The great water decoupling, San Diego edition

Ry Rivard in Voice of San Diego: As San Diego benefits from its new supplies of water, its customers are cutting their water use. That means San Diego now has more water than it needs. This is what I’m talking about Friday at the Law of the Colorado River conference. It’s the core of the …

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A further note on California alfalfa exports: California is a net importer of virtual water

While we were blathering on mindlessly in a comment thread about the water exported form California via alfalfa exports, Peter Gleick helpfully jumped in with come actual data: California’s total water footprint is an estimated 64 million acre-feet of water. That’s more than double the amount of water that flows down both of the state’s …

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Has the Peripheral Delta Tunnel Canal Thingie paralyzed California water?

OtPR has a super insightful observation about three decades of California water policy: The Peripheral Canal was voted down in 1982.  My sense is that the possibility of the Peripheral Canal has largely paralyzed California water policy since then (with the possible exception of IRWM).  If the Peripheral Canal had been entirely off the table, the regions …

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More California state money for the Salton Sea

California Gov. Jerry Brown has requested $80 in his new budget for dust mitigation and habitat restoration at the Salton Sea, Jesse Marx and Sammy Roth report: That’s less than the $150 million local officials wanted, but still far more than the state has ever allocated for restoration projects at the dying lake. The money …

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Low-flush at the Home Depot: bending the water use curve down

Every toilet currently in stock at my local Home Depot has the EPA WaterSense label, even the cheapest ones, meaning they uses 1.28 gallons per flush or less. This is a big part of why we see water use – on a per capita basis, but also in some cases on an absolute basis – …

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The importance of local knowledge in groundwater management

UC Davis’s Thomas Harter makes an important point in a recent Public Policy Institute of California blog post about California’s evolving effort to manage its groundwater: The state’s new groundwater law requires locals to form groundwater sustainability agencies and develop sustainability plans, and it will be important for farmers and rural communities to actively engage …

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California wetting up, Colorado Basin will have to wait

My California water friends are breathing a tiny bit easier, as an El Niño-fueled jet stream queues up a series of storms for the parched state. But the latest forecast models suggest the Colorado River Basin is going to have to wait its turn. The invaluable Daniel Swain wrote a couple of days ago about …

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2015 puts Sierra Nevada-Colorado Basin linkage in stark relief

If you care about Colorado River Basin water, it behooves you to pay attention to the snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada. It’s an entirely different watershed, but 2015 demonstrated how the interconnections in California’s plumbing have left the two inextricably linked. The tl;dr version of two interrelated points below: California’s drought has put pressure on the Colorado …

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Sierra Madre, CA, introduces Colorado River water, winds up with “the Tucson problem”

Water is just water, right? What happened when Sierra Madre, a suburb northeast of Los Angeles, switched from local groundwater to imported Colorado River water is a reminder that, well, no: In 2013, Sierra Madre was forced to begin importing water from the Metropolitan Water District. That led to a new problem. The water source …

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