All things freshwater: news, analysis, humor, reviews, and commentary from Michael E. 'Aquadoc' Campana, hydrogeologist, hydrophilanthropist, Professor of Hydrogeology and Water Resources Management in the Geography Program of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) at Oregon State University, Emeritus Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of New Mexico, Past President of the American Water Resources Association and Past Chair of the Scientists & Engineers Division of the National Ground Water Association. He is founder and president of the nonprofit Ann Campana Judge Foundation, an organization involved with WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Central America. CYA statement: the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Michael E. Campana and not those of CEOAS, Oregon State University, ACJF, AWRA, NGWA, my spouse Mary Frances, or any other person or organization.
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
'It's like déjà vu all over again.' That's what the renowned English scholar Yogi Berra might say had he read the following story in the 6 October 2014 edition of the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger:
Is Memphis Stealing Water from Mississippi?
Mississippi officials are renewing allegations that Memphis is stealing water from the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused in 2010 to consider a similar claim.
The (Memphis) Commercial Appealreports that Mississippi is seeking at least $615 million in damages. That's less than half the previous claim of $1.3 billion.
Mississippi alleges that Memphis' wells have created "cones of depression" in the water table that suck water from Mississippi into Tennessee. It estimates that Memphis has "forcibly" taken 252 billion gallons of water since 1985.
Memphis, its city-owned utility system and the state of Tennessee filed responses last month. They say Mississippi's claims contradict science and legal precedent. They also say the aquifer is an interstate resource to which no state can claim ownership without formal apportionment.
The aforementioned story was taken from the one written by Tom Charlier, the Commercial-Appeal reporter who's been covering this story from the beginning. It was he who called me a number of years ago and told me of this story. He wanted some professional input since many of the local hydrogeologists were reluctant to comment. My interest was whetted. Why? It was a:
1) Transboundary groundwater dispute between two US states;
2) Water quantity fight, something more akin to the Western US (apologies to the ACF Basin);
3) Dispute involving groundwater occurring in an area with plenty of surface water (c. 50 inches of annual precipitation, bordering one of the largest rivers in the world);
4) Situation I expect to see more of in the future (fighting over groundwater); and
5) Remarkable opportunity to be proactive by devising a compact (first groundwater-only compact in the US!) and establishing an interstate regional commission to govern, manage, and protect an exceptional groundwater resource.
In fairness, the three riparians (Arkansas is the third party) were in talks to allocate water in the Memphis Sand aquifer, but then Mississippi withdrew and decided to sue. Disputes between US states involving groundwater have occurred but have revolved around groundwater - surface water interactions, such as 'stealing' streamflow.
By the way, my water lawyer friends tell me that the lack of a Supreme Court decision was disappointing, as many (in the USA and elsewhere) were awaiting a landmark ruling on groundwater.
In a nutshell: the water from the Memphis Sand aquifer (the water surce in question) had never been allocated among the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas so how could Mississippi claim that its groundwater had been stolen by Memphis? And how did they come up with the value of the water lost?
In an intereesting development, University of Memphis faculty members Brian Waldron and Daniel Larsen, claimed that the situation could be reversed - that pumping in Mississippi could have reduced the flow of groundwater into Tennessee. Here is Tom Charlier's story about their work.
I met Brian last November at the AWRA Annual meeting in Portland and he told me that their paper was to be published soon in JAWRA. Well, it's here!
Reliance on groundwater resources by differing governing bodies can create transboundary disputes raising questions of ownership and apportionment as the resource becomes strained through overuse or threatened by contamination. Transboundary disputes exist at varying scales, from conflicts between countries to smaller disputes between intrastate jurisdictions. In 2005 within the United States, the State of Mississippi filed a lawsuit against its political neighbor and their utility, the City of Memphis and Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, for groundwater deemed owned by the State of Mississippi to be wrongfully diverted across the state line and into Tennessee by the defendants. The basis of the lawsuit was potentiometric maps of groundwater levels for the Memphis aquifer that showed under suggested pre-development conditions no flow occurring across the Mississippi-Tennessee state line, but subsequent historic potentiometric maps show a cone of depression under the City of Memphis with a clear northwesterly gradient from Mississippi into Tennessee. The suggested pre-development conditions were derived from limited groundwater level observations between 41 and 74 years post-development. A new pre-development map is constructed using historic records that range 0-17 years post-development that shows the natural flow is northwesterly from Mississippi into Tennessee and transboundary groundwater quantities have actually decreased since pre-development conditions.
Below are maps that Waldron provided me a few years ago. The first one shows pre-development conditions and the second shows 2007 (development) conditions. Flow to the northwest from Misssissippi into the Memphis area and Tennessee occurred prior to development.
The flow into the Memphis area and Tennessee appears to have been reduced by the development.
Waldron and Larsen concluded that the flow in the Memphis area had been reduced by about 40,000 cubic meters per day or 12,000 acre-feet per year. See the paper for more information.
Maybe we will get that desired Supreme Court decision, and/or see something along the lines of (5) above.
Perhaps it's time to call Tom Charlier.
"It's like déjà vu all over again." - attributed to Yogi Berra
Here is more timely geoscience and environmental science news articles and some educational displacement behavior from Elaine and Spot.
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26) SUNY-ESF (Syracuse, NY) - Part-time (up to 80% FTE for 12 months) Research Scientist to study linkages and sensitivity of the water-energy-economy nexus to extreme weather patterns and demographic changes in the Great Lakes region. Available immediately. Download SUNY_ESF_Research_Scientist
27) South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (Rapid City) - T-T Asst/Assoc/Full Professor - Groundwater. OUF; App review: 14 January 2015
1) Groundwater Rulemaking in the Upper Klamath Basin
Groundwater rulemaking in the Upper Klamath Basin? Don't they already have rules? Read on (from the media release):
The Oregon Water Resources Department announced today that the Department will begin the process for developing rules regarding the regulation of groundwater users to benefit senior water right holders. Although the Department already has rules that govern the regulation of groundwater and surface water, the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement calls for the development of groundwater rules for the Upper Klamath Basin within the Sprague, Williamson, and Wood river drainages, consistent with the agreement.
"The Department understands that groundwater is important to the livelihoods of many users in the basin and that residents are concerned about the regulation of wells," said Racquel Rancier, a Department spokesperson. "We think it is important for the public to understand the process and understand how they can be involved. Therefore, we are encouraging individuals interested in the rulemaking to sign up to receive email updates and to attend open houses to interact with Department staff."
As noted in the media release, the Advisory Committee will meet on 22 October from 1 - 4 PM in the Mt. Mazama Room on the OITcampus in Klamath Falls. An open house will be held on the same date, 6-8 PM, Sunset Room, OIT campus.
2) Seasonally Varying Flows (SVF) Task Force Meeting - 15 October 2014
From the public notice:
The Seasonally Varying Flows Task Force, established by Senate Bill 839 (2013), will hold its fifth meeting from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Water Resources Department on Wednesday, October 15. The meeting is open to the public.
The meeting will include presentations and continued discussions on Seasonally Varying Flow (SVF) methodologies proposed in the Science Subgroup report, as well as other potential options for determining SVFs (see more information about the subgroups on our webpage).
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.