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If We Had a Drought Forum

If we had a drought forum we would put forth some ideas on how to get something done right now.

Nov 14, 2014

The Western Governor's Association Drought Forum is being held in Sacramento where California Governor Jerry Brown said that taking on the drought will "test our imagination, our science and our political capacity to collaborate." According to the article below he also "highlighted the need for creative thinking and continued conservation."

That's how governors like to talk, big sweeping ideas that say little or nothing, but sound good. It looks like a lot of nothing to us.

Now, if we had a drought forum we would put forth some ideas on how to get something done right now. Here is the Families Protecting the Valley Drought Forum itinerary:

Session #1: Is there anything that can be done right now with current infrastructure we already have in place? Are there policy changes that could be made that would get more water to humans and farmers? The answer, of course, is yes. More on that coming.

Session #2: Which ecological disaster is bigger? The Delta Smelt problems or the ecological disaster of the collapsing aquifers of the Central Valley? And, can we also discuss what Federal Judge Oliver Wanger called 'sloppy science' when it comes to the NRDC's theories on the smelt?

Session #3: Why is the danger of endangered species in the Delta more important than the danger to species in the Valley caused by turning off the pumps (
Birds Die So Smelt Can Live!)?

Session #4: Why are
Sacramento and other delta cities allowed to dump a billion gallons of partially treated sewage into the delta a day, killing plant life and the endangered smelt? (Sacramento has been ordered to clean their sewage treatment plant, but they have another 10 years to do so.)

Session #5: Why are San Francisco and East Bay cities allowed to divert water around and under the Delta without going through the Delta if water is so important to the Delta's health?

Session #6: If the Delta Smelt is so precious and in such danger, why do we have a catch limit on the stripped bass which dines on them?

Session #7: Why do environmentalists continue to say ag uses 80% of the water when they know it's 40%. They also know they use 50%, but never acknowledge it.

Session #8: Why does the recently passed Water Bond contain money to tear down Klamath Dams?

Session #9: How are we supposed to repenish our groundwater if we don't have surface water?

Session #10: How can we change forest policy to make sure overgrowth doesn't soak up the rain before it gets to streams and rivers?

Sesssion #11: Should we be taking a serious look at desalination along the coast? If coastal cities relied more on desal they wouldn't need so much water from the delta.

Now, getting back to item #1 on what we can do right now with policy changes. We outlined two proposals that we would like to see get done in our last newsletter. First, re-do the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlememt. It would save hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water, which unfortunately are already gone down the river. Past water is gone, but future water could be saved. It's a bad deal and needs a re-do. Everyone agrees, but nothing gets done. Second, a slight change to the Endangered Species Act where water used for the environment would have the same rules of accountability as required of urban and agricultural uses.

These ideas never seem to make the itinerary of the drought forums. They are real ideas that could get real things done. Guess they don't really want to talk about it.

Gov. Jerry Brown Says Drought will Test “Political Capacity to Collaborate”

Pamela Martineau/Association of California Water Agencies

Gov. Jerry Brown today said tackling the drought that is wracking California and much of the western United States will "test our imagination, our science and our political capacity to collaborate."

Speaking at the Western Governors’ Association Drought Forum, a two-day event in Sacramento Nov. 13-14, Brown highlighted the need for creative thinking and continued conservation.

“People are trained to save money more than they are to save water,” Brown said in answer to a question on why his so-called “Rainy Day Fund” – Proposition 2 – garnered more votes than the water bond – Proposition 1 – on the ballot Nov. 4

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval opened the meeting with remarks that highlighted California's historic drought. He also noted that much of the West also faces drought. Sandoval said 97% of Nevada is experiencing some level of drought.

The drought forum in Sacramento is the third in a series of drought forums sponsored by the WGA. The two-day forum was titled – “Drought Impacts and Solutions in the Agricultural Sector.” The gathering is the third of four to be held this year as part of an initiative of Sandoval, WGA Chairman.

Sandoval launched the Drought Forum to foster a regional dialogue in which Western states and industry could share best practices on drought policy, preparedness and management, according to a WGA press release. Participants at Drought Forum workshops seek to identify ways to mitigate the impact of drought on communities, economies and the environment in a specific sector. Previous meetings have focused on energy, mining and manufacturing sectors.

The California meeting includes a session on current drought conditions in the West, as well as one on the drought’s impact on the agricultural sector. The Sacramento forum also is designed to examine cross-agency collaborations among federal, state and other agencies.

Previous workshops were held in Norman, Okla., and Tempe, Ariz. The final meeting of 2014, “Drought Impacts & Solutions for Water Supply,” will be held Dec. 8-9 in Las Vegas.

The Western Governors’ Drought Forum also offers an online resource library that includes a collection of best practices, case studies and news about drought. It can be found on the WGA website(westgov.org/drought-forum).

The Western Governor’s Drought forum is conducted in partnership with NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System. The meeting in Norman was sponsored by the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment and National Hydropower Association.

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