Control Board on the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. These were my comments: In the interests of fairness and balance, I am going to provide the viewpoint of  environmental … Continue reading On the Voluntary Agreements — comments to the Delta ISB

California Environmental Flows Framework — comments to the Delta ISB

Picture of dry creek

On Thursday March 10, 2022, the Delta Independent Science Board had a presentation by Sarah Yarnell (UC Davis) and Julie Zimmerman (The Nature Conservancy) on the California Environmental Flows Framework, and the opportunities and challenges in  applying environmental flows in California. These were my comments: I really appreciate the comments by [Delta ISB members] Tanya … Continue reading California Environmental Flows Framework — comments to the Delta ISB

We need to step up our game on evaluating drought risk

elevated drought risk impact Feb 20 2022

The Department of Water Resources’ new California Water Watch website is a great new resource, however, the site appears to miss information on the rapidly developing drought. The website displays statewide precipitation for the water year to date. It also displays a map of “Drought Risk Impacts” based on precipitation being less than 70% of … Continue reading We need to step up our game on evaluating drought risk

Dear DWR, in runoff forecasting, stationarity is dead

For decades, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has relied on runoff forecasts from the California Cooperative Snow Surveys (Bulletin 120) for planning State Water Project operations in the late winter and early spring. In 2021, the Bulletin 120 runoff forecasts, which were based on the last 50 years of historic runoff data, were … Continue reading Dear DWR, in runoff forecasting, stationarity is dead

Will State Water Contractors support disclosure of forecast SWP operations?

On January 22, 2022, Dan Bacher published an article, Why is California’s DWR increasing State Water Project allocations in the middle of a drought?  Jennifer Pierre, the General Manager for the State Water Contractors: tweeted the following response to the article: All of the allocated water is already in storage downstream of the Delta. It … Continue reading Will State Water Contractors support disclosure of forecast SWP operations?

In increasing State Water Project allocations, DWR is taking huge risks

The Department of Water Resources has just announced that they are increasing the State Water Project allocations to 15%. Given the huge problems last year with watershed runoff forecasts, DWR is taking a huge risk of not meeting environmental water needs later in the year. In November 2021, nine scientists from leading California water research … Continue reading In increasing State Water Project allocations, DWR is taking huge risks

The high cost of increasing almond yields

The water use of California's huge almond industry is becoming a major issue in groundwater basins throughout the state.  A searing article in the LA Times by Maria L. La Ganga, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee and Ian James states that 2021 is on track to see the most agricultural wells drilled since the last drought ended. … Continue reading The high cost of increasing almond yields

California water whiplash predicted in 2012 study

Tree in wet and dry landscape

Water whiplash  in California was predicted in a 2012 study by Sarah Null and Josh Viers, funded by the California Energy Commission's PIER program. The study shows the importance of independent research. At the time of Null and Viers' CEC study, the Department of Water Resources' climate change simulation methods used Global Circulation Model (GCM) … Continue reading California water whiplash predicted in 2012 study

Tales from the Water Wars — On Facing Fears

Bear Grylls is a British soldier who spent three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces.  He broke his back in three places in a parachuting accident and spent many months in military rehabilitation  He recovered and went on to become one of the youngest climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Bear … Continue reading Tales from the Water Wars — On Facing Fears