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Dam Removal in the American West

The great cities of the American southwest would not exist if it weren’t for dams. Without the massive federal and state projects to build dams, pumping stations, and aqueducts (most of them completed 50 to 100 years ago), more than 60 million Americans would be living somewhere else. Without dams to capture and store millions of acre-feet of rainfall every year, and aqueducts to transport that water to thirsty metropolitan customers, the land these cities sit upon would be uninhabitable desert.

Such is the conundrum facing environmentalists that want to set these rivers free. Without dams, crops wither and people die of thirst. Without dams, devastating floods would tear through towns and cities every time there’s a big storm. Without hydroelectric power from dams, 18 percent of the in-state generated electricity Californians consume would be gone. You can’t just rip them all out. You would destroy a civilization.

But because of dams, fish habitat is lost, and aquatic species can become endangered or go extinct. Because of dams, precious sediment is prevented from running downstream to nurture estuaries and restore beaches. Because of dams, the natural cycle of rivers is disrupted: the cleansing pulse of spring that calls the migratory salmon to come back from the ocean, the dry trickles of summer when these anadromous species fight their way upstream to the cool and perennial headwaters to spawn, the next season’s rains that return newborn fingerlings to […] Read More

Solving Water Scarcity in California

AUDIO: A discussion about water scarcity in California, what policy solutions could create water abundance, and the forces for and against achieving that goal. Edward Ring with Darcy Villere on The We Grow California podcast.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1998676/10965848-doing-more-with-nothing-featuring-edward-ring

Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

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edwardring.com

Latest Attack on Proposed Sites Reservoir – Not Enough Water

When it comes to attacking anything that will make so much as a scratch in the earth, California’s environmentalists never run out of arguments, and their litigators never run out of money.

So it goes with the proposed Sites Reservoir, which is enduring a withering new bombardment from environmentalists in the wake of Governor Newsom’s recently announced Water Supply Strategy in which the governor endorsed the Sites Project and even had the temerity to suggest environmentalist obstruction is stopping as many good projects as bad ones.

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week, and dutifully highlighted in Maven’s Notebook, “California’s largest reservoir in nearly 50 years may be derailed by water shortages.” Apparently there isn’t enough water flowing down the Sacramento River to fill the 1.5 million acre foot reservoir. But that entirely depends on who you ask.

Shown below, courtesy of the US Dept. of Geological Survey, is flow data for the Sacramento River, upstream at Colusa, which is near to where the planned diversions into the Sites Reservoir will be made. The data is expressed in “CFS,” which stands for cubic feet per second.

What is immediately evident from this chart is how it vividly depicts the volume of surplus water that hit Northern California even during what has been described as the driest winter in decades. If during the on-and-off wet months from October 1 to April 30 just 20 percent of the Sacramento River’s flow had been diverted […] Read More

Questions About Water for Governor Newsom

Borrowing a page from the More Water Now campaign, which unsuccessfully attempted earlier this year to qualify a water funding initiative for the November 2022 ballot, Governor Newsom announced a new water supply strategy on August 11.

Perhaps with the presidency in mind, or perhaps because he really means it, Newsom’s remarks were surprisingly accommodating towards those of us who have been fighting for more water supply infrastructure.

For example, Newsom said “We have a renewed sense of urgency to address this issue head on, but we do so from a multiplicity of perspectives and ways. Not just from a scarcity mindset – so much of the water conversation in this state has been about conservation – but that is a relatively small component of the overall strategy we are introducing here today. What we are focusing on is creating more water, moving away from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance.”

This shift in emphasis, if it is genuine, cannot come a moment too soon. Over the past decade, total water diversions for cities, farms, and to maintain ecosystems totaled 75 million acre feet per year. Every primary source for all this water is imperiled.

California’s reservoirs, most of which are in-stream, cannot be used to store water from early season storms, such as the deluge that fell in December 2021. If early season storms are allowed to fill these reservoirs, should a late-season storm hit the state, there would be no reservoir capacity left to […] Read More

Newsom Promotes “Water Abundance”

Standing on the site of a new desalination facility in Antioch, Governor Newsom announced a new water supply strategy on August 11. In his remarks he introduced a disruptive and encouraging theme, one that injects long overdue and much needed balance into the discussion over how to address California’s water crisis.

“We can’t just talk about conservation,” he said, “that is a scarcity mindset. Conservation is a relatively small component of our strategy today. Now we are focusing on creating more water.”

It would be premature to be cynical about the governor’s remarks. Sooner or later, California’s ruling elite will have to face an inescapable truth: during multi-year droughts, conservation alone cannot possibly balance supply and demand for water. The shortfall, or the required sacrifices, is simply too big.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, over the past decade, total water diversions for cities, farms, and to maintain ecosystems totaled 75 million acre feet (MAF) per year. Every major source for all this water is imperiled.

To begin with, groundwater pumping, averaging 18.7 million acre-feet per year, has withdrawn water faster than it can be replenished with percolating runoff. This has caused wells to dry up, led to ground subsidence, and in some cases, is causing underground aquifers to collapse and degrade to the point where they no longer can be refilled. To restore aquifers as a sustainable source of water storage and supply, not only will annual withdrawals need to drop well below 18.7 million […] Read More

Desalination on the Sea of Cortez

Proponents of desalination tout its potential to quench the thirst of a water-deprived civilization. The logic is compelling. If fresh water is in short supply, why not remove the salt from the vast oceans? With an estimated volume of 1.1 million billion acre feet (an acre foot is the amount of water volume that would cover one acre, one foot deep) of seawater, there will always be enough ocean.

For all its potential, desalination has yet to be a game changer. Worldwide freshwater consumption is estimated at 7.5 billion acre feet per year. Of that total, roughly 20,000 desalination plants worldwide produce an estimated 30 million acre feet of fresh water per year. That’s an awful lot of water, but it’s less than 1 percent of global water consumption.

Nonetheless, desalination plays an outsized role in arid coastal regions around the world. In Israel, for example, five massive desalination plants on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea produce nearly a half-million acre feet of fresh water per year, an amount the nation plans to double by 2030. Israel’s Sorek Desalination Plant, located a few miles south of Tel Aviv, produces 185,000 acre feet of fresh water per year, from a highly automated operation that occupies only about 25 acres. Approximately 80 percent of Israel’s municipal water comes from desalination, and this nation of 9 million people […] Read More

Solutions to California’s Water Crisis

AUDIO: In the face of unprecedented cuts to available water, California cannot possibly conserve its way out of water scarcity. Fortunately there are a variety of solutions that would create water abundance, if the special interests that profit from scarcity can be exposed and overcome. Edward Ring with host Will Swaim on the National Review’s Radio Free California.

The 25 minute segment on water begins 1:24:00 into the podcast.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/special-episode-solutions-to-three-california-crises-235/id1272856118?i=1000574739251

Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

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edwardring.com

California’s Water Mismanagement

As Californians cope with another blistering summer during what is their third consecutive year of drought, the state legislature has still done nothing of substance to upgrade California’s water supply infrastructure. From the Klamath Basin on the Oregon border to the Imperial Valley on the Mexican border, farmers can’t irrigate their crops, and in every major city, residents are having their access to water rationed.

Not only is California’s state legislature and various state and federal agencies failing to invest in new water infrastructure, but they are actively undermining attempts to deliver more water to the state’s residents. In May, the California Coastal Commission denied a permit to Poseidon Water to build a desalination plant that would have produced 60,000 acre feet of water per year.

If desalination is the irredeemable problem child of water infrastructure according to environmentalists, surface reservoirs are its evil cousin. Hence the proposed Sites Reservoir, which would provide another 1.5 million acre feet of badly needed storage capacity, still faces what may be insurmountable odds: the requirement to allocate half of its yield to ecosystems means the remaining water the Sites Project Authority will be permitted to sell to cites and farmers may not be sufficient to qualify the project for construction loan guarantees.

The environmentalist assault on California’s water enabled civilization, unchallenged by the state legislature, is full spectrum. On the Klamath River, with an urgency that is entirely missing with respect to constructing the Sites Reservoir, or any other reservoirs, plans to remove […] Read More

Information for Californians That Want More Water

AUDIO: As the entire American West continues to dry up, California’s state legislature continues to behave as though water rationing is the only acceptable solution. Here is a discussion of a new book that describes how the initiative process can bypass the state legislature, the impediments to getting such an initiative before voters, and what provisions such an initiative would offer in order to create a future of water abundance instead of scarcity. Edward Ring with Bryan Miller on Nation State of Play.

https://omny.fm/shows/nation-state-of-play/ep-233-edward-ring-the-abundance-choice

Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

Help support more content like this. Click here.

edwardring.com

How to Solve California’s Water Crisis

AUDIO: A discussion of how California’s policymakers refuse to approve and fund water supply infrastructure, instead falsely believing that conservation alone can solve California’s water crisis – 14 minutes on KOGO San Diego – Edward Ring on the Carl DeMaio Show.

https://civicfinance.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/2022-07-01-Edward-Ring-on-Carl-DeMaio-Show-14-minutes-KOGO-San-Diego.mp3 Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

Help support more content like this. Click here.

edwardring.com