Author Archives: Rodney T. Smith

About Rodney T. Smith

Rodney T. Smith, Ph.D., President of Stratecon Inc.—an economics and strategic planning consulting firm—advises public and private sector water users on the acquisition, sale and leasing of water rights and water supplies in the western U.S. He is routinely involved in economic valuation of water rights, water investments, and negotiation of water acquisition and transportation agreements and has served as an expert witness in the economic valuation of groundwater resources, disputes over the economic interpretation of water contracts, economics of water conservation and water use practices, and the socio-economic impacts of land fallowing. For more information, see

Appellate Court Wheeling Decision Puts More Pressure on Northern California Water Supplies

Last June, the Court of Appeal of the First Appellate District issued an opinion addressing the long-standing dispute between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority regarding lawful wheeling rates for water conveyed to San Diego through Metropolitan’s Colorado River Aqueduct and local distribution system. Reversing a superior court decision, the Appellate Court held that Metropolitan’s inclusion of State Water Project costs in its calculation of wheeling rates was lawful. Putting aside legal debate, Hydrowonk focuses on the economic consequences of the decision.

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What is California’s Tab for 1,2,3-TCP Groundwater Contamination?

On July 18, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a drinking water standard for the regulation of the contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP).  The Division of Drinking Water set the standard for TCP at 5 parts per trillion (ppt) as a maximum contaminant level.  If public water systems exceed the standard, they will be required to notify their customers and take corrective action.  Based on recent actions taken by the City of Bakersfield to correct their TCP problems, the total tab for California’s public water systems will exceed $4 billion.

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Why Is the Salton Sea Over There?

Hydrowonk gratefully received an invitation to attend the Salton Sea Tour sponsored by the Water Education Foundation on March 16th, the day the Natural Resources Agency released a 10-Year Plan for habitat and dust suppression projects in the Salton Sea.  The tour was hosted by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, State Senator Ben Hueso and Resources Secretary John Laird.  After assembling at the Imperial County Airport, the entourage went to two venues.

Why Field Visits are Always a Good Idea

The first stop was the Red Hill Marina.  Presentations included the observation that, in 2004, the Salton Sea shoreline was where tents were installed for a brown bag lunch.  I looked west to find the Salton Sea shoreline miles away.  I was stunned at the decline in the Salton Sea elevation with the attendant increase in the amount of exposed playa laced with residues of toxic/unhealthful chemicals and organics.

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Eminent Domain and the BDCP

Rick’s Café Californian


California’s water world is abuzz with the revelation that the BDCP involves acquisition of land parcels for the project’s diversion facilities and 30-mile twin tunnels, either by acquisition or by Eminent Domain.   As Rick Blaine (aka Humphrey Bogart) stated in Casablanca, “I’m shocked.  Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Continue reading