CB Green Report: Federal Bailout Won’t Make A Dent in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Problems

California Water Salazar

Last week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the federal government would provide California with $260 million to help update its antiquated water system and finance projects to relieve the state’s water woes. And California stands to receive a substantial portion of the $135 million in grants allocated for state water recycling and reuse programs. In essence, California is getting a water bailout.

There’s no questioning the fact that California’s water system needs the money. And with the recent placement of the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta as the most endangered river system in the nation by American Rivers, it’s apparent that the state needs all the help it can get.

California’s massive system of reservoirs, pumps and canals, built a half century ago, was designed for a population half the size of the state’s 37.7 million, Salazar said after a helicopter tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Associated Press.

However, the question that begs asking is – will the federal stimulus funds fix the Delta problems?

Spreck Rosekrans, an Economic Analyst for the Environmental Defense Funds, thinks the spending should be scrutinized because many of the problems associated with the environment in general and water projects in California and in the West in particular are that they’ve been paid for with subsidized dollars. And he bets that these projects would not have been cost-effective if the people who benefited from them had to pay for them. In fact, the projects would not have been constructed at all – like some of the California dams.

“We’ve sort of been on this campaign to get good sound economics into the environmental equation, said Rosekrans about the mission of the nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund, which is known for using science to evaluate environmental problems as well as develop and advocate solutions in what many experts call a “nonpartisan, cost-efficient and fair” manner.

“Thinking that if we do so, we’ll make smarter choices. It’s not the only factor of course but it’s important.”

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CB’s Green Report: Southern California Water Supply Cut 10 Percent
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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to reduce its water deliveries across the region by 10% this summer.

The water board has hinted for months that a major reduction was coming down the pipe due to drought conditions (for the past three years) and restrictions on water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Basically, there is more demand than available supply.

As the water district’s general manager, Jeffrey Kightlinger summed it up nicely with – “We’re short.”

These are the agency’s first cuts to residential water users since the early 1990s drought. According to the North County Times, “the agency cut deliveries 17 percent in 1991 and 10 percent in 1977.” The cuts will begin on July 1 and last for a year.

And there is more bad news for Southern California residents. In addition to a smaller water allocations, the water rates will increase about 26 percent (on average) on Sept. 21.

“The era of big lawns is over,” said Bob Yamada, water resources manager for the San Diego County Water Authority.  “I think we’re going to have to make some lifestyle changes with regard to how we use water, and particularly how we use water outside.”

The Los Angeles Times explains the new reductions and its penalties:

“The Metropolitan Water District, which imports water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta and the Colorado River and sells it to local water districts, will achieve the reductions by imposing penalty rates. Local utilities that use more than their allocation will have to pay more.”

If Southern CA has been waiting for a signal to implment mandatory conservation…they certainly got it yesterday from the MWD,” twittered Ryan Alsop of the Long Beach Water Department.

Yet, the Los Angeles City Council just rejected the LA Department of Water and Power’s proposal to increase water rates and face penalties to encourage residents to decrease water consumption by 15 percent. The Council asked for more time to review and vet the proposal. Meanwhile, Long Beach has instituted a successful conservation program (pdf) over 21 months ago. Just last month, it “hit a 10-year low in consumption, or 14% drop in average water use.”
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CB’s Green Report: California’s Water System Gets Federal Bailout
Salazar & Schwarzenegger.jpg

Big news for California and its water supply — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledged $260 million in federal stimulus money to help California modernize its outdated water system and ease its water problems.

Salazar and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger went on a helicopter tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Wednesday. The federal official saw first-hand California’s overtaxed water system of reservoirs, pumps and canals (designed to supply water to only half of the state’s 37.7 million population), which were built more than 50 years ago.
The federal funds will help California deal with the drought and institute an updated system.

“It is time to modernize, it is time to make hard choices and it’s time for the federal government to re-engage in full partnership with the 21st century water system for the state of California,” he said to the Associated Press.

Salazar plans to use money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create jobs in California and aid its water supply problems.

“From boosting water supplies and improving conservation to improving safety at our dams, these shovel-ready projects will make a real and immediate difference in the lives of farmers, businesses, Native American tribes and communities across California,” Salazar said to Reuters.

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CB’s Green Report: Restore The Delta Says Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Water Challenges Can Be Solved

sacramento-san-joaquin-delta

This week the American Rivers released its America’s Most Endangered Rivers reports and lists the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta in California, which nearly 25 million Californians depend on for drinking water, in the number one spot. Thousands of farmers as well as the commercial and recreational fishing industries also depend on California’s single most important natural resource, according to the report.

American Rivers claims that this Delta is in bad shape because of the “outdated water supply and flood management systems have put at risk the ecosystem and thousands of Californian families and businesses that depend upon it.” The report also cites years of mismanagement, neglect and conflict as part of the Delta’s problem.

To save the natural resource, the report said that the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other water users must develop a workable, sustainable plan “to restore the ecosystem, secure water supplies and reduce the risk of floods.”

Many would call this water issue in the Central Valley of California a challenge. Others say there is an impossible fight being waged over the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, the Campaign Director of Restore the Delta, sums up the entire situation by saying: “It’s the day of reckoning.”

At first glance, her statement may sound harsh. However, Barrigan-Parrilla explains that the major problem for the Delta is that the state water resources control board over the years has implemented water projects through the years, which move water in California from north to south, that granted water rights at about 8 1/2 times the total amount of water available – and that’s in a wet year.

“The way water rights have been distributed in California, and who has truthful access, is basically the equivalent of a ponzi scheme,” says Barrigan-Parrilla. “And that is the number one problem.”

With so little water available, there is no wonder people are fighting over it. And then, the situation gets even more complicated with increased pressures from population growth, water contamination due to farming practices, climate change and drought conditions (which are debatable according to Restore the Delta and Michael Fitzgerald of RecordNet.com.)

The fight for water comes from many concerned and effected parties in the Delta and beyond. And this is where Barrigan-Parrilla’s organization has gotten involved. According to Restore the Delta, their two and a half year old organization is attempting to work with all the groups – Delta residents, business leaders, civic organizations, community group, faith-based communities, union locals, farmers, fishermen and environmentalists – “to make the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable” for California. The group with more than 2,500 supporters also “seeks to strengthen the health of the estuary” and the Delta communities as well as “improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.” Given the situation, their goals sound not only incompatible but also somewhat impossible.

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Los Angeles Unified School District Is Leading the Way In Solar Education

With the current economic crisis, rising unemployment and dwindling oil reserves, many people including President Obama are talking about developing a green economy. One Los Angeles school district is well on its way to training tomorrow’s green workers. Check out the video.




Coming Soon at 1 p.m. Caramel Bella Live Blogging for CNN at Ted “Ideas Empowered” Conference

Today I will be blogging live for CNN at the Ted “Ideas Empowered” conference being held at USC. The stated goal:

“To bring together leading minds from USC and beyond to share ideas, hear entertaining and thought-provoking talks on important and surprising topics, and inspire innovation that will ultimately make real impact. A partial list of this year’s speakers and performers include a rock star that has sold more than 25 million albums, one of the creators of the most complex scientific instrument in the world, and an inventor who is restoring sight to the blind.”

The topic is somewhat of a mystery. To peak your interest a bit, I’ve been told we’re discussing issues like the Big Bang theory, saving the world, breeding fish, and a whole bunch of other topics.

Here is a sample of what you can expect to hear about from a previous conference in March.

Stay tuned. The event begins at 1 p.m. today (PST) / 4 p.m. (EST). Don’t miss my live blogging — get a heads up on what today’s thought leaders are thinking.

See you at 1 p.m.,

The Caramel Bella




First Video Blog: CB’s Green Report

As promised, I’m beginning my foray into video blogging. I’ve decided to start with my Green Reports. If you have a couple of moments, please watch my first episode of The Caramel Bella’s Green Report. And check out my YouTube channel, which will be my show’s home! I’d love to hear your comments. And I promise.. they’ll get better over time.

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




CB’s Green Report: Obama Means Business on Green Energy

It only makes sense that this week’s Green Report focus on the environment and the Obama administration after his joint session of Congress address on Tuesday. The Pres has some big ideas to help the environment. In fact, his top priority was energy, which includes producing more renewable energy and reducing America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East. Woo hoo!

shaleland

Colorado Oil Shaleland

So, it comes as no surprise that President Obama is reversing more of former President George W. Bush’s policies on oil shale. In fact, his Administration recently removed the leases for another round of oil-shale development projects on federal lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Ken Salazar, Obama’s Interior Secretary, withdrew a proposal for additional research and oil shale leases due to economic and environmental concerns. He thought the previous proposal in January for research and development on 1.9 million acres was flawed. Salazar told MSNBC that new proposals will “help answer critical questions about oil shale, including about the viability of emerging technologies on a commercial scale, how much water and power would be required, and what impact commercial development would have on land, water, wildlife, and communities.” Now, that’s environmentally responsible leadership.

And President Obama has plans to put his money where his mouth is. His proposed budget, released by the White House recently, would call for $15 billion a year to develop clean-energy technologies, which include solar and wind power. The funding to fight climate change and the country’s dependence on foreign oil would come from auctioning off carbon pollution permits, starting in 2012 (more on this below). Obama’s commitment to tackling climate change is fantastic but Congress is ultimately in charge of the budgeting. And the House and Senate haven’t written a bill yet that regulates greenhouse gases and collects money to do so. Let’s see what Congress and the President can devise to stop global warming.

factory_moe

Environmental change calls for big bucks and a new funding system. To pay for his environmental budget to fight global warming, Obama proposes a “cap and trade” system. Basically, the federal government would require companies like power plants and industrial facilities that emit greenhouse gases linked to global warming to purchase permits. It’s like a costly swap-a-roo. If a company exceeds their greenhouse gases limit (read: cap), then they must buy credits from those that are emitting less.

This new revenue stream could bring in $78.6 billion to the Treasury by 2012. And the auctioning of emission allowances as outlined by the Obama plan is predicted to usher in a whopping $645.7 billion between 2012 and 2019. This is no small change and no small difference. The plan would “cut total emissions 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.”

And Obama’s thinking of the little guy too. His proposed plan would take 80 percent of the anticipated revenue (or $526 billion) and subsidize the higher energy costs of low- and middle-income folks through tax credits. And the rest of the dough would go towards alternative, clean energy initiatives. Good thinking Pres!




The Dangers of the Rihanna Photo Leak

rihanna_090220_mn

The country is going nuts over the Rihanna and Chris Brown story in which he allegedly hit her. And more recently, TMZ’s battered and bruised photo of Rihanna was leaked all over the internet. Has anyone stopped to wonder if the photo leak was a good idea. First of all, poor Rihanna. What about her privacy rights? How could the Los Angeles Police Department leak this photo? It’s like someone should have to pay for her privacy breach. It’s bad enough that she had to go through this whole incident without seeing a picture of her battered face splattered on the front page of several magazines and all over the Internet (I hate posting the picture here).

And recently, an ABC News story reports that Rihanna’s unauthorized photo may discourage other domestic violence victims from reporting the abuse. “For victims who see these kinds of pictures it’s all too real,” said Bea Hanson to ABC News.  Hanson is “chief programming officer at victim assistance agency Safe Horizon in New York City, who routinely treats women who have endured domestic violence.” The media and the police (who leaked the photo) seems to have gone too far — and with little regard to the women both organizations claim they want to protect.




Weave Saves Life..Unbeweaveable

We all know that hair weaves are the latest beauty craze. From Beyonce to Britney Spears, most celebs are donning hair extensions to look even more fab (which is highly debatable). But what if weaves served a greater purpose? Like saving someone’s life? That’s what a Kansas City woman claims. After ending an 8-month relationship with her boyfriend, Briana Bonds says he tried to shoot her after an incident in a grocery store parking lot. Instead of the bullet reaching her head, it got lodged in her tightly woven weave! “I now believe the weave paused the bullet, and didn’t let it go any further. Really I think God was in my passenger seat. He protected me,” said Bonds to police officers on the scene. This whole story is just unbeweaveable…




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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