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Blog roundup: Prop 1 and groundwater

In this week’s installment, bloggers look back at what made Prop 1 an electoral success and look ahead at its implementation, while others look at California’s groundwater regulation and a new pumping project in San Antonio.


Groundwater Security, for the Long Term
Lauren Adams, writing for the California WaterBlog, argues that climate change will complicate efforts to develop the sustainability plans required by California’s new groundwater regulations by making water supplies more erratic and increasing demand for groundwater extraction.  In order to counter these trends, Adams calls for integrated water management that integrates groundwater, surface water, wastewater, efficiency, and conservation.  This sort of holistic approach will better position the state to handle extended dry periods.


CA Water Bond on Election Eve: Did Political Leadership Push Prop 1 Over the Finish Line?
Dr. Rodney Smith of the Hydrowonk Blog reflects on the California water bond and the factors that led to its success.  Smith’s analysis over the summer, which found an inverse relationship between the state’s debt burden and support for water bonds, predicted the bond would only receive 44% support and would fail.  However, several factors helped turn the tide.  First, the drought was highly salient in this election cycle.  More importantly, though, was political leadership: Governor Brown pushed for a stripped-down bond, which passed with near unanimity in the Legislature.  This consensus, plus the funding for new storage, led to a large coalition supporting the bond, overwhelming the opposition.


The Passage of California Proposition 1 and the Groundwater Management Acts: What is Next for the State of California?
2014 has seen some major changes in California’s water policy, including the groundwater reform legislation and the water bond.  Hydrowonk Blog’s Jeff Simonetti writes that these policies will help build up storage capacity and integrate the water and land use planning processes.  However, while these are useful tools, they cannot prevent droughts from happening or force leaders to utilize the tools effectively.  That is up to citizens and officials.


The California Water Bond is a Beginning, Not an End: Here’s What’s Next
With the water bond approved, Peter Gleick, Kristina Donnelly, and Heather Cooley look at some of the major issues that will define its implementation.  They urge the state to move quickly in giving funds for drinking water to disadvantaged communities, note that impending turnover on the California Water Commission will affect how the contentious surface storage money is allocated, and express optimism that the bond could improve groundwater sustainability.  However, they caution that the bond will not be a short-term fix, and caution against complacency, because there is more work to be done.


Next Steps for San Antonio’s Vista Ridge Project
Tyson Broad of Texas Water Solutions discusses the San Antonio City Council’s recent approval of the Vista Ridge Project, which will import 50,000 acre-feet per year of groundwater to the city.  Broad has several concerns with the plan, including the risk that the new water will run out, leaving the city once again over-reliant on water from the Edwards Aquifer. In addition, some fear that with a new source of water, the San Antonio Water System will no longer feel the need to push for conservation, though both the SAWS president and the city council expressed a commitment to continued efforts.


Written by Stratecon Staff