I find it dismayingly easy to write critiques of people that I substantially agree with, but have some minor point of disagreement. Often that’s easier than taking on a fundamentally different viewpoint. But I’m finding even less to say when I don’t even have a minor point of disagreement.
The UCD/PPIC group made fantastic recommendations to the State Board on Measuring and Reporting Water Diversions. We would be substantially better off if those were thoroughly implemented. Too often recently, the state agencies have been pleading for money to support the gauging stations they already have. Some of those gauges have been providing decades of data; I have heard that after funding cuts, some personnel have continued checking gauges on their own time, so there aren’t holes in the record. More instruments, more telemetry would be a very welcome change.
I also liked and agreed with the proposals in PPIC’s recent Allocating California’s Water: Directions for Reform. I especially liked setting instream flows as the most senior water diverters, if we are going to keep our incredibly stupid and unjust seniority-based system. I didn’t think Allocating California’s Water went far enough, but the things they propose don’t foreclose any future options either and they tidy up some problems nicely. So I am in favor!
I thought the language in this EDF op-ed was interesting. He discusses removing barriers to “water sharing”, of which a market might be one example. I’d be pleased if we moved away from the inevitable “water market” or “water transfers” (which are also purchases) as the only means of moving water to different users. Maybe this marks a change in environmentalist support for water markets as the win-win, nobody-hates-you-for-saying-it proposal.
Hope you are having a good winter. I probably won’t write much until 2016. Happy New Year!