Skip to comments.Courts put huge California water pact in limbo
Posted on 11/20/2011 9:45:14 PM PST by SmithL
SAN DIEGO -- A landmark accord that ended decades of acrimony over how Southern California gets its water is in jeopardy.
A California appeals court is considering whether to overturn a 2003 pact that created the nation's largest farm-to-city water transfer and set new rules for dividing the state's share of the Colorado River. If a lower court ruling stands, consequences could ripple to six other Western states and Mexico, which also rely on the 1,450-mile river that flows from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez.
In January 2010, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Roland Candee gutted the pact in a sweeping, 52-page ruling that said the state of California - one of the signatories - violated its constitution by essentially writing a blank check to restore the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. California's largest lake is more than 200 feet below sea level and relies on water that seeps down from nearby farms. The sale of water to San Diego further threatens the lake's future.
The judge ruled that a state law committing California to save the lake no matter the cost set a dangerous precedent for the government to pledge money to other projects it couldn't afford.
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
...the state of California - one of the signatories - violated its constitution by essentially writing a blank checkA California judge actually said THAT?!?!
why doesn’t superman fly in a glacier and set it in the lake... oh that’s right the glaciers are melting too fast because of global warming.
This is the result of too many people trying to live in a desert. If push comes to shove I can get water with a bucket and a 100m walk.
Desalination takes HUGE amounts of energy which we’re going to get from what? Windmills?
Hah! The only practical energy source would be nukes and that won’t happen.
I got news for them, the river no longer makes it to the Sea of Cortez. The water all gets sucked out before it gets there.
Nope, just the people in the desert using too much water of idiotic uses. Other than that, the desert is great. How's the weather where you are today?
Lived in SDiego County for 10 years and I have done as much as I can to reduce my water consumption. The stupid article mentioned low flow toilets. What a joke. That doesn’t save any water. Outside of industrial use, the biggest consumption is landscaping and it is ridiculus. San Diego is a desert and people should treat it as such. Consumers should be encouraged to rip out their yards and plant low water use plants and succulents. That would do more to reduce personal consumption than anything else, certainly more than low flow toilets and shower heads.
For example, I have removed all the grass from my front yard and replaced one half of my front yard with a paver patio, and the rest of it, and my side yard has low water use plants and succulents. I still have grass in my back yard because that is a play area, but we are looking at reducing that as much as possible too. The big thing is shutting off your sprinkler system during the rainy season. It is amazing how many homes and businesses will have their sprinklers systems on while it’s raining!
To give you an example, my monthly water consumption in the rainy winter months is 2-3 units per month. In the hottest driest summer months (Aug/Sep) it is about 14 units. So I use about 5-7 times more water in the summer... all because of landscaping that I have worked very hard to minimize. If I got rid of my back yard, I estimate my water consumption would still be 8-10 units in the summer to keep my shade, fruit trees, native plants and succulents alive.
On top of it, the cities and states don’t encourage the use of gray water systems (reclaimed water from laundry and bathrooms, minus toilet wastewater), and rainwater collection systems. The stupid regulations are so prohibitive that no one would spend the money to put the systems in because they are so cost prohibitive. For example, it is illegal to add rain barrels to your downspouts unless they are sealed systems because they breed mosquitos that can carry west nile virus. And the gray water systems have to be sealed underground systems also because of health concerns in spreading reclaimed water on the surface. But I guess their are no health concerns with letting your dog do their business in your yard!
Some home owners have installed artificial grass in their yards, but just last week the city of Glendale outlawed artificial grass in front yards. No one knows why, but it was probably the landscaping businesses that complained. As you can imagine, landscaping is BIG business in SoCal, so that is what is really driving all the water usage. The more water, the more plants, the more maintenance of the plants, and the more need for mexican gardners.
The whole Salton Sea mess is another fiasco. The Salton Sea is actually a MAN MADE inland sea that was created by a failure of the Colorado Levy System decades ago. So it’s not even a natural wetland, but it has existed so long that the enviromentalists treat it like a natural wetland. Sure it will affect wildlife if it disappears (mostly birds and fish), but these wouldn’t have existed anyway if Nature had it’s way because their never would have been a Salton Sea.
It’s so sad to see all the destroyed farmland in the central valley. Farmers are losing not only row crop production, but even drought tolerant crops like grapes, and nut and fruit trees are threatened. It’s so stupid to lose more industy (agriculture) to Mexico and South America because Californians can’t live without their lush tropical landscapes. I’m against over regulation, but there really is no common sense out here regarding how to manage water in a desert.
Great response. Why this is not already in place is what we should be asking the idiots in charge.
“California does happen to be next to the pacific ocean.
With large desalinization plants they could be a freshwater exporter.”
They don’t want to assume the costs, instead they want to take everyone else’s water. Its only when rural inland Califorina have no more to take that they will look into desalinization.
One of the hypocritical aspects of the leftist urbanizes. They are all pro-green as long as its with someone else’s land & life the more distant the better.
Yep, they have the perfect solution, nukes and desalinization, but won’t do it.
One of the hypocritical aspects of the leftist urbanizes. They are all pro-green as long as its with someone elses land & life the more distant the better.
Out of sight, out of mind. I know it’s human nature to be this way but the Greenies take it to extremes.
“The Salton Sea is actually a MAN MADE inland sea that was created by a failure of the Colorado Levy System decades ago”
You be correct, in fact you are the only person that I have ever met? that actually knows this. At the time it was a “Manmade Disaster” that flooded a small town and created the Salton Sea. By the way the water was specifically brought in by and for the FARMERS, not city folks.
Me too, me too. But then, I ran away from California insanity 30 years ago and never looked back.
-——which were going to get from what? -——
The precedent is Saudi Arabia........ off shore gas
Thanks for the perspective. I would never learn this otherwise. It’s mindless policy but it comes from the left, so no suprise.
First of all, I don't know where in San Diego County you are, but the local micro-climates and soils can vary significantly, so please don't take what I'm about to say as 'uninformed about local conditions' as I simply cannot know more until you provide a precise location. I have family all over that region, from Encinitas and Del Mar to Escondido. My family came to that area at the turn of the last century, my grandfather graduating from El Cajon High in a class of 5 students. So I'm familiar with your area. Over the last 20 years, I have also restored native grasslands where we live to a purity not found anywhere in California (according to the California Native Grasslands Association). So I do have a few things to say about your system.
If you go to native grasses (such as Stipa or Danthonia), you can augment their drought tolerance by allowing them to do what they usually do to protect themselves while simultaneously doing something that is almost unheard of for native plant systems. Let them go dormant. They'll look dead. They're not. When they do, they sacrifice roots. That puts organic matter into the ground for the bacteria, nematodes and annelids to process slowly producing the deepest and cheapest compost you didn't have to buy or turn in. When the rains come, either mow them hard or burn them off (better).
I assume you have sandy soil with relatively little clay. If so, 25% by volume ground charcoal can do a lot to retain water and nutrients. I have had native clovers growing big and green in August without any additional water here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where it can get every bit as hot as down there. The reason was charcoal; it literally sucks moisture into the soil. Late germination had been stimulated by spring burning. You see, we don't understand all of the reasons why the Indians burned but in this case, it may be that they had a process to assure summer greens to eat.
I would ask you especially to learn about your native annuals. They can do a lot for a soil, or (if you get the wrong flavors) wreck it. But this is a real opportunity to help bring back the only truly endangered plant systems we have: annual forbs. These were the foodstuffs upon which the tribes depended. The processes for cultivating and harvesting are unknown, so you'll be on the cutting edge of science in your area.
For the most part, the Indians grew annual forbs, not perennials. For the most part, these plants were locally adapted. So it makes little sense to go to a "native plant nursery" when those varieties may not be adapted to your soil. Unfortunately, it may well be that your native varieties are long extinct, but if you do have a wild area nearby, some sleuthing in search of what you like may work out well. If you want resources to identify them, there may be a good photographic flora book for your area. Try to learn the general types and relationships, and then look around your place. To dial in closer, the UC Jepson, Jepson Horticultural Interchange, CalFlora, and CalPhotos can be a big help. You might also get some free advice from your local chapter of the California Native Plant Society.
As to how to collect, you can ask me. As you know, most of these groups are full of leftist ideologues, so if they tell you something that doesn't make sense, FRmail me and I'll do what I can. The more you learn, the more you'll realize that most of their projects are tragic exercises in desperation. They just don't get stewardship.
“The Salton Sea is actually a MAN MADE inland sea that was created by a failure of the Colorado Levy System decades ago
You be correct, in fact you are the only person that I have ever met? that actually knows this. At the time it was a Manmade Disaster that flooded a small town and created the Salton Sea. By the way the water was specifically brought in by and for the FARMERS, not city folks.”
I aware aware of this fact as well it was a fact I found curious given the courts determination to preserve it.
The other fact I found curious is the resulting nature of the sea consisting of run off guarantees it can only become more toxic over time. Sooner rather then later it will be a completely dead sea.
They should let the sea evaporate(they can’t reasonably stop it), perhaps intentionally organize it in such a way that the minerals that so pollute the sea can be easily regathered, sold off, and reused.
Very interesting Carry, it seems your California brother & Sisters could indeed learn a thing or 2 about California’s natural plant-life & cycles in other to better manage both their water and yards.
But I suppose this might require an alteration in the cultural stipulation that values very green yards?
Perhaps you should encourage your liberal friends to focus their crusading attention upon that cultural stimulation and instead claim natural yards are beutifull yards?
Beyond that I’m sure as an engineer and naturalist you may be able to come up with alternative systems of plants to adapt to the new conditions demanded by man.
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