TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 13 – 19 December 2014

December 19, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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How to say ‘This is crap!’ in different cultures, from the Harvard Business Review (click to enlarge).


Click here for this week’s water news summary!

“If you can’t reduce a difficult geological or other problem to just one 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper, you will probably never understand it.”- Unknown (rephrase of a quote by Karl Terzaghi?)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 6 – 12 December 2014

December 12, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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6a00d8341bf80a53ef01bb07c30837970d-200wiI am recovering from my four days at NWGA’s Groundwater Expo in Las Vegas, where Oregon State University colleague Dorthe Wildenschild (shown here) gave her farewell Darcy Lecture.

The big West Coast storm wreaked a lot of havoc yesterday, including an ‘exciting’ landing for me at Portland International Airport last night.

What struck me were the seven-foot waves produced at Lake Tahoe. These photos are from the Placer County Sheriff’s Twitterwhere you can find more pictures and videos.


Ready for the weekly water news summary? Click here.


“Water management’s ‘Silver Buckshot’ offers how there is no single solution, but instead an elegant array.”- Jeffrey Kightlinger @mwdh2o

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 29 November – 5 December 2014

December 5, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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6a00d8341bf80a53ef01bb07bcd973970d-200wiI will be heading to NGWA’s Groundwater Expo in Las Vegas next week, 9-12 December.  It is the place to be if you do groundwater so I hope to see you there!

Maybe Ginny Groundwater (on the far left) will make an appearance! Unlikely, but one can dream. I think she’s with the Orange County Water District.

Ginny GW

Click here for the weekly water news summary.


“If you have to get old, get as old as you can get.” - Ansel Adams (via @NatGeo)

JAWRA HIGHLIGHTS – December 2014

December 1, 2014 | Posted by Susan Scalia
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JAWRA HIGHLIGHTS – December 2014

Harrison et al. examine retention of nutrients in oxbow wetlands.

Greathouse et al. examine the influence of Red alder on nitrogen concentrations in the Oregon Coast Range.

Hirsch uses subsampling of six very large datasets to better understand the biases in regression-based flux estimates.

Guo et al. explore the effects of land use/cover change and climate variability on streamflow in northern China during 1961-2009.

Kwan and Swanson use bank erosion hazard index (BEHI) and near-bank stress (NBS) methods for predicting streambank erosion in the Sequoia National Forest.

Tohver et al. examine the nature of changing hydrologic extremes (floods and low flows) under natural conditions for about 300 river locations in the Pacific Northwest.

Peckenham and Peckenham assess data produced by middle level and high school students, looking at the inherent errors associated with method accuracy, student precision, and sample variability.

Payne et al. apply econometric analysis to a unique dataset to estimate the implicit values market participants place on the attributes of shares of ditch company water rights in Colorado’s South Platte River Basin.

Kinoshita et al. review five models commonly used in post-fire hydrologic assessments, looking at input parameters, calibration methods, model constraints, and performance.

Koch et al. use a comprehensive synthesis of data from empirically based published studies and a widely used stormwater best management practice database to assess the variability in nitrogen removal performance of urban stormwater ponds, wetlands, and swales.

About two weeks ago we at Oregon State University were thankful to have Sarah UntitledBates of the National Wildlife Federation and The Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at theUniversity of Montana visit us. She spoke on an important but oft-overlooked issue, Addressing Water Issues in Private Land Conservation Planning.

Here is a PDF of her PPT:

Download Bates_OSU_presentation_Nov2014

Sarah-bates-faces_125x148The presentation was based on her excellent publication that I featured last February, Land Trusts and Water: Strategies and Resources for Addressing Water in Western Land Conservation that was published by the Land Trust AllianceI urge you take a look at it

If you wish to contact Sarah, her email is (mistake on PDF).


“Water is the true wealth in a dry land.” – Wallace Stegner

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 22 – 28 November 2014

November 28, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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AliceRunning late today – jet-lagged from yesterday’s trip from Budapest to Corvallis, Oregon. Had a great first meeting as a Steering Committee member of the Global Water Partnership. 

Here is a picture of my Dutch GWP Sterring Committee colleague Alice Bouman-Dentener enjoying a glass of water from the Budapest Waterworks, which we toured on 26 November. Alice is an Honorary Founding President of the Water for Women Partnership. 

Now it’s time to enjoy the weekly water news – click here.


“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.”
– Already Gone, by The Eagleswritten by Jack Tempchin and Robb Strandlund

50 Years of AWRA: OWAGs Galore, History & Other Great Stuff!

November 23, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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AWRA is celebrating its 50th aniversary this year and a gaggle (17) of past presidents gathered for a photo at its recent annual conference. Three more -  Richard Tucker (1980), Gerry Galloway (2007), and David DeWalle (2006) were present but are not in the photo.

AWRA Presidents

The ones in the photo are:

Front row: Bob Moresi (2004), Yours Truly (2011), Jerry Sehlke (2009), and Ken Lanfear (2002)

Back row: Ari Michelsen (2010), Stephan Nix (1997), David Moody (1992), Janet Bowers (2000), C. Mark Dunning (2014), Arlene Dietz (1987), Jane Rowan (2008), Carol Collier (2013), Bill Battaglin (2012), Donald Potts (1996), Nancy Lopez (1994), Jerry Rogers (1989), and Chuck Mosher (1993)

BTW, ‘OWAG’ is my cutesy acronym for ‘Old White American Guy’ (and its politically incorrect sibling, ‘Gal’), and there are a number of male OWAGs above. It should be noted that with a few exceptions (yours truly in red) the OWAGs were not OWAGs when they were  president. I actually think most of those above have aged very well.

AWRA has had just seven women presidents in its 50 years – not that good. Its first was not until 1987, when economist Arlene Dietz (behind my right shoulder) took the helm. Five of the seven are in this photo. From left to right in the back row: Janet Bowers, Arlene Dietz, Jane Rowan, Carol Collier,and Nancy Lopez. Missing are Melinda Lalor (2005) and Jane Valentine (2003). Things have obviously picked up since the start of this century. We will have another one in 2016 when Martha Corrozi Narvaez assumes the top leadership position. I suspect several more will follow in quick succession after Martha. Just sayin’….

Here is our founder, Dr. Sandor Csallany, cutting the cake:


It is fitting that I am posting this from Csallany’s native country, Hungary, whence he and his wife Agnes escaped in 1957.

Past Presidents Jerry Rogers and David DeWalle did us all a great service by assembling a history of AWRA:

Download AWRA_history


I would love to be able to make it to the 75th anniversary, but that’s a long shot (age: 91), especially if sentience is a requirement.

Suffice it to say that AWRA is a fabulous organization, and I am honored and humbled to be in such a select group of water leaders.

I am hard-pressed to come up with a better quote than this, the same one Rogers and DeWalle used in their AWRA history publication:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 15 – 21 November 2014

November 21, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Love this picture of a ‘band’ of lake effect snow descending upon the Buffalo area. See more photos here.

Let’s hope that the area does not experience a spell of warm weather or worse, a warm rain-on-snow event. Could be ugly…

Lake Effect

Two stars - Jay Famiglietti and Lesley Stahl, both of whom ‘GRACED’ 60 Minutes on 16 November 2014.

Jay and Lesley

There will probably be fewer Tweets next week. I will be at the Global Water Partnership meeting in Budapest through 26 November.

Click here to access the weekly water news summary.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” - Ursula K. LeGuin

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 8 – 14 November 2014

November 14, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Seemed to have dodged snowy and freezing rainy weather here in the Willamette Valley. But it’ll be back.

Gwp-logoGetting psyched for my upcoming Global Water Partnership meeting in Budapest 24-26 November. I’ve been getting lots of e-documents to peruse. Lucky I’ve got some long flights ahead of me. I leave on 21 November, return on Thanksgiving Day.

I have been appointed to the Human Resources Subcommittee, one of the three standing subcommittees of the Steering Committee.

Enough about me – click here to read the weekly water news.

“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” - Mark Twain

Remembering Reisner Redux….And Then Some

November 13, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Yesterday we at Oregon State University were treated to a great seminar by Sarah Bates, who spoke on ‘Addressing Water Issues in Private Land Conservation Planning’. It was based on her excellent publication, Land Trusts & Water – Strategies & Resources for Addressing Water in Western Land Conservation. I hope to get her PPT for posting, since it provided a succinct summary of her report. I urge you to read the report; it is very readable.

Sarah-bates-faces_125x148Prior to her talk we had the opportunity to chat for about 45 minutes, and most of our conversation revolved around the late Marc Reisner, who left us far too early at 51 in 2000. We both agreed that we need to keep his memory and thoughts alive, and try to ‘do’ Western water differently from the way it’s been done lo these many years. Reisner certainly told it like it was, but in a way that few had heard.

I mentioned to Sarah that I used to require my students to read Reisner’s Cadillac Desert, regardless of the particular water topic addressed by the class: groundwater hydrology, groundwater hydraulics, contaminant transport, etc.

I told Sarah I could clearly recall the day he came over to Reno to speak to Reisner1us about Western water. Cadillac Desert had just been published. I had invited him to address our Hydrology/Hydrogeology seminar at the University of Nevada, and he was more than happy to drive over from the San Francisco area.  I told him we could not afford an honorarium but could pay his travel. He agreed, asking if we could put him up an extra night or two so he could go fly fishing. I happily consented to his request.

17737921Over 100 people filled the small lecture hall for the noon – 12:50 PM event. I had asked Marc if he needed any A-V aids and he replied no. He then proceeded to speak from memory – no notes, no hesitation, no stumbling, no nothing – mesmerizing the crowd as he spun his tale of Western water. At 12:50 PM I interrupted him and explained that some people might have to leave for 1 PM classes but that we had the room for another hour and could continue if he would like to. He nodded apporvingly and I then asked if anyone had to leave. Not one soul stirrred. He went on for about another 40 minutes, then took questions. It was one of the most amazing performances I had ever heard. He knoew it all, and it was filed upstairs.

After our chat I decided I would post about Reisner and his legacy. I realized I had done this in March 2011.  Wy not just repeat that post? I have done so below.


The more I ruminate on Western USA water issues, the more I find myself returning to Marc  Reisner’s  Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing WaterThat seminal book, one of the 100 best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century according to the Modern Library (it’s #61), turns 25 this year. It’s still worth your time; the writing alone is superb. As I’ve said for years, it reads like a novel.

One of ther most intriguing aspects of the book is its title. It’s catchy: Cadillac Desert.  But I suspect that most people who just call it Cadillac Desert  (or CD) are oblivious to its complete title: Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water [emboldening mine]. Disappearing -that’s important, and prescient as well.Overtapped Oasis

Far fewer people realize that he (and Sarah Bates) followed up CD with Overtapped Oasis: Reform Or Revolution For Western Water in which he posited some solutions. That’s fodder for another post.

Reisner was not the first to portend the West’s water problems but he was the first one to describe them so eloquently, painstakingly documenting their history and the personalities involved.  He died far too young in 2000 at the age of 51.

Here’s a scientific assessment of some of CD’s predictions.


Thanks, Sarah.

I’ll close this post with the same quote I used in 2011:

“If surface water can be compared with interest income, and non-renewable groundwater with capital, then much of the West was living mainly on interest income. California was milking interest and capital in about equal proportion. The plains states, however, were devouring capital as a gang of spendthrift heirs might squander a great capitalist’s fortune.” – Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Chapter 12, p. 457 (in the original hardcover edition)  [Note: by 'devouring capital' Reisner was referring to the pumping of the Ogallala aquifer.]


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