Over the last month bloggers have discussed conveyance capacity in the Colorado River Aqueduct, pushback against the State Board’s mandatory conservation order, and as usual, the California Drought—this time focused on managing water supplies in a drought.
Conveyance Capacity in the Colorado River Aqueduct
Thinking About the Availability of Wheeling Capacity on the Colorado River Aqueduct
Rodney T. Smith, Ph.D., Executive Blogger for the Hydrowonk Blog discusses a report produced by his firm evaluating the probability that the Colorado River Aqueduct would have capacity available to convey water for the Cadiz Project.
Pushback Against the State Board’s Mandatory Conservation Order
Water Exporter Riverside Sues State over 28% Cutback
On the Hydrowonk Blog, freelance writer Wayne Lusvardi discusses the lawsuit that the City of Riverside has filed against the State Water Resources Control Board over the mandatory cutback imposed on the city. Lusvardi points out that not only is Riverside water independent, the city has excess supplies that it sells to another district. (For additional coverage of the lawsuit, see “City of Riverside Demands Repeal of Mandatory Conservation Regulation,” JOW June 2015).
Managing Water Supplies in a Drought
Telling farmers what to plant is not the solution
Todd Fitchette, writing in the Farm Press Blog, responds to a columnist who suggested that California “consider regulating crops based on their water needs.” Fitchette argues that farmers are not free to plant whatever they please; they are subject to the forces of free markets.
Bottled Water and the Drought: The Center of Debate over Water Policy in Oregon and California
In a post on the Hydrowonk Blog, Jeff Simonetti discusses the issues behind the controversies over Nestle Water’s bottling operations in Oregon and California, which have led to questions about whether bottled water is the best use of a water resource in a drought and to what extent the bottled water industry be regulated.
Does Recycled Water Infrastructure hold the key to Solving the Drought?
The Hydrowonk Blog’s Jeff Simonetti discusses the benefits – and costs – of looking to alternative supplies like recycled water to meet water supply needs during a drought.
How to manage drought: Ask an economist
California WaterBlog asked five economists what the state should do to prepare for continuing drought conditions. Each provided a different answer.
- Kurt Schwabe, Associate Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at UC Riverside, argues that human behavior and values drive how people are going to respond to a conservation program. So, those factors must be evaluated when developing conservation programs.
- Katrina Jessoe, Associate Professor of Agricultural & Resource Economics at UC Davis, argues for increasing the role of water markets. While recognizing that markets are not going to prevent droughts, she maintains that “they offer a feasible and flexible pathway to lessen their economic costs.”
- Kenneth Baerenklau, Associate Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at UC Riverside, focuses on using tiered pricing, pointing out that there is empirical evidence showing that it is effective—and he highlights that, contrary to what many believe, it is legal. He states, “…the court stated clearly that tiered pricing is not unconstitutional and furthermore makes good sense. Debate remains over the types of costs that can be passed on to customers as higher water prices.”
- Josue Medellin-Azuara, Senior Researcher specializing in hydro-economic modeling at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, says that employing modern methods to measure agricultural water use on a more timely basis is key. Among the methods he highlights are multispectral satellite imagery combined with ground-level weather data and land-use surveys.
- Duncan MacEwan, Managing Partner at ERA Economics in Davis, California, emphasizes the need to monitor and manage groundwater. He discusses the costs of overdrafting groundwater and highlights how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is already working toward conjunctive management.
Written by Marta L. Weismann