Recommendations for the incoming presidential administration.

Friends, you will be appalled to know that influential people are reading blogs, including this one.  Worse, one of them wants my thoughts on what to recommend to the incoming presidential administration.  I’ll propose some things, and I would love to hear from you as well.

If you have recommendations for the next administration, please leave them in the comments.  To make this constructive, please follow this format.

  • No advocacy comments on any of the following topics: the Delta, the tunnels, new surface storage, the ESA, or almonds.  Those debates are well fleshed out; re-reading them would bore me.
  • Present your recommendations as purpose, then method, with links if you got ’em.  (i.e. To re-fill groundwater aquifers, support research and pilot projects for on-farm recharge.)  If you aren’t sure how to insert links, just cut and paste them.  I’ll go back into the comments and anchor them to text.

Here are my first few thoughts, to inspire you:

  • To support SGMA as it gets up and running, issue planning grants to the new GSAs (short term action).
  • To improve agricultural water use efficiency, develop remote sensing capacity for irrigation distribution uniformity.  Frankly, I’d love for the agencies to have the staff, equipment and capacity to be doing their own remote sensing of all of California’s farmland, made publicly available.   If we were going to be doing stuff like this, I bet the forestry agencies would have suggestions for useful remote sensing.  We don’t have to cede this field to the private sector.  Weekly remote sensing images could be publicly provided infrastructure, like CIMIS.
  • To improve water holding capacity and carbon sequestration, fund programs that improve soil tilth.
  • To increase urban water use efficiency, develop a program for municipal-level leak detection.  I have heard that cities have a hard time paying for leak detection.

OK friends.  Please leave constructive, do-able ideas for what the feds can do in the next administration.  Why, then what, with links to details.



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14 responses to “Recommendations for the incoming presidential administration.

  1. Melinda

    Continue to provide IRWM grants and follow through with baseline funding to support the necessary administrative and implementation work discussed in DWR’s strategic plan. (Sorry, can’t figure out links on phone 😢)

  2. To accelerate deployment of green infrastructure for stormwater management, fund research for and development of model ordinances, municipal codes, sustainable funding lines, and standard plans for ROW and private property.

    Click to access 14-0748_rpt_bos_01-14-15.pdf

    Click to access eec060514_stormwaterreport.pdf

  3. Dan

    Fund a reasonable restoration plan for the Salton Sea. Sorry, that’s as detailed as I can get!

  4. Sorry, OPR, my brain’s too furred right now to provide you with an award-winning water use improvement idea, but as to your plug for greater remote sensing use in California water mgt. you’ll be pleased to know that as an emissary from the Golden State to a NASA-sponsored conference in Houston on the use of remote sensing in resource management I was proud to present four different ways in which California was substantially improving resource management, including that by DWR in the tracking of irrigation water use, through the use of NASA’s remote sensing tools. See . That was in 1975 ….

  5. jrfleck

    Fund educational opportunities in technical and policy and management skills to build capacity among the next generation of water managers, with special emphasis on members of currently under-represented communities. So that all the cool stuff other people are suggesting in this thread can be well used/executed.

  6. Would an in-depth economic, political and technical analysis of waterbag transport and storage opportunities in California qualify to be included in your list of potential research subject recommendations?

  7. Bob Harrington

    A few thoughts for the President to consider:

    To support local agencies forming GSAs and GSPs, fund a program to use the USGS’s groundwater modeling expertise to develop and improve regional (basin-scale) groundwater models in California to address SGMA’s aims of avoiding overdraft, water quality degradation, subsidence, and negative effects on surface water.

    For purposes of improved water accounting and assessing effects of climate change, expand the USGS surface water gaging network. Establish more sites that gage unimpaired flows to (1) develop/calibrate/test models and methods of measuring seasonal snow cover, and (2) track climate-driven changes in hydrology.

    Ditto the comment above re. remote sensing.

  8. ‘Watched Mr Spragg’s YouTube for about three seconds – long enough to hear the narrator say that Mr Spragg’s Bags are for transporting water ‘from where there is too much to where there is not enough’. One wonders just where there is ‘too much’ water. Somewhere where Mother Earth simply doesn’t know what in the world she’s doing. Hmmmm

    • onthepublicrecord

      Mr. Spragg’s persistence is widely admired.

      One of the readings for my irrigation projects class opened with the sentence, “Irrigation is the practice of correcting nature’s mistakes.”

  9. Mike Johnston

    Fund a cooperative project that includes folks farmers trust like UC Davis and USDA or CDFA to develop simple, easy and inexpensive tools to measure nitrates below the root zone in irrigated agriculture. Right now dealing with this problem in the Central Coast and Central Valley is a huge problem, as it is non point source pollution and we could spend an eternity arguing about when and where those salts entered the vadose zone or the aquifers beneath it, meanwhile they are migrating down. If we had such tools, it would be way simpler to identify outlier farmers that are using up to an order of magnitude more fertilizers than their neighbors growing the same crops, test or require them to test the groundwater immediately below the root zone int heir fields at the end of the growing season, and regulate their discharges of nitrates as point source pollution. This would allow Water Boards to focus on the worst farmers rather than trying to regulate thousands of farmers, many of whom are not materially contributing to the problem of nitrate pollution of groundwater. It would alsoallow farmers to see how they were doing and manage their own use of nutrients, as fertilizer is not that cheap and sensible farmers don’t want to pay for fertilizer that their plants are not going to use.

  10. Bob Siegfried

    Purpose: To solve (chuckle) California’s water problems.
    Method: Encourage DWR to facilitate public discussions of the following topics: 1) Recognizing that consumption of water generates higher returns in industry and services compared to consumption in agriculture and the environment, allocation of water across the sectors; 2) The quantity of funding that should be devoted to education and infrastructure if allocation of water to industry and services will significantly diminish agriculture’s contribution to the state’s economy; 3) The water requirement to repair and sustain the environment.

    Purpose: Shifting the definition of agricultural water use efficiency from the domain of application uniformity and scheduling to the domain of evapotranspiration uniformity..
    Method: Apply CIMIS and the METRIC ( programs along with appropriate clustering algorithms and farm gate water delivery records to categorize the uniformity of crop ET and farm water consumption at field scale..

  11. Anne

    Better integrate land use decisions with water availability – In California, that means decreasing the size of development scrutinized for the sufficiency of its water supply from 500 units to something in the 5 to 10 unit range (more consistent with all other western states) and requiring the land use approval agency to look at the availability of water on a regional basis to support not only the specific development on the table for approval but all other development allowed by a county or municipality’s comprehensive plan. Consider the impact of this development on the environment, agriculture, instream flows.