Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some Observations on Water

It's been over a month since I posted anything significant on water. Time has been short.  There is plenty to blog about so here are a few quick observations.

1. Tom McClintock keeps talking about benefit-cost analysis.  It's interesting to compare McClintock's approach to BCA to the PPIC/Davis way of evaluating investments in conveyance vs. levees. They are both wrong, but at least McClintock is consistent.

2.  The hearing in Fresno was actually not as one sided as I expected (perhaps my expectations have just gotten so low).  There were lots of references to our jobs reports, and it is always nice to see people using the information.

3.  Westlands is now saying the 2009 water shortage impacts on Valley agriculture were equal to or smaller than estimates I have made.  Yes, it's true.  I saw it in comments from Tom Birmingham and two declarations they submitted to Judge Wanger in the salmon case before they decided to drop their request for an injunction against the salmon biop since the issue is moot at the moment.  Maybe they should hire me for some consulting.

4.  The good, bad, and confusing in the Stewardship Council draft plans deserve comment.  But they issue a new draft plan before I can finish reading the last one.
5.  I have been learning about Delta levees.  I have been quiet on this subject since I am not an engineer.  But if Jay Lund can do economics, maybe I can talk about levees. 

One example of what I have learned can be seen by comparing Figure 12 in the executive summary of the DRMS report to DWR's Flood Safe maps from 2008.  This is important because that bright red island seen near Stockton in DRMS Figure 12 (>7% annual flood probability) is the same island outside the 200-year flood protection according to DWR's Flood Safe Assessment.  For those of you not from Stockton, that island is known as Brookside, was developed 20 years ago, has the most modern levees in the Delta, and is where most of the million dollar homes are in the city.  It looks like this one mistake skews the DRMS cost assessment by over a billion dollars (they are assuming an island with billions in real estate and business sales floods every 10-15 years). 

6.  I'm trying to control an overwhelming urge to scream/blog every time Tom Philp posts something.  I got over it with Michael Boccadero and Mike Wade comments, so let's hope it works for Philp too.

7.   I wonder what the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) thinks about Delta lawyers winning "takings" cases against the Department of Water Resources.

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