Category Archives: Water Security

Is BDCP a Doable Deal Redux—Part 2

After reading the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission’s study (“CDAIC Study”) on Bay Delta Conservation Plan (“BDCP”) financing considerations and risk, State Water Project (“SWP”) contractors and (especially) Central Valley Project (“CVP”) contractors should take a fresh look at the financial realities of relying on the BDCP. Unlike the study’s discussion of BDCP affordability,  which was marred by economic flaws, the study offers a useful discussion of financing and risk that water agency board members should consider as part of their fiduciary duty in making BDCP decisions.

The study makes a good first step in scratching the surface of risk assessment of the BDCP. Prudence requires more risk assessment. Continue reading

Climate Change: A New Energy-Water Nexus for Emission Trading

California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon added a new twist (climate change) to the increasingly popular topic of the “energy-water nexus.” Speaking at the 30th Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Southern California Water Committee, “as we live through the current severe and extreme drought, which is now approaching a 4th straight year of drought conditions, the realities of limited water supplies are hitting home.”  Introducing climate change into the policy discussion, Senator de Leon will move water agencies into a new era of carbon emission control.  Will participation in California’s cap-and-trade emission market become a new tool for water managers? Continue reading

Listen to the Tree Rings on Sacramento River Hydrology

With a third and extreme year of drought, how will future hydrologic conditions compare to current ones? There are two strands of thought suggesting a challenging future:

  • the 20th Century was an unusually wet period
  • climate change will confront water managers with more severe drought conditions in the future

For the Sacramento River watershed in California, there is unexpected good news. While California must confront variability in hydrologic conditions, Department of Water Resources’ recently released tree-ring data suggesting that current severe drought conditions do not signal that California will be facing more severe hydrologic conditions in the future. Continue reading

Rethinking California Part III: Back to the Drawing Boards on Water Supply Availability?

What happens when the impossible happens?  Does prudence dictate that one revisit expectations?  The existing drought in California has understandably distracted the water industry.  With multi-billion infrastructure investments on the horizon and the foundation of the California economy hanging in the balance, responsible decision-making must reconsider analyses of California’s water supply availability. Continue reading