Water

Facing Up to Reality

More frequent heat waves. Droughts. Wildfires. The West is getting a glimpse of its future climate.

The western U.S. is staring climate change in the face. Most of the West is experiencing “severe” or “exceptional” drought. We could be heading into the worst drought period in centuries. Major dam reservoirs are down to record low levels. The region is also in the grips of a record-breaking heatwave.  We can expect another …

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Do regulators and utility managers have irreconcilable differences or mutual goals?

By Alida Cantor, Luke Sherman, Anita Milman, and Mike Kiparsky

Do regulators and utility managers have irreconcilable differences or mutual goals?   By Alida Cantor, Luke Sherman, Anita Milman, and Mike Kiparsky. What do climate change, aging infrastructure, and urban population growth have in common? They all pose major challenges – especially for water infrastructure in the United States. And many utilities are having a …

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The Kolbert Report

Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book asks what it means to protect nature in the Anthropocene.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, Under a White Sky, opens with the story of the battle to keep invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.  The problem exists because of two earlier interventions with nature.  A century ago, we reversed the flow of the Chicago river to keep the city’s pollutants out of Lake Michigan …

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The California Supreme Court’s Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

It Was a Relatively Quiet Year for Environmental Law in the California Supreme Court

[This is the third and final installment in a series of posts highlighting the most significant environmental law decisions of 2020.  Earlier this week, I profiled the key 2020 environmental rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This post concludes the series with an examination of …

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How can California make water data work for decision makers?

by Alida Cantor and Michael Kiparsky

California produces immense amounts of water-related data.  Yet, California also struggles to adapt its water systems to pressures such as climate change and population growth. To meet these challenges in an informed way, decision makers need data that supports their needs. In 2018, spurred by the Open and Transparent Water Data Act of 2016 (AB …

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The Draft Democratic Platform and the Environment

The Democrats are promising bold climate action but not committing to details.

The Republicans have decided not to update their 2016 platform, but the Democrats now have a draft of their 2020 platform. The platform essentially calls for aggressively moving beyond Obama’s actions (and eliminating Trump’s).  For those who are in a rush, I’ll start with the takeaways. Key Points Here are some of the most important aspects …

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Hot Spots

Climate change isn’t uniform. Some parts of the U.S. are seeing conditions that won’t hit elsewhere for decades.

Friday’s Washington Post had a fascinating article about climate change hotspots within the United States.  The largest one was on the Western Slope of the Rockies, which has already seen 2 °C of warming.  The story is a reminder that the impacts of climate change will be global and yet also very much local. Before …

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When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Shows rainwater dripping off the edge of a roof

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). As we mentioned in our last post, an important part of developing a successful recharge project …

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Election 2020: Three Months till Election Day

The environmental are high: Trump has axed one regulation every two weeks for four years.

Since taking office, Trump has waffled on some issues and shuffled personnel, but on one thing he has held firm: eradicating legal protection of the environment.  His motto seems to be: No Regulation Left Standing. Something to keep in mind, as we head toward Election Day.  That’s three months away, but some states begin early …

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Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Efforts to boost groundwater recharge are critical to making California’s limited, and increasingly volatile, water resources go further. Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face …

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