Category Archives: Storage

What Will California do if the Initial State Water Project Allocation does not Increase Substantially?

In a move that seemed to surprise many interested parties, the California State Department of Water Resources (DWR) decided on an initial allocation of 5% of maximum deliveries to the 29 water contractors using the State Water Project. The initial allocation, while not unprecedented (the lowest initial allocation, also at 5% came in 2010 after the three year drought between 2007 and 2009) has raised concerns about long-term water supplies, storage, and a host of other issues. While DWR will likely raise the final allocation above 5%, California still faces tough challenges in managing drought conditions and economic growth in the long term. In this piece, I would like to address some of the reactions to the initial allocation and how California can plan for prolonged drought in the future. Continue reading

Do the Benefits of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Exceed Costs?

Call me skeptical.  Ok, I say no.

The heralded conclusion that the BDCP generates net benefits of $5 billion for state and federal water contractors is not convincing.  DWR understates costs.  The benefits are summary statements about the findings of two economic models that are “black boxes”.  Most importantly, the materials are silent on a simple but critical matter—did the calculation of present value of benefits take into account the decade delay between the necessary commitments to finance construction and the start of water deliveries. Continue reading

State Legislator Calls for Texan Interstate Comity and A New Policy Direction

State Representative Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) recently called for a new bold plan to solve the Lone Star state’s outsized water challenges in a guest column in the Waco Tribune Herald.  He proposed “an open dialogue with our neighboring states and investing in new technology to bolster our state’s water supply, rather than relying on the same approaches that have failed to provide us a water supply for future generations.”  He finds Texas’s future can be found outside courtrooms and in conjunctive groundwater-surface water projects based on interstate cooperation. Continue reading

On Markets and Water Security

Resource risk management is an important element of Water Security.  The changing hydrologic risk on the Colorado River provides a context to address how risk is currently allocated, how it may be reallocated, how we may reduce risk, and how we quantify risk and measure improvements in Water Security.  Continue reading