TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 29 March – 4 April 2014

April 4, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Before (top) and after (below) LiDAR photos of the Oso, WA, landslide; red dots are buildings. Thanks to Anne Jefferson for sending these. Originals here. What made the mountain move? Visit here.

Click here for the weekly water news summary.

Oso-lidar-before

Oso-lidar-after

“University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” - Henry Kissinger

JAWRA HIGHLIGHTS – April 2014

April 1, 2014 | Posted by admin
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Featured Collection: Contaminants of Emerging Concern II
William A. Battaglin and Alan Kolok are Guest Associate Editors for this collection of 13 papers originating from the AWRA 2012 Specialty Conference, “Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Water Resources II: Research, engineering and community action.” This follows an earlier collection published in February 2009.

Themes include:

  • The environmental occurrence and/or fate of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in a wide range of environments;
  • How treatment or degradation processes affect the fate of CECs; and
  • Laboratory and/or environmental effects of CECs on various aquatic organisms.

Other Technical Papers:

Zhang and Shuster compare the performance of two hydrologic models, SWMM and GSSHA, in simulating warm-season runoff for two upland, low-yield micro-catchments.

Ouyang et al. take a multi-scale view of residential water use in Phoenix, Arizona.

Cockerill and Anderson use pre- and post-monitoring data from restoration projects on an urban stream to assess how well stream conditions, publicly stated project goals, and project implementation align.

Ouapo et al. use an agronomic water mass balance approach to estimate how much water has been used for irrigation compared to amounts estimated by well data, and find some surprising results for the Texas Panhandle.

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

March 28, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Not much of a summary this week since I was in Honduras and did not do much Tweeting. But there are many new ‘Positions Open’ so be sure to take a look at those.

Speaking of Honduras, take a look at this photo I took of material Well(precipitate) taken from a completely clogged 4-inch ID PVC water supply pipe. It took 40 days to become this clogged. Yes, the water is supplied by the utility in Villanueva, Honduras, a city of 150,000 south of San Pedro Sula. The residents don’t drink the water – bottled water is the drink of choice. No wonder.

The fascinating thing is that the utility has no records (so they said) of water chemistry, although a team of Spanish consultants has taken water and precipitate samples back to Spain for analysis. I suspect that the precipitate is a carbonate of some sort.

Give thanks for the SDWA!

Go here for the weekly water summary.

“Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large
groups.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

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

March 21, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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rolandoWorld Water Day is tomorrow. I am in Honduras ‘doing water stuff’ for
the Ann Campana Judge Foundationdedicating one water project in Las Palmas and checking out some prospective projects. Because of my travels, this week’s list will be a bit shorter than usual.

Click here for the weekly water summary.

Enjoy!

“We have a lot of really smart folks in the room, some of the most sophisticated water managers in the West. But I also want to say I’m generally disappointed in all of us, that we find ourselves in this place again.” - Scott Verhines, NM State Engineer, at a meeting of NM, CO and TX water managers (see story)

“All calculations, based on our experiences elsewhere, fail in New Mexico.” - Gen. Lew Wallace, Territorial Governor, 1878

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

March 14, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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6a00d8341bf80a53ef01a51184b153970c-250wiNational Groundwater Awareness week is almost history (9-15 March). Hurry up and become aware!

Here is the link to the summary.

Enjoy!

“I don’t care whether you use natural gas, ethanol, the battery. You can use anything, just so it’s American.” - T. Boone Pickens 

A Western City Collaborates for Meaningful Water Education, Part 6

by Lydia Hooper

As described in my last blog, Denver Public Works’ pioneering educational program known as “Keep It Clean Neighborhood Environmental Trios”, or KIC-NET, incorporates their stormwater outreach goals as well as the goals of Denver Public Schools and Denver Parks and Recreation. The pilot program is currently operating at 10 schools where 750 students are learning hands-on science while improving their neighborhood parks and waterways.

Students at Noel Community Arts share the results of their water quality tests as part of their presentation called "Environmental Citizen."

To better understand the impact of this unique program, consider Whittier School, located in the urban Five Points neighborhood of Denver. Eighth graders met weekly during the last school year to investigate, research and plan civic action projects related to various issues important to them – from gang violence to homelessness to food deserts.

At the end of the school year, the students celebrated all their hard work by taking an overnight trip to the mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado. While in Estes Park, they completed team challenges and participated in various outdoor education activities, including conducting water monitoring tests. But best of all, they got a remarkable opportunity to witness first-hand the snowmelt and spring runoff at headwater streams for their faraway urban watershed. By seeing where their neighborhood’s water comes from, these students developed a deeper connection to it, inspiring greater motivation to care for their nearby streams.

Students at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy also celebrated water this past spring when they hosted a Water Festival in their school’s backyard at Harvey Park Lake. Sixth-graders working on a water unit in their science class had tested the quality of the water using chemistry kits and equipment for studying macroinvertebrates. The school invited the neighborhood to come hear from students the results of their findings and to learn about what they can do to help keep their neighborhood lake clean. The students also collected plastic bottles littering the park to build a raft. Appropriately, but unfortunately, the Water Festival ended abruptly due to a torrential downpour, typical of the season.

When it came to spring events, however, Noel Community Arts School hit it out of the park with their culminating exhibition of learning called “The ThinkShow.”

As part of their science lab class, sixth and seventh graders studied Parkfield Lake across the street from their school. Each of the 260 youth produced a field guide based upon findings from environmental inventories, storm drain inspections, water quality testing, macroinvertebrate sampling, mapping, and surveys of fellow students and neighbors. “Their presentations and products blew me away,” said Donny Roush, an environmental educator who manages the KIC-NET program at Earth Force.

This blog is the sixth and final in a monthly series offering ideas on how cities can address water issues through collaboration and creation of exciting educational opportunities. Read my earlier posts to learn more, or contact me below. Thanks for your interest!

Lydia Hooper is the “Keep It Clean” Communications Liaison for Denver Public Works’ Wastewater Management-Water Quality Division and Earth Force, a non-profit that fosters community partnerships to support youth engagement in environmental civic action projects nationwide.

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 1 – 7 March 2014

March 7, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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untitledAnother one of those ’36 hours in (fill in the blank)’ meetings. This one comes to you from ‘The Biggest Little City in the World’: Reno, Nevada.

That moniker is getting a bit old, as Reno is pushing 250,000 residents and the metro area is nearing 500,000. When I came here in 1976 the numbers were substantially less – maybe 90,000 and 150,000.

The Planning Committee for AWRA’s IWRM Conference is here today to set the preliminaryphotonugget program. We received about 100 abstracts. Fun!

The photo was taken AFTER we’d done our work – Greg Weinbender, Ken Reid, Dick Engberg, yours truly, and Jerry Sehlke.

Now visit the weekly water news summary site!

 “The greatest risk is not taking one.” - Tim Fargo

Just got an email from good friend and one of the best thinkers/writers on Western land and water issues, Sarah Bates. She sent me a copy of her latest report, Land Trusts and Water: Strategies and Resources for Addressing Water in Western Land Conservation. It is published by the Land Trust Alliance.

This report has real practical information. Great appendices!

Download Land Trusts and Water

Summary

Land and water are inextricably connected, and protecting one often necessitates protecting the other. Water is essential to protect natural areas, such as wetlands, riparian habitat, irrigated pastures and urban greenways—all areas of importance to western land trusts. Likewise, sound land management practices are essential to protect and enhance water quality and aquatic habitat— as evidenced by land trusts’ efforts to protect watershed health through a variety of conservation tools. This dynamic is especially apparent in the western United States where the scarcity of water means that conservationists need to look at the whole system to be successful in protecting a part.

PicIncreasingly, land trusts are interested in addressing water in their transactions with landowners. In many cases, land trusts seek to ensure that existing irrigation practices continue in order to protect the values of productive working lands and the related habitat benefits of return flows. In other cases, land trusts seek opportunities to conserve water to augment streamflows, as well as to enhance wetlands, riparian habitat and other water-related conservation values. Some land trusts work in close partnership with water trusts, which are nonprofit organizations that engage in and facilitate transactions that involve conservation measures, physical improvements (such as structural upgrades or low flow channels) and returning water to important streams that have dried up. Western states recognize and provide protection for the public values of instream flows, although laws and programs vary considerably among states.

This book offers practical tools and resources to help land trusts address water-related conservation values in their private land conservation work. While emphasizing instream flows, many of the approaches described are applicable more generally to water-related conservation values, such as riparian habitat, wetlands and seasonal water bodies. This book will help readers identify the various ways water concerns arise in land trust transactions and understand different approaches to address those concerns. Chapter one provides an orientation to the ways land and water trusts address water as a conservation value, including comparison of their approaches and observations about shared goals and strategies. Chapter two goes on to present the highlights of a survey of conservation organizations working to protect land and water in the West. This chapter offers case studies of organizations doing innovative work. Lastly, the book Untitled2concludes with final thoughts in the Afterword and a series of appendices that are a rich resource of information, from an overview of western water laws and instream flow programs to sample water rights language in conservation easements to sample water lease agreements. The book also contains a list of additional resources and a glossary that offers full definitions of important terms (sidebar definitions are abbreviated in some cases).

Currently, there are two distinct strategies for addressing water in relation to private land conservation:

1) Conservation easement language. Easement language may address the risk that water rights associated with a conservation property might be transferred away from the property, to the detriment of the water-related conservation values. Easement language also seeks to accomplish a variety of different outcomes, including:

o Prohibiting a change of water use from irrigation or other existing applications

o Allowing a permanent or temporary change of use, as allowed by law, such as dedication for instream flow

o Explicitly requiring a change in the water right (including timing, point of diversion or place of use) in order to achieve conservation goals

Negotiating easement language is most successful when the land trust recognizes that the landowner will want to reserve some of the water rights for other uses, including conservation measures.

2) A separate water transaction. A public agency or facilitating organization, such as a water trust, may provide a valuable incentive (cash payment, direct subsidy or tax incentive) for a landowner to improve water infrastructure or to take other steps to make changes in land and water management on the conservation property. The landowner may redirect some of the existing water diversion to supplement streamflows or otherwise enhance the environment. These transactions include:

o Implementing irrigation improvements that allow operations to continue with more efficient use of water

o Applying other changes to water infrastructure, such as new headgates that divert water closer to the area of use to reduce stream depletions while still delivering the full quantity allowed

o Changing crops to less-thirsty varieties of plants o Forgoing diversions during all or part of the irrigation season

These strategies are not exclusive of one another, and they need Untitled3not occur simultaneously. Each landowner has unique interests with regard to water, and the tool that works to address conservation values in one state or situation might not be available, appropriate or the best option in another. In some cases, funding sources require specific language regarding water rights to be included in conservation easement documents. In other cases, a temporary arrangement is the best way to build trust and to determine how modifications to water use might achieve mutual goals. Converting water away from traditional uses such as irrigation may raise concerns among landowners and agricultural community members. Acknowledging this reality, this book contains some practical approaches that strike a healthy balance among multiple land and water uses and community priorities, including water supplies and needs for grazing, farming, recreation, wildlife habitat and drinking water, as well as meeting legal obligations for water resources shared across basins and between states.

Although there is no single recipe for success, effective initiatives share the following strategies:

1) Develop a shared conservation vision with the landowner that includes water as part of a larger suite of conservation values. If the transaction aims to protect working lands under irrigation, continued application of water is an essential element of success. The same is true for agree- ments aimed at maintaining or restoring functioning riparian and aquatic habitats. As most water law experts conclude: “Land trusts ignore water rights at their peril.”

2) Conduct due diligence with regard to existing water rights when negotiating a private land conservation transaction that includes water-related conservation values. When a secure water supply is needed to sustain the conservation values, negotiate this requirement as part of the conserva- tion easement and recognize that the water rights will be an important element of Untitled4the property appraisal, given the higher value of land that has reliable water. Even in cases in which it is not feasible to explicitly address the water rights in a conservation easement, a land trust should conduct water rights due diligence before completing the transaction. As part of this due diligence, planners should consider whether measures might be necessary to ensure continued access to essential water to protect the property’s conservation values. Due diligence includes evaluating the validity of the water right, its relative priority in relation to other water users’ rights on the stream and the ability to protect the water right if there is a shortage or conflict with other users. In some states, such as Colorado, conducting due diligence on encumbered water rights is a requirement for organizations to be certified to accept conservation easements that qualify for state tax exemption.

3) Share information with landowners about financial incentives for land and water management practices that will benefit streamflows. Working on the same principle of voluntary, market-driven transactions as land trusts, water trusts offer a variety of incentives for land and water management practices that will enhance streamflows and other aquatic resources on working landscapes. Land trusts are in the best position to provide this information to interested landowners, so they should become familiar with the range of opportunities available in their state or region.

4) Build and maintain cooperative relationships with organizations and individuals who have specialized knowledge of water rights and water transactions in your state. Although few land trusts employ water lawyers or experts in the administration of water rights, many have discovered the value of developing good relations with the owners and managers of water rights—from the farmers and ranchers themselves to the water districts, water-user associations, local and state agencies that manage water, water trusts and other organizations. The value of buildingUntitled5and sustaining good working relationships with partner orga- nizations cannot be overstated. Land trusts can benefit by looking for opportunities to share information, providing a range of conservation opportunities for landowners and helping achieve complementary conservation goals. There is legitimate concern among both land and water trusts about limited funds available to finance land and water conservation, which can lead to a sense of competition that may inhibit the groups’ willingness to cooperate. Joint initiatives, such as the Deschutes Partnership, a collab- orative effort to restore the watershed of the Deschutes River in Oregon, have created opportunities for new and additional funding, which suggests that land and water trusts benefit by collaborating on strategies to maximize conservation outcomes and simplifying the conservation process for landowners.

The stories, tools and resources in this book seek to support and strengthen efforts to protect water resources as a regular part of private land conservation work and to encourage productive partnerships with water trusts and many other partners who share long-term goals of sustainable land and water use.

Enjoy!

“The health of our water is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” —Luna Leopold (from theSummary)

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

February 28, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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I am now archiving (only since 21 February 2014) these posts on Twitter51tTsuMjfcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_at: #WaWiNews Once you go to the site, on the right, click on ‘All’ just below ‘Results for #WaWiNews‘. All (since 18 March 2011) of them can also be found on the WaterWired blog - click here.

Christine_Klein2012Shill alert: Check out this new book on the Mississippi River – out today – by Christine A. Klein and Sandra B. Zellmer: Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster. I know Christine from our time on the Bay-Delta Committee and I think she is pretty amazing. She’s a law professor at the University of Florida. I expect this to be an extraordinary book about a remarkable river and its trials and tribulations.

Here is the link to this week’s summary.

Enjoy!

“Fossil fuels, globally, is going to be the primary fuel for the future.” – T. Boone Pickens, in the Calgary Herald.

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

February 21, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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The Olympics may almost be over, but there is no joy in Sochi. Here are President Putin and former President Medvedev grieving over the Russian hockey team’s loss to Finland, which eliminated them from the medal round. Putin reputedly said, ‘If we win the hockey gold medal, no other medals count. If we lose the hockey gold medal, no other medals count.” I suspect a Wipesnumber of hockey players were on the first flight out of the country.

Speaking of no joy, the Canadians beat the USA Women 3-2 for the gold medal and the USA Men 1-0. The Canadians will play the Swedes for the gold and the USA will take on the Finns for the bronze.

Shown above are some ‘flushable wipes’ that aren’t very flushable at all. It seemed appropriate.

Click here to access the weekly water news summary.

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” Eddie Rickenbacker


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