Another View: Better water map would yield billions of gallons a year

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 9:40 PM

Dianne Feinstein runs afoul of environmentalists and salmon fishermen with her water bill, S. two thousand five hundred thirty-three. And that’s before anti-environmentalists in the House of Representatives obtain their hands on it.

Another View: Better water map would yield billions of gallons a year

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial (April three), rightly states that Sen. Dianne Feinstein runs afoul of environmentalists and salmon fishermen with her water bill, S. two thousand five hundred thirty-three. And that’s before anti-environmentalists in the House of Representatives obtain their hands on it.

The senator would've more support from conservationists and others with a bill that moves the whole state forward. Instead, the legislation focuses on picking winners and losers in the state’s water wars.

The bill calls for spending hundreds of millions to speed up and fund new and destructive dams, and includes a mandate to “maximize water supplies” to expand water exports from the beleaguered Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It’s not precisely tunnel-neutral either because projects love Sites reservoir or enlarging Shasta Dam create sense only if there is capacity to move more water through the Delta.

We already have more than one.400 dams in CA and a vast network of canals and pumps. Building more would cost taxpayers billions and demolish rivers without providing much water.

The Public Policy Institute of CA reported in two thousand-fifteenth that the top five dam projects pushed by proponents would cost roughly $9 billion, before cost overruns, to expand average annual water supply by about one hundred thirty-four billion gallons per year. It sounds love a lot, but that’s just 1 % of annual farm and city use. Even with high-end yield assumptions, these projects still don’t obtain us a two % expand because storage volume isn't the same as the more relevant figure: water yield.

What're the better solutions?

We've advanced dozens of positive solutions available at . Three would yield five hundred thirty-nine billion gallons per year – four times what we’d obtain from new dams.

Let’s start with leaks. A two thousand ten study conducted for the CA Public Utilities Commission estimated that ten % of urban water is lost to leaks and that forty % could be cost-effectively recovered through pressure management, leak repair and targeted pipe replacement. That amounts to one hundred fourteen billion gallons per year.

We've widely available technology and expertise to identify system water losses and repair them. Latest year state Sen. Lois Wolk moved this ball forward with Senate Bill five hundred fifty-five, and Feinstein could get it much further.

Second, we can make better irrigation efficiency by using local climate and soil information to more accurately define crop water requirements and irrigation scheduling. A two thousand nine report from the Pacific Institute titled “Sustaining CA Agriculture in an Uncertain Future” found that improving irrigation scheduling in CA can rescue more than 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year. Realizing just fifteen % of that potential would yield more than one hundred sixty-five billion gallons per year – more water than all of the proposed reservoirs combined.

We don’t have to select between fish and farms. We necessity to invest in more efficient farming for healthy waterways and vibrant communities – particularly since farms account for eighty % of the water we use.

Third, we treat wastewater to be as spotless as, or cleaner than, it was before we used it. Near to five hundred billion gallons of this highly treated wastewater are dumped into the Pacific Ocean annually. A two thousand ten study by Heal the Ocean found that two hundred sixty billion gallons can be safely recycled and reused or stored in aquifers. Orange County is already recycling wastewater along with a few cities.

We'd be pleased to work with and support Feinstein in advancing modern, environmentally sustainable and economical solutions love these so we can meet our water needs without doing more damage to waterways and communities. If you support water legislation that truly prepares us for future drought and climate modify instead of wasting taxpayer dollars, please give her a call.

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