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 …

Continue reading ‘When wastewater isn’t being “wasted”, Pasadena edition’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘California’s private utilities out-conserved its public utilities during the drought’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘It takes more than one year to dig out of California’s water hole’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Westlands California water tunnels “no” could be “fatal blow”’ »

disaggregating agriculture

One of the great insights from my University of New Mexico colleague Bob Berrens, chair of the economics department and my predecessor as director of UNM’s Water Resources Program, is the importance of disaggregating agriculture. Much water policy discussion, rightly, revolves around the agriculture-municipal distinction. With ag getting (and needing) a much larger share of …

Continue reading ‘disaggregating agriculture’ »

Palo Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan Water District over Colorado River water

One of California’s largest Colorado River farm water districts is suing the state’s largest municipal water agency, charging that efforts to move farm water to cities are threatening the viability of agriculture in one of the oldest farming valleys on the river. The Palo Verde Irrigation District, in a suit filed last month in Riverside …

Continue reading ‘Palo Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan Water District over Colorado River water’ »

governance, adaptation, and climate change

Much of the “cultural cognition” problem around our climate politics and discourse derives from the politics of “mitigation” – the fact that the tools needed to reduce greenhouse gases are politically (culturally?) abhorrent to some, who in response dismiss the underlying science of climate change. This has the effect of foreclosing the second crucial climate …

Continue reading ‘governance, adaptation, and climate change’ »

Salton Sea fish, birds, in jeopardy even with more mitigation water

One suggested short term tool to deal with the shrinking Salton Sea is to continue putting in more water. New research suggests that, for fish and birds, it won’t help. “Mitigation water” is jargon for extra water currently diverted to the Salton Sea to make up for reduced agricultural runoff as efficiency improvements. (It’s hairy …

Continue reading ‘Salton Sea fish, birds, in jeopardy even with more mitigation water’ »

Desalination and water’s scale issue

A sometimes poorly understood piece of the water story is the question of scale – the truly enormous quantities of water required to do human stuff like be a city or grow our food. This is the shortcoming of well-meaning suggestions like building a pipeline to the Missouri River or a string of desalination plants …

Continue reading ‘Desalination and water’s scale issue’ »