Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Climate Readiness Institute launch at UC Berkeley today

I am tweeting as @stripeygirlcat at the launch of the Climate Readiness Institute at the Brower Center at UC Berkeley today-- follow me! (I only use that account for climate change-related posts, no live-tweeting the Oscars will ever occur there.)

There is quite a brain trust here today. Inspiring.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It was Peaceful on Zero Allocation Day - California Water Law Symposium Report-Back

I've been in and out of one climate change-related stakeholder meeting, conference, workshop, symposium, training or another since mid-January, it seems-- I haven't had time to catch my breath and update this blog. There's been much afoot, with the new iteration of the California Climate Adaptation Strategy out in draft format for comment,and the official onset of drought in California Jan. 17, and the related gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes. Not to make light of it, but the fact that California has a water problem is not very new news. We haven't had serious precip here since December 2012. In fact, one scientist says it may be the driest water year in 500 years (per a Jan. 21 article based on an interview with paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram at UC Berkeley).

Yesterday was a highlight of the recent onslaught of climate change-related gatherings-- the California Water Law Symposium

Some notes:

ZERO ALLOCATION DAY, a Friday, was a quiet day. Fish and farms have nothing to fight over. Finally these interests have something (no water) in common.

John Leshy: Looking back, California used to have 150 yr-long droughts; it was settled in an unusually wet period; all our distribution systems were designed for a larger volume of water than we can expect in the future.

Forrest Melton: NASA Ames is using satellites (2 landsats, 2 MODIS) and ground data (CIMIS -- the California Irrigation Management Information System) to calculate how much to irrigate given evapotranspiration-- super efficient use of water!

Jay Lund: Everyone thinks the solution to drought is to build reservoirs. But it's not Field of Dreams-- build a basin and it will fill with water-- we are losing snowmelt as a source, we shouldn't invest in new infrastructure that is dependent on historical conditions. Repurpose old, smaller reservoirs? Manage groundwater better!

Cliff Lee: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is potentially going to be rendered irrelevant by climate change (which will make many historic salmon streams too shallow/warm for spawning--> some populations are doomed, ESA can't save them) 

Lester Snow: GROUNDWATER GROUNDWATER GROUNDWATER; innovation; diversification; learn to manage resources as well as we manage crises (reacting to symptoms, not problem); need to reach out to find new leadership among Latinos, Millennials-- demographic shift is salient to water planning

Desalination-- Carlsbad Project-- desal is either a totally reasonable, do-able thing or the devil's work, bound to poison the ocean at brine discharge site and tie ratepayers to high-priced, energy-intensive water

Fresh water flow into the San Francisco Bay Delta is either critical to estuary health or not, apparently evidence is disputed; a good source on the Delta is Aquafornia

That's all, pray for rain