California looks Down Under for Drought Advice

Desperate for solutions, California looks Down Under for advice on surviving the drought.

By Kristen Gelineau and Ellen Knickmeyer,
Associated Press May 25, 2015

Desperate for solutions, California looks Down Under for advice on surviving the drought

FILE – In this July 13, 2002, file photo, sheep wander parched land near a dry reservoir on a Condobolin property, 460 kilometers (285 miles) northwest of Sydney. On the world’s driest inhabited continent, drought is a part of life, with the struggle to survive in a land short on water a constant thread in the country’s history. The U.S. state of California is looking to Australia for advice on surviving its own drought. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

SYDNEY (AP) — California’s longest and sharpest drought on record has its increasingly desperate water stewards looking for solutions in Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent.

The struggle to survive with little water is a constant thread in the history of Australia, whose people now view drought as an inevitable feature of the land poet Dorothea Mackellar dubbed “a sunburnt country.”

Four years into a drought forcing mandatory 25 percent water cutbacks this year, Californians have taken a keen interest in how Australia coped with its “Big Dry,” a torturous drought that stretched across the millennium, from the late 1990s through 2012. Australia’s city dwellers had to accept tough water restrictions as cattle collapsed and died in barren fields, monstrous wildfires killed 173 people, and scores of farms went under.

But by the time the rains returned, Australia had fundamentally changed how it handles water, following landmark reforms to more carefully mete out allocations and cutbacks. Today, Australia treats water as a commodity to be conserved and traded. The system also better measures what water is available, and efficiency programs have cut average daily water use to 55 gallons, compared with 105 gallons per day for each Californian.

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Crystal Geyser to tap Siskiyou County groundwater

By Peter Fimrite
May 9, 2015 Updated: May 12, 2015

Filling bottles from headwaters of Sacramento river in Mt. Shasta. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Shara Fish of Mount Shasta carries bottles filled with spring water from the headwaters of the Sacramento River in Mount Shasta, Calif., on Tues. April 28, 2015. Crystal Geyser is opening a bottling plant nearby without any environmental review or limits at a time when everyone else in the state is being asked to drastically cut water use. California’s non-existent laws on groundwater use allow this.

A private water bottling company will soon be sucking up thousands of gallons a day from an aquifer that feeds the Sacramento River, the primary source of drinking water for millions of thirsty Californians struggling to cope with a four-year drought.

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Earthjustice’s Top Stories in May

To All,

Here is a link to Earthjustice’s Top Stories in May that include a Mega-Mall near Grand Canyon, More Entangled Whales, and Industrial Hog Facilities, and Agent Orange in Herbicides.  See these and more at this link:

Top May Stories from Earthjustice

Larry

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Vineyards Comment Regarding Too Many Straws

To All,
When I moved to Sonoma County 30 years ago, I loved the vineyards…but they were all dry farmed back then. Over the years I have watched in dismay, then horror, at the forest-to-vineyard conversions, as the non-food ag spread like a cancer across the land. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is also the Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency; if you look up “conflict of interest” in the dictionary, you will see their pictures. I cannot imagine why this has never been taken to the Grand Jury. I have gone to hearings again and again to oppose the spread of wineries; but as soon as the landowner talks about how much property tax they will be paying, all the Board sees is dollar signs. When well permits are issued, essentially, they are selling a product they do not know exists. As many local homeowners have their wells dry up, there must be accountability; their water has been sold. Vineyards near me have 800+ foot deep wells, where the average resident has 100-150 feet; it’s just a matter of time. And in the end, what is good for the fish is good for us.
All of us who like to drink water, breathe clean air, and all that sort of radical environmentalist stuff, (most vineyards spray their vines every month with pesticides and other chemicals, which of course, drift onto adjacent lands and end up in the creeks and all waterways), need to get together and stand up for our waters. I keep telling the Board of Supes that if they simply must allow even more wineries and vineyards, then stop issuing well permits: let them buy water and have it trucked in, or buy recycled wastewater. This is classic abuse of the Commons: a few profiteers taking everyone’s resources. There are too many people to continue to allow this abuse (and not nearly enough fish). And the growers are organized and wealthy beyond our dreams; if we don’t band together and fight, we’ll go the way of the Coho.

Reverend Jane Eagle

Posted in Agriculture Impacting Water, Salmonid/Wildlife Impacts, Streams and Wetlands Impacts, Vineyards, Watershed Related Concerns | Leave a comment

WILL PARRISH: Too Many Straws In the Russian

Will Parrish
May 15, 2015
Ukiah, TheAVA

Too many straws in the Russian river

On April 21st, officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board sent joint letters to property owners in four of the Russian River’s largest tributaries imploring them to conserve water on behalf of a federally-listed endangered species: Coho salmon. Its subject header was “Urgent Voluntary Drought Initiative Request to Maintain Stream Flow for Coho Salmon in Reaches of Green Valley, Dutch Bill, Mark West, and Mill Creeks, Tributaries to the Russian River, Sonoma County.”

When forester and hydrologist Jim Doerksen returned from vacation last week and read the letter, he was – as he terms it – “insulted.” Doerksen’s property features nearly a mile of Mark West Creek frontage. As Doerksen is intimately aware, having owned his property since 1967, the creek was once known for its thrashing, silvery surges of salmon and trout. But the first of the four horsemen of fisheries collapse – habitat degradation, dams, weakening of the genetic pool through the use of hatcheries, and over-fishing – have taken an enormous toll.

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Enviro NGO Greenwashing and the Cult of Hopium

Fueling Destruction and Denial While the Biosphere Burns

Naomi Klein states, “Very deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups…. it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost.” —Salon, September 5, 2013

Since the early 1990s multinational corporations have acquired the allegiance and acquiescence of nearly every mainstream environmental group through purchase with corporate foundation funding, most notably from the Pew and Tides Foundations. They have also bought the Democratic Party through campaign financing. These two cabals of corruption act in unison as new armor that not only shields one another from public scrutiny over enacted destructive policies, but through collaborations and partnerships aid and abet their corporate masters.

These big pseudo green and little pseudo green corporate foundation- funded environmental groups, which we will label the Environmental NGO Greenwashing Complex (EGC), provides cover for Democratic Party politicians while the Party does the bidding of multinational corporations.

Full article: Enviro NGO Greenwashing and the Cult of Hopium

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Votes Tabulated on HR 1732 for Repealing Clean Water Rule

On May 12th,  the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1732, a bill which would require the EPA to withdraw their proposed clean water rule and essentially start the process over from scratch. With the Republican majority in the House, the bill passed by a vote of 261-155.

24 Democrats voted the wrong way, but the good news is that this is less than the 35 Democrats who voted the same on a similar bill last year. And, this means that the opposition has failed to garner enough support to override a promised presidential veto.

Here are the Democrats that voted the wrong way.

Ashford- NE
Bishop- GA
Bustos- IL
Carney- DE
Clyburn- SC
Cooper- TN
Costa- CA
Cuellar- TX
Danny Davis- IL
Delaney- MD
Graham- FL
Gene green- TX
Robin Kelly- IL
SP Maloney- NY
Peterson- MN
Richmond- LA
Schrader- OR
David Scott- GA
Sinema- AZ
Swalwell- CA
Torres- CA
Veasey- TX
Vela- TX
Walz- MN

The following Democrats had voted the wrong way in the past, but voted for clean water yesterday.  Send thank yous to these offices!

Cleaver- MO
Farr- CA
Fudge- OH
Garamendi- CA
Hastings- FL
Kirkpatrick- AZ
Loebsack- IA
Ruiz- CA
B. Thompson- MI

I’ll keep you posted with more updates as they come.

Best,

Kimberly

Posted in Drinking Water issues, Environmental Impacts, Watershed Related Concerns | Leave a comment

Status on Attack on the Clean Water Rule, HR 1732

Last night the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1732, a bill which would require the EPA to withdraw their proposed clean water rule and essentially start the process over from scratch. With the Republican majority in the House, the bill passed by a vote of 261-155.

24 Democrats voted the wrong way, but the good news is that this is less than the 35 Democrats who voted the same on a similar bill last year. And, this means that the opposition has failed to garner enough support to override a promised presidential veto.

Here are the Democrats that voted the wrong way.

Ashford- NE
Bishop- GA
Bustos- IL
Carney- DE
Clyburn- SC
Cooper- TN
Costa- CA
Cuellar- TX
Danny Davis- IL
Delaney- MD
Graham- FL
Gene green- TX
Robin Kelly- IL
SP Maloney- NY
Peterson- MN
Richmond- LA
Schrader- OR
David Scott- GA
Sinema- AZ
Swalwell- CA
Torres- CA
Veasey- TX
Vela- TX
Walz- MN

The following Democrats had voted the wrong way in the past, but voted for clean water yesterday.  Send thank yous to these offices!

Cleaver- MO
Farr- CA
Fudge- OH
Garamendi- CA
Hastings- FL
Kirkpatrick- AZ
Loebsack- IA
Ruiz- CA
B. Thompson- MI

I’ll keep you posted with more updates as they come.

Best,

Kimberly

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Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Illegal Dumping of Toxic Oil Waste Into California’s Imperiled Water Supplies

Will Rostov
Staff Attorney, Earthjustice
May 7, 2015
San Francisco, CA

Environmental groups challenge ‘emergency’ rules permitting unlawful contamination of protected aquifers

Injection Well - Photo by Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources

This is DOGGR outrageously re-writing the law to allow needless and unlawful contamination of drinking water during a severe drought for the benefit of the oil industry.

A lawsuit filed today by environmental organizations seeks to halt illegal oil industry operations that are dumping millions of gallons of toxic oil waste a day into California’s dwindling underground water supplies.

The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, challenges recently unveiled “underground injection control” regulations from California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

The regulations allow oil companies to continue injecting oil industry wastewater and other fluids into protected aquifers until February 2017, in violation of state and federal law and despite a water-scarcity crisis caused by the worst drought on record. DOGGR pushed the rules through in just a few days, characterizing inconvenience to the oil industry from interrupting its illegal  injections as a public “emergency.”

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U.S. Government Recommends Lower Level of Fluoride in Water

DOUGLAS MAIN, April 27, 2015

FILED UNDER: Tech & Science, Water Fluoridation, Public Health For the first time in more than 50 years, the federal government has recommended lowering the level of fluoride in drinking water.

Since 1962, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) suggested that public tap water contain between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter. But on Monday, the department said now it’s recommending that the level not exceed 0.7 milligrams per liter (which is the same as 0.7 parts per million, or ppm). The announcement comes as no surprise; the DHHS first proposed making this change in 2011, and most large cities have already lowered their fluoride levels accordingly. Water utilities add fluoride to the taps of two-thirds of Americans for the purpose of reducing cavities. Higher levels of fluoride have been shown to increase the risk of dental fluorosis, a staining of the teeth. Mild cases lead to white spots, while more severe ones can cause brown stains and mottling. The most recent data shows that 41 percent of American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 have some form of fluorosis, a number that continues to rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week The DHHS said in a statement on Monday that the move should reduce the chance of developing fluorosis while still helping to prevent cavities. When the 0.7 to 1.2 ppm recommendation was first made, there were fewer sources of fluoride. “While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues,” said Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Dr. Boris Lushniak. “Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products.”

The American Dentistry Association and public health researchers lauded the announcement. But some don’t think it goes far enough.

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