“drought” – Philp on weather, water, and yesteryear’s language

Tom Philp had a great piece in Water Deeply last week about the language we use: Water policy becoming a prisoner of its own limited vocabulary, particularly when it comes to the weather. Here is a case that “drought” and “normal” belong in the dustbin of history, for their overuse can lead to the wrong conversation. …

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You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

Last week I noted the disturbing analogy of 1976-77 for the Colorado River Basin, a year eerily similar in the early months of snowpack development to 2017-18. In addition to the major drops in reservoir levels, 1976-77 produced four of the eight best-selling albums of all time: Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell The Eagles: Greatest Hits …

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More on the literary heritage of Santa Ana winds, and fire

Laura Bliss turned to Joan Didion today to help make sense of Santa Anas, and fires, in our beloved Southern California: For all the praise of its “perfect weather,” L.A. is often seen as a city created in defiance of the laws of nature. Before flooded Houston acquired a similar reputation, critics argued that parched, …

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Some thoughts on disaster journalism, fire, Southern California, and resilience

This conversation triggered by Faith Kearns’ comments about memories of Santa Anas got me thinking about an old piece I wrote a while back and never published. I didn’t publish it because the editor I was pitching didn’t want it, but in retrospect I’m glad it never ran. It seemed ill-timed then, and on a …

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stormwater is not wasted water

When we talk about capturing “wasted” water for use – stormwater, sewage treatment plant effluent – it’s important to think about where that water is going now, before we start capturing it. Often, it’s into a river. So capturing it and putting it to use for some human purpose is depriving the river of that …

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When wastewater isn’t being “wasted”, Pasadena edition

Pasadena, California, wants to use treated effluent to water golf courses. This is a water policy no-brainer, right? Well…. “As part of preparations to commence deliveries of recycled water to Pasadena, the city of Glendale petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to seek their approval for a reduction in the amount of treated wastewater …

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California’s private utilities out-conserved its public utilities during the drought

If you had asked me to guess whether public or private utilities did better at water conservation, I would have without hesitation guessed that public utilities did better. So here’s a fascinating result from Manny Teodoro and Youlang Zhang of Texas A&M, looking at data from the recent California drought: [O]n average, communities served by private utilities …

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It takes more than one year to dig out of California’s water hole

California has seen excellent groundwater recovery in the last year, according to a report last week from the California Department of Water Resources: But it’ll take more than a year to dig out of the hole left by the massive groundwater pumping of the last 6 years: From the report: While images of filling reservoirs …

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Westlands California water tunnels “no” could be “fatal blow”

This is a big deal: Citing concerns about costs to individual farmers, Westlands Water District’s board of directors voted 7-1 against participating in the project, known officially as California WaterFix. Westlands is the first major water agency to vote on the project, and other big districts are expected to make their decisions in the coming …

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