COVID-19 has destroyed the water industry’s economic model (see COVID-19 Will Change the Water Industry, a Trilogy: The Industry’s Economic Model Is Dead) and provides a natural experiment of the impact of economic activity on the environment requiring an enhanced role for improved science (see COVID-19 Will Change the Water Industry, a Trilogy: Enhanced Role for Improved Science). What does all this mean for planning and decision-making?
Look at the skies. Are you enjoying the best air quality of your life? Hydrowonk is.
COVID-19 is a natural experiment of the impact of economic activity on the environment. Will the water industry take advantage of this generational opportunity? If so, how?
It is time to abandon how science is used in the water industry today and embrace science using 21st century technology. By integrating improved science into regulatory structures, our industry can improve the management of water resources and the environment.
“The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. California isn’t doing anything about it,” states a Los Angeles Times Editorial. The announcement of California’s 10-Year Plan was made with great fanfare in 2017. Two years later, one-fifth into the 10-year plan, planned projects have not started. Nothing has happened. The environmental and public health tab from continued inaction compounds.
The long-term, sustained decline of the Salton Sea is a conundrum. Under the terms of the historic long-term water conservation and transfer agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority, the impact of the transfer through 2017 was fully mitigated. As I reported in my earlier blog post, no one in the Salton Sea crowd has an explanation for the precipitous decline in the elevation of the Salton Sea.
Looking at the current reservoir conditions from the California Data Exchange Center, it is clear to see that the conditions in California are much different than from a year ago. Nine of the state’s major reservoirs that serve both the Central Valley and State Water Projects have over 100% of their historic averages for this date. The state’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville are at 96% and 84% full respectively. The San Francisco Chronicle published a series of before and after photos of reservoirs in the state to show the stunning change in hydrologic conditions in just one year. For example, in August 2016, the San Luis Reservoir outside of Los Banos was at 10% of capacity. Fast forward to today, and the reservoir is completely full. The much-improved hydrologic conditions prompted Governor Jerry Brown on April 7th to issue an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Kings, Tulare, Fresno and Tuolumne. The drought emergency he rescinded had been in place since April 25, 2014. Continue reading