Great way to close out May.
The California Water Blog's recent post on Water and California's Economy caught my eye. It provided a summary of a new publication (free download), Water and the California Economy, from the Public Policy Institute of California.
I've not read the entire report, I'm not an expert on California water management nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but those shortcomings won't stop me from offering a comment or two.
The report proffers seven recommendations:
- Modernize water measurement, accounting, and pricing with better estimates of water use and prices that reflect water’s economic value.
- Reduce vulnerability to water supply interruptions, particularly for the large parts of the state that rely on water exported through the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, where supplies are susceptible to levee failures and measures to protect endangered species.
- Strengthen water markets by clarifying and streamlining the approval process for the sale and lease of water rights and addressing infrastructure gaps.
- Improve local groundwater management to facilitate groundwater banking and reduce overdraft.
- Reduce exposure to catastrophic flood risk by targeting flood protection dollars and making better land use decisions.
- Improve the effectiveness of environmental management through more integrated, coordinated, and accountable approaches.
- Develop more reliable funding, especially for environmental management, flood protection, and statewide data collection and analysis.
I have no problems with any of the above and am especially glad to see numbers, 1, 4 and 7 there. But with respect to number 4, more oversight needs to be exerted by the State over its groundwater resources. I have no problem with local management groundwater management districts. However, since groundwater is generally not a 'local' resource there needs to be some overarching authority keeping a watchful eye on the local districts to ensure the actions of one district do not adversely impact the others and the overall health of California's water resources.
Perhaps the complete report addresses this issue.
The State of California does not generally have a stellar record when it comes to managing its groundwater resources on a staewide basin.
Oh, the picture? It was taken in the San Joaquin Valley in 1977, and it shows land subsidence of almost 30 feet at this location. The top sign on the pole indicates where the land surface was in 1925, the middle sign 1955. That's USGS hydrologist Joseph Poland providing the scale.
Can California manage its groundwater? I rest my case.
Time to go now.
"When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states." - Will Rogers