Will there be enough water for these Greater Sandhill Cranes when they return to the San Francisco Bay Delta this fall?
With the state’s snowpack down to 5% of average, the lowest ever recorded, Governor Brown has mandated a 25% water use reduction. This is the first time an involuntary water reduction mandate has been imposed. Although the means to meet this mandate has been left up to the local water districts, Brown’s executive directive includes some public assistance to replace 50 million square feet of lawns statewide with drought tolerant planting as well as reducing water use on golf courses, cemeteries and large institutions. There will also be a short-term rebate program to “provide monetary incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.”
It is important to note the inclusion of concerns for “degraded habitat for many fish and wildlife species, increase wildfire risk, and the threat of saltwater contamination to fresh water supplies in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta” in his declaration. The Fresno Bee reported today that 50.2% of water use in California is by the environment, 40.9% by agriculture and 8.9% by residents and businesses. Although the 25% reduction is directed only at residential and business uses, water that goes to agriculture will now be closely monitored and evaluated for future plan making. This is an important step.
Everyone needs to use water wisely so that we may have enough water to drink, enough water for wildlife and their habitat, as well as enough to grow our food. The farmers in the Central Valley have already been hit hard with spartan allocations for the year. Produce prices will inevitably rise due to the higher cost of water, and the effect of the California drought will be felt across the country. It all comes down to the availability of water. Let’s all conserve. There is no more water, and what we have we are using up.
* Posted from San Francisco by Barbara Folger, NWNL Project Coordinator.
WHAT YOU CAN DO to protect our water resources: Support the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers –
It’s critical we all have clean fresh water! The EPA and USACE are proposing a clarification of their rules that protect our water quality by addressing upstream impacts on downstream communities. Ending loopholes in the 1970’s Clean Water Act will stop the free dumping of toxins into small streams and wetlands. This will affect some farmers’ use of pesticides and herbicides; but it will encourage restoration of riverine corridors and wetlands that filter such toxins. In the long-run, a tighter Clean Water Act will benefit us all.
THE WHITE NILE RIVER BASIN: One third of Africa’s populations reside in and depend on the natural resources of the Nile River Basin. The White Nile (2300 miles, 3700 km.) is punctuated by Lakes Victoria, Albert, Edward and Kyoga. Climate change, population growth, pollution and infrastructure are currently threatening the natural resources and balance of this watershed.
INDIVIDUAL and cooperative fishing, and water acquired via buckets and pumps, are the two traditional major uses of the Ugandan branches, tributaries and lakes in its White Nile River Basin. Today this watershed’s dramatic waterfalls challenge the adventurous rafters but are one by one being taken over to power hydro-electric dams. The No Water No Life March–April 2010 expedition to this region focused on the impacts of infrastructure projects such as these dams, limestone and oil mining, highway bridges, and Kampala hotels’ new golf courses.
NWNL documented issues including:
Forest and wetlands: The headwaters face deforestation, dam proposals and increasing settlement.
Lake Victoria: Pollution and invasive species threaten the livelihoods of 30 million lakeshore inhabitants.
Climate change: Increases in floods and droughts are greatly impacting this watershed.
US Washington, Columbia River Basin, aerial view from helicopter of Grand Coulee Dam
Canada: British Columbia, Kinbasket Lake Resort, west shore of lake, tree stumps on lake shore that BC Hydro cut down before initial flooding of dam
The Columbia is one of the most hydro-dammed river basins in the world with some dams now over 70 years old. These dams change downstream water flows, and stop fish migrations. They are also buckling under decades of accumulated polluted sediment. The pressure is on for decommissioning many of these older dams, and 2 large ones on the Columbia have been removed recently – keeping the decades of that polluted sediment behind them from rushing downstream.
The Columbia is typical of many rivers that are heavily polluted by agriculture, industry, nuclear plants, livestock farms, and human waste. And now many of those pollutants are too deeply embedded for us to remove.
Nature could have done that clean-up job, but we’ve destroyed too many of the natural filters that would freely purify our dirty water: forest, wetlands, oysters…
THE TENNESSEE AND OHIO RIVER NO WATER NO LIFE EXPEDITION HAS JUST ENDED!
How many miles did Alison’s ’88 BMW (a.k.a. Black Beauty)
travel within the Tennessee and Ohio River Basins
during No Water No Life’s 5 week documentation of the
values and vulnerability of fresh water resources in
WV, VA, NC, TN, AL, MS, KY, IL, IN, OH, and PA?
It only costs $5 for each guess you submit! Submit as many as you want! (Submit by Nov 8th!)