TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 26 November – 2 December 2016

December 2, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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turckeeThis recent photo, Tweeted by the Truckee Tavern,  brings back fond memories of Truckee, California, a former Sierra Nevada logging town on Interstate 80 about 30 miles (50 km) southwest of Reno and 100 miles (160 km) northeast of Sacramento.

I lived there throughout most of the 1980s when I worked at the Desert Research Institute in Reno. We’d get about 200 inches (~500 cm) in an average year. There were many days when Truckee had the lowest temperatures in the Lower 48. I recall one overnight low of -29 F (-34 C).

Speaking of snow and cold weather I head to Stockholm in a few Gwp_logo_anniversarydays for the semi-annual meeting of the Global Water Partnership’sSteering Committee, on which I serve. We have been warned to bundle up. And bring a flashlight or headlamp.

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“Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.” – Alan Turing


December 2, 2016 | Posted by Susan Scalia
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Mittelstet and Storm developed a method to identify and quantify legacy phosphorus at the watershed scale using a mass-balance approach and uncertainty analysis.

Hathaway et al. examined the influence of changes in streamflow from diversions on potential responses of groundwater-dependent riparian vegetation.

Safeeq and Hunsaker quantified hydrologic characteristics of southern Sierra Nevada headwater watersheds across a range of climatic conditions.

Coats et al. used a range of statistical procedures to estimate temporal and spatial trends in nutrient and sediment loading to Lake Tahoe.

Burnham et al. used interview data to assess major challenges climatic and social changes pose to Utah’s water future and to evaluate potential solutions.

Bieger et al. improved equations relating bankfull widths, depths, and cross-sectional areas to drainage areas in streams across the United States.

VanderMuelen et al. characterized nutrient status of lakes in Upper Midwest national parks and used paleolimnological techniques to compare modern nutrient conditions to pre-1900 conditions.

Sharp et al. employed a groundwater reactive transport model to identify potential management practices to remediate Se contamination in southeastern Colorado and assessed the economic and institutional constraints of these practices.

Kea et al. identified trends and patterns in the establishment, funding mechanism, and magnitude of stormwater utilities (SWUs) by analyzing location, population density, home value, and year of establishment for a comprehensive national SWU database.

Boutwell and Westra explored relationships among coastal populations, wetlands, hurricane-tropical storm intensity, and economic damage using factor analysis.

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 19 – 25 November 2016

November 25, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Lots of rain lately here in the mid-Willamette Valley. Today (12 noon) we’re actually seeing  a bit of sunshine.

Kathie Dello, Associate Director of  the Oregon Climate Change Research Institutesent around this screen shot of the Marys River hydrograph, near Philomath, OR, just shy of the 2012 record flood stage.


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Unknown Australian First Nation member via 

stuartStuart Hamilton is Senior Hydrologist at Aquatic Informatics, Inc. He is active in the North American Stream Hydrographers (NASH) organization.

The opinions expressed herein are his and his alone. I chose the title of the post and made minor edits.

Here is a PDF of the post: hamitlon_blog_awra_22nov2016


The sessions and presentations at the AWRA conference in Orlando, Florida, reinforced many observations I have been making about the water sector. Long gone are the days when the conference was dominated by the stereotypical engineer with pocket protectors and a slide rule. A session on ‘women in water’ was a very well-attended celebration of the increasing diversity of the water sector. There are no sessions on nuances of flood frequency analysis or the shear stress of rip rap. There is obviously still a need for water data for conventional engineering purposes but this need has been overwhelmed by a new reality Water management has become increasingly intricate and complex and we can’t assume that we can build our way out of our water problems.

What we can do is use our data, information, knowledge and experience to build effective communities for proactive water stewardship and collaborative management. Water is a fluid common denominator connecting all interests at a watershed scale. Long-term collaborative water-focused communities are needed to drive decisions at time- and space-scales that will ensure water security and sustainability at a watershed scale.

Improving water resilience was either an explicit or implicit theme of many sessions. There is an enormous capital debt in water infrastructure that has accumulated and needs to be paid. A non-discretionary investment is needed not only because of inevitable end-of-life of aging infrastructure but also because the hydro-climatic regime these systems were designed for doesn’t exist anymore. If aging systems don’t fail by chronic decay, they will fail by being overwhelmed by unprecedented event magnitude, duration, extent and frequency.

This massive investment is a once in a hundred years opportunity to examine the relative benefits of grey versus green infrastructure. Increasing the proportion of green infrastructure in the re-build could substantially reduce the total cost of ownership of our water assets. However, there is a lot of work left to be done to prove the efficiency, effectiveness, and savings of green infrastructure investment to ensure that the right decisions are made.

The big take-away from this conference, for me, is that the need for ‘good’ water monitoring data is greater than it ever has been. It isn’t that the traditional uses of data have disappeared it is that there are now an overwhelming number of new uses of water information. The capabilities of the data consumers have been increasing at a pace that, arguably, exceeds the change in capabilities of the water monitoring community.

There are rapidly emerging changes in the technologies, techniques and methods for water monitoring and the effectiveness of these changes should be calibrated against new and emerging fitness for purpose criteria. The water monitoring community is largely absent from this conference. There is a lost opportunity for the data users to learn from the data providers and vice versa.

I had a chat with Michael Campana and Brenda Bateman, the co-chairs of the 2017 conference in Portland, about the opportunity to bring the monitoring community back home to the AWRA. There are many probable causes for this disconnect. Water monitoring agencies are inadequately funded. There is no time, money nor mandate for sending hydrographers to conferences. Most conferences have little to offer a field hydrographer. Monitoring is a place-based activity, the practice of which disperses hydrographers widely rather than bringing them together.

With some planning and coordination we can build a program for Portland that will entice hydrographers in from the field. If we can do that then they can learn from each other, they can learn about the new purposes for which their data are being used, and end-users can learn about the new capabilities of monitoring. Mark your calendar for November 5-9 2017 and plan a trip to Portland.

G. Tracy Mehan IIIExecutive Director of Government Affairs for the AWWA2American Water Works Association (AWWA), emailed me this document he recently sent President-Elect Donald J. Trump. He gave me permission to post it.

The cover letter itself is quite brief and is shown below. It’s standard fare. But the entire document – the cover letter plus more detail about the water issues that must be addressed – spans eight single-spaced pages. It’s an excellent, succinct discussion of important water issues.

Download AWWA_Transition_Paper


Take time to read the entire document. It promulgates the major water issues from AWWA’s vantage point: infrastructure, cyberseciruty, source water protection, energy-water nexus, affordability, and scientific integrity and transparency. Recommendations are provided.

One thing I’d like to see is a thoughtful approach to infrastructure. Instead of simply ‘replacing parts’ I would like to see a more strategic view. Can we do something better than we did 50 or 100 years ago? Or will it be the SOS, except with new parts. The impetus to keep costs low might inhibit ‘blue sky’ thinking.

Time will tell.

I suspect this letter will go over much better with the AWWA membership than the American Institute of Architect’s letter did with its membership.

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” – Carl Sagan (in  via)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 12 -18 November 2016

November 18, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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I am sending this out early because I will spend most of 18 November on a plane returning to Oregon from Orlando, where the AWRA Annual Conference was held.  King_on_his_throne Great meeting!

There are fewer items this week because I was tied up with the meeting much of the time.

Remember – AWRA will be in Portland next year.

Tomorrow is World Toilet Day. No, this is not a joke – despite my picture. It was a promotional photo.

This graphic comes from Tony Willardson’s presentation at the AWRA Conference. It’s an old slide of a map showing the NAWAPA network of canals and pipelines bringing water from Canada to the Western USA. What struck me was Tony’s comment that the white lines on the map were made with typewriter correction tape. Remember that?


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 “The number of variables converging on state and local government is enormous, diverse and growing. Insufficient infra-structure, struggling economy, an evolving climate, increasing public expectations and complex service demands are driving the critical questions: ‘Where are we going? And… How are we going to get there?’ ” – Dr. John F. Luthy (thanks to Tony Wilardson) 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 5 – 11 November 2016

November 11, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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It’s been only a few days since Donald Trump has become our President-Elect but our northern fronds at Water Canada posted this item, ‘Six Ways Donald Trump Will Impact Water’.  

I think I just found some fodder for my annual April Fools’ Day post.

It’s Veterans Day in the USA. Before you hit the sales, give thanks to those who served and their loved ones.

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  Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 7.20.21 PM“Remember, new ‘environment friendly’ lightbulbs can cause cancer. Be careful– the idiots who came up with this stuff don’t care.” –Donald J. Trump, Tweeted on 17 October 2012 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 29 October – 4 November 2016

November 4, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Have to start with this: CUBS WIN! I won’t be around for their next World Series victory – in 2124.

WaterWonk/photographer/person extraordiniare Jennifer C. Veilleux, a recent PhD graduate of OSU who works at Florida International University, has done us all service by elucidating and illustrating the Dakota Access Pipeline issue and the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes occurring in North Dakota and environs. Read her blog post.

She and her team produced these two excellent maps:


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I thought I would do something different and cast a wide net for experts who would like to write popular articles on their work. This is a good way for someone to get their work ‘out there’!

I used to do this work about 25 years ago at the University of New Mexico with Cliff Dahm and his group: surface water – groundwater – hyporheic zone interactions. We didn’t call it ‘aquatic system connectivity’ in those days.

I am looking for 5-6 short (800 – 1,200 words) articles on aspects of Aquatic System Connectivity or ASC) for a March 2017 issue of AWRA’s bimonthly Water Resources IMPACT magazine. The issue is linked to our 2017 Spring Specialty Conferenceon ASC.

You can click here to get a description of ASC or read the Call for Abstracts:

Over the last several decades, researchers have recognized the importance of ecological, hydrological, and biogeochemical connections among individual aquatic systems. Understanding these connections and their functions requires research to “connect the dots” by examining how individual ecosystem components connect, interact, and affect other ecosystems across space and time. Connectivity describes the degree to which landscape components, such as aquatic and terrestrial elements of a watershed, are joined by various transport mechanisms. It consists of hydrological, biogeochemical, and biological fluxes among landscape, watershed, or system components and characterizes system state along a gradient from fully connected to fully isolated. These connections occur at multiple spatial (complexes, reaches, landscapes, watersheds, subsurface zones) and temporal (daily, seasonal, annual, decadal) scales. Connectivity of aquatic systems is affected by both physical (e.g., climate, geology, hydrology, topography) and biological (e.g., life-history characteristics) attributes and processes. This conference will explore hydrological, geochemical, and biological connectivity between and among various aquatic systems, and characterize emergent effects of this connectivity across space and time. It will also address the policy, legal, economic, regulatory, societal, and related aspects of connectivity.

Sounds great, right?

By the way, if you want to submit an abstract for the conference, they are due 9 January 2017. Click here to submit.

Read on, please.

Those of you who are AWRA members know we often use our bimonthly magazine Water Resources IMPACT to ‘promote’ our summer and spring specialty conferences. We do this by asking experts in the field to write short (800- 1,200 words) articles (not journal-type articles) elucidating the important issues in the particular field that is highlighted.

Such is the case with the Spring 2017 on ‘Aquatic System Connectivity‘, of which I am the General Chair. I will serve as Guest Editor for the March 2017 issue of IMPACT, which will be published in early March, thereby providing almost two months’ lead time till we meet in Utah.

I am soliciting 5 to 7 articles of 800 – 1,200 words, each focusing on such ASC topics as:

1) Overview of ASC

2) Legal-Institutional-Economic-Societal-Policy Aspects

3) What People (non-experts – maybe politicians) Need to Know about ASC (why is it important?)

4) Various Case Studies

5) The Future/Emerging Issues

6) Whatever Else Comes to Mind

I have attached part of a copy of our September 2016 issue to give you an idea of what the articles should ‘look 5-Sept2016IMPACTcoverlike’. They are written in a conversational style, with no more than 2 references. They are designed for the intelligent layperson and the water professional who is in a field different from ASC. Pictures are welcomed. This particular issue was aimed at public officials.

Download AWRAS_AWRAS0516

I would need your article by 25 December. They will be reviewed in-house (me and one other person) and must be to the publisher right after the first of the year.

Please give this some thought and get back to me as soon as you can. It’s important to get your work ‘out there’ and this is a great way to do i – 800 -1,200 words is not that long.

Feel free to contact me via cell or email: 541 602 4085 (USA Pacific time);

If you know someone who might be suitable, let me know that, too.

Thank you very much!


BTW, if you want to submit an abstract for this meeting, click here. It’s in Snowbird, UT.


“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”  – W.C. Fields 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 22 – 28 October 2016

October 28, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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The sun is shining now here in Corvallis. We’ll just wait a few minutes.

Want to escape climate change? Go to Boise!

Nifty graphic of the continental USA’s stream system. Read the story here.


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“Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing.” – 


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