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The 90 Day Plan

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yahoo! News Story - BP to conduct test to show if Gulf well dead - Yahoo! News

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BP to conduct test to show if Gulf well dead - Yahoo! News

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The 90 Day Plan - Day 88: Engage your Peers, Write a letter to the Editor

DAY 88

Design a conservation project or presentation to inform others about what you have learned over the last three months.  Consider the importance of getting other people involved and why it is critical to raise awareness.

Challenge:  Write a letter to the editor (any editor), as to what role people should play in addressing water pollution in your community.


The 90 Day Plan - Day 87: Blow the Whistle on Pollution

DAY 87

BLOW the WHISTLE on pollution.  If you don’t speak up, who will?  If you have questions about safe water call: (800) 426-4791.  Simply put: if something is not right, it is wrong. 

Challenge:  Who is Rachel Carson?  Volunteer and become a trained to monitor water. 

Extra Challenge:  Are you registered to vote?  Why is this important?


For More Information:


Thursday, September 16, 2010

FW: Call Now to Stop GE Salmon


See Your Alert Online

Food & Water Watch: Advocating for our right to safe, affordable, healthy food and water.

Make a Call Now to Stop GE Salmon!
Join the National Day of Action by Making a Quick Call to the White House

September 16, 2010

Dear Guy,

You Can Help Stop the Approval of GE Salmon!

Make a Call to the White House Now

If you don't want genetically engineered salmon to end up on your plate, we need you to make a call to the White House today. President Obama can stop the approval of these Frankenfish; we just need to raise the visibility of this issue. Can you take 30 seconds and make your call now?

The Food & Drug Administration is on track to approve genetically engineered salmon for people to eat in just four days. President Obama has the power to stop this approval.  We're working to get in over 1,500 calls to the White House today. Can you take a moment and make a call right now?

The FDA has a flawed process for approving these GE salmon and unfortunately for us, the process isn't focused on what happens to people who eat genetically engineered animals. If the FDA moves forward, these salmon would be the first GE animals approved for human consumption. 

Can you make a call as part of our National Day of Action to ask President Obama to stop the approval of genetically engineered salmon?

Thanks for taking action,

Sarah Alexander
Outreach Director
Food & Water Watch


Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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The 90 Day Plan - Day 86 Register or Adopt Your Watershed

DAY 86

Using the link below, REGISTER (or adopt) YOUR WATERSHED and take some level of personal responsibility for keeping it healthy.

Challenge:  Where does your watershed begin?  How far does it extend?  What are current concerns facing your watershed?  What solutions, if any, are being implemented to correct any damage done?  Organize a clean-up effort for your local waterway.


For More Information:


FW: [ACWA eNews] ACWA e-News for September 15, 2010

ACWA e-News for September 15, 2010

ACWA's e-Newsletter is a weekly roundup of California water news and events. To manage your subscription, click here.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Battle Creek Restoration Project

Submitted by Sarah Langford on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 4:43pm

After a decade of cooperative planning, federal and state officials held a groundbreaking ceremony today for the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project near Manton in Northern California.

Representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and California Department of Fish and Game symbolized the project's kick-off by turning a wheel at Coleman Dam along the banks of the South Fork of Battle Creek.

·         Read more

Delta Stewardship Council Committee Meets to Review Proposed Early Actions in Delta

Submitted by Sarah Langford on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 3:37pm

A committee of the Delta Stewardship Council is meeting today and tomorrow to review and consider proposed early actions for possible inclusion in the Delta Interim Plan, adopted Aug. 27 by the council.

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Corps of Engineers Rates Central Valley Levees 'Unacceptable'

Submitted by Sarah Langford on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 3:20pm

A periodic maintenance inspection of 10 Central Valley levees by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found seven to be in "unacceptable" condition. 

The rating means the levees' deficiencies threaten their performance during a flood or storm, and makes them ineligible for federal repair dollars in the event of flood damage.

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Survey Finds Irrigation Decisions Driven by Outside Factors

Submitted by Lisa Lien-Mager on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 9:56am

A recent survey found a majority of San Joaquin Valley farmers have adopted water-efficient practices but on-farm irrigation decisions are still driven largely by factors beyond their control.

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ACWA Comments on Ocean Plan

Submitted by Lisa Lien-Mager on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 9:53am

ACWA has submitted comments on the proposed scoping document for the California Ocean Plan adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board. ACWA's comments focus on provisions regarding desalination facilities and brine.

The State Board has scheduled a public hearing to solicit comments on all issues related to the Ocean Plan on Sept. 22 in Sacramento. 

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Fall Congressional Outlook Reflects Elections, Unfinished Water Items

Submitted by Lisa Lien-Mager on Thu, 09/09/2010 - 4:47pm

When Congress returns Sept. 14 from its summer recess, D.C. insiders are predicting little action will take place on remaining big-ticket items such as appropriations or tax bills.

Instead, with a targeted Oct. 8 adjournment date and the November elections rapidly approaching, the agenda seems more likely to be consumed with electoral posturing, ongoing ethics controversies, and an attempt at limited energy legislation.

·         Read more

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Deadline for ACWA's 2010 Outreach Awards Program is Oct. 4

Submitted by Sarah Langford on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 4:09pm

The deadline is fast approaching for members of ACWA's Outreach Program to record their interactions or submit copies of letters for the 2010 Outreach Awards. Letters must be received no later than Monday, Oct. 4.

Throughout the year, ACWA has asked its members to take action on several important legislative and policy issues, including:

·         Read more

Submissions for ACWA's Fall Awards Must Be Received by Oct. 1

Submitted by Sarah Langford on Wed, 08/25/2010 - 4:13pm

Nominations and entries for ACWA's Emissary Award and Theodore Roosevelt Award are now being accepted. The deadline to submit application materials is Oct. 1.

ACWA's Emissary Award was established in 2006 and recognizes individual ACWA member volunteers who have made remarkable and visible contributions to the enhancement, protection or development of water resources in California by participating in, supporting and advancing ACWA's goals. Nomination forms may be downloaded here.

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Delta Vision Foundation Roundtable

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 2:00pm - 6:00pm


CA Chamber of Commerce Conference Room, Esquire Tower Office Bldg, 14th fl, 1215 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814


Delta Vision Foundation invites you to a Water Leaders Roundtable and Conversation with Chairman and Members of Delta Stewardship Council


Sacramento event will focus on the framework to monitor and evaluate progress on implementation of the Delta Vision Strategic Plan.


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Delta Stewardship Council meeting

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:00am - 4:40pm


Secretary of State's Office Auditorium, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

The Delta Stewardship Council is charged with protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the critical role it serves in the water supply for millions of Californians and its unique ecosystem and way of life.


·         Read more

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ACWA Region 4 Folsom Dam Tour

Wed, 09/29/2010 - 10:00am - 3:00pm


7794 Folsom Dam Road, Folsom, CA 95630

In addition to flood protection, Folsom Dam provides water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use; generates about 10 percent of local hydropower needs, maintains water flows and temperatures for fish and wildlife; provides flows for Bay-Delta water quality; and offers recreation to some 2 million visitors annually.

This project is a Joint Federal Project which is an unprecedented partnership amongst the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, Central
Valley Flood Protection Board and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency.


·         Read more

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ACWA's Continuing Legal Education Workshop

Thu, 09/30/2010 (All day) - Fri, 10/01/2010 (All day)


Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco

The comprehensive water package, which was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor last year. This historic package contains four policy bills along with an $11.14 billion general obligation bond proposal that voters will consider on the November 2010 ballot.

Get the latest on how these issues, and more, impact the legal and policy framework in which water agencies must operate.


·         Read more

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Registration Deadline Approaching: ACWA Regions 8, 9 & 10 Joint Fall Program and Tour

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 8:00am - 5:00pm


Cucamonga Valley Water District, 10435 Ashford St., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

"The Salty Truth: A Look at Salt Management Practices"

ACWA Regions 8, 9 & 10 invite you to a one day program and tour on salt management practices in the Santa Ana groundwater basin. Please join us to hear expert panelists for a morning program and take an exciting hands-on tour in the afternoon. Tour locations include, Arlington Desalter, Inland Empire Bio Solids Treatment Plant, and much more!

Registration deadline is Sept. 20.


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ACWA Regions 6, 7, 8 & 10 Tour

Thu, 10/21/2010 (All day) - Sat, 10/23/2010 (All day)


San Joaquin Valley

This event has been cancelled due to low registration. Please contact the appropriate ACWA Regional Affairs Representative with questions or for more information.


Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:00am - 3:00pm


Central Basin Municipal Water District, 6252 Telegraph Road, Commerce, CA 90040

"Avoid the Pitfalls: Navigating Through Urban Water Management Planning"

ACWA Region 8 invites you to a oneday program to learn more about the required elements of Urban Water Management Plans. The program is designed to look at successful and unique UWMP's and dissect what works and what doesn't. The program will also discuss the nexus between UWMP's and water supply assessments. With the deadline nearing for completion of plans, don't miss out on this informative program!

Who: ACWA Region 8 Members


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ACWA 2010 Fall Conference & Exhibition

Tue, 11/30/2010 (All day) - Fri, 12/03/2010 (All day)


Renaissance Esmeralda, Indian Wells

Join ACWA at our 2010 Fall Conference & Exhibition

Renaissance Esmeralda,

Resort and Hyatt Grand

Champions Resort & Spa

Indian Wells, CA


·         Read more

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The 90 Day Plan - Day 85: Stay Informed

DAY 85

What you don’t know can hurt you and the environment.  Awareness is a critical component of conservation; whether it is keeping other people up to speed or yourself, STAY INFORMED and make your own decisions.  Knowledge is power.  What are sentinels or “what is the canary in the coal mine?”  What can indicator species tell us about our actions as humans?


Challenge:   Research some environmental and/or conservation organizations, do you like any?  Subscribe to their online newsletter.   What does Surfrider’s State of the Beach Report say about your favorite beach?  Use this link to find out:


For More Information:


Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice | Video on

Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice Video on

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lake Powell vs. Lake Mead

Yesterday we reported on Lake Mead and its dangerously low water levels possibly preventing its ability to generate power in the near future.  Upstream, Lake Powell has sustained an increased level (by about 30 ft.) over past 3 years.  Is the Lake Mead crisis partially due to interstate water rivalries?

The dam at Lake Powell restricts the flow to Lake Mead and the border of Lake Powell is shared by Arizona and Utah.  Meanwhile, Lake Mead shares borders with Nevada and Arizona, but distributes its water to California as well. 

Without assessing the absolute acre/ft retained by Lake Powell, it would be a calculation beyond simple mathematics due to shape size, depth, bathymetry, etc... does it make sense that these two areas are not playing nice?  Is Lake Powell restraining more than its fair share?

The 90 Day Plan - Day 84: Think Globally, Act Locally!

DAY 84

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY!  Consider the planet and how your actions are part of a much bigger picture.  Continue to make a difference in your world; you never know how big your ripple will grow.  We’re in this together.

Challenge:  Investigate the term: ‘Water Rights.’  Who can rightly claim water?  What is your prediction for ‘Water Rights’ disputes in the future?   How does watershed management fit into thinking globally and acting locally?


For More Information:


Monday, September 13, 2010

The 90 Day Plan - Day 83: Get Involved

DAY 83

Consider one or two things you would like to see improve in your world and GET INVOLVED.  Even as individuals, it all adds up and there is no limit to the difference we can make.

Challenge:  Don’t waste time doing anything other than following your passions.  The following link will show you how BIG of a RIPPLE one person can have:


For More Information:


The 90 Day Plan - Day 82: Advocate for Marine Protected Areas (MPA)

DAY 82

Humans are an inter-tidal species.  Become an ADVOCATE for MARINE PROTECTED AREAS, MPAs.  These areas increase the survival potential and population density for marine life by giving them a sanctuary to feed and reproduce. 

Challenge:  What is America’s Exclusive Economic Zone?  How large is it compared to our land?  What is the total square mileage for our National Parks vs. MPAs?  What are three substantial threats to fish populations and how can more MPAs help to prevent a bad situation from getting worse? 


For More Information:


The 90 Day Plan - Day 81: Plan an Expedition

DAY 81

PLAN an EXPEDITION to explore an environmental issue anywhere in the world.  Someday, make this plan a reality.


Challenge:  What are some significant discoveries explorers have made that helped to shape your world today?


For More Information:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Historic levels of Lake Mead

Lake Mead Water Levels — Historical and Current

Vertical Axis Units: Feet above Mean Sea Level

FW: Hoover Dam story

North County Times


 Hoover Dam could stop generating electricity as soon as 2013, officials fear

Dropping water levels imperil power flowing to Southern California

After 75 years of steadily cranking out electricity for California, Arizona and Nevada, the mighty turbines of the Hoover Dam could cease turning as soon as 2013, if water levels in the lake that feeds the dam don't start to recover, say water and dam experts.

Under pressure from the region's growing population and years of drought, Lake Mead was down to 1,087 feet, a 54-year low, as of Wednesday.

If the lake loses 10 feet a year, as it has recently, it will soon reach 1,050 feet, the level below which the turbines can no longer run.

Those hydroelectric generators produce cheap electricity for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is responsible for pumping water across the Colorado River Aqueduct to hydrate much of Southern California.

Without that power, Metropolitan's costs to transport water will double or even triple, a district executive said.

That could result in a $10 to $20 a month increase in annual costs for residential customers, but could have greater impacts on business customers who use more water.

Federal and state water managers have been working to stave off that day, and two scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla who study Lake Mead believe that managers will never allow levels to get below 1,050 feet.

But Pat Mulroy, who runs the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said she has to worry about the worst-case scenario.

One of two intake pipes that pump water to Las Vegas is at that same 1,050-foot level.

"We're teetering on the first shortage right now," Mulroy said. "How quickly Mead goes down depends on which hydrology you look at; the Bureau (of Reclamation, which runs the dam) bases it on probability. But the whole probability analysis, because of climate change, has been thrown out the window. We’re experiencing anomaly after anomaly."

The decrease in water already experienced at Lake Mead has reduced output from the turbines from 130 megawatts of peak capacity to 100, according to Peter DiDonato, who runs the Hoover Dam's hydroelectric generators.

Each megawatt could power 650 homes.

Megawatts per foot

For every foot of elevation lost in Lake Mead ---- about 100,000 acre feet of water, or enough for 200,000 households ---- the dam produces 5.7 megawatts less power.

That's because at lower water pressure, air bubbles flow through with the water, causing the turbines to lose efficiency.

"It was designed as a high-elevation dam," DiDonato said.

The bureau is preparing for reduced elevations by testing a different type of turbine starting in 2012, one that can handle levels down to 1,000 feet, he said.

DiDonato is concerned about falling levels, but not too concerned. The government's 24-month forecast shows lake levels returning to 1,100 feet next year.

"The drought can't last forever," DiDonato said. "Eventually, the lake is going to fill up again. You have to hope it does."

Actually, the drought may not be a short-term emergency so much as a feature of a new, drier American West.

"To blame this on a drought that’s going to be over next year or something, that’s not correct," said Tim Barnett, a marine physicist at the Scripps Intuition of Oceanography in La Jolla. "This looks like the first harbingers of man's impact on the climate."

Barnett and his Scripps colleague, climate researcher David Pierce, wrote several papers on the hydrology of Lake Mead.

In a 2009 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the pair calculated a 50 percent chance that by 2025, users would not receive their full request of water from the Colorado River.

That would create water problems for Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico (which is at the end of the river), in addition to the lost megawatts from lower efficiency in the hydroelectric turbines.

Pierce recalculated their figures to determine the effects of increased demand from development and of climate change.

He determined that with no change in water management policy, there was a 20 percent chance that the turbines would have to shut off in 2025.

Wet century past

Also, natural cycles exacerbate the problem, Pierce and Barnett wrote.

The 20th century was the wettest in a millennium for the American West, based on research using tree rings.

If a reversion to historical water levels combines with climate change and continued increases in demand, there's a 20 percent chance that Lake Mead will fall below 1,050 feet next year, Pierce said in an interview.

But Pierce and Barnett don't think the government will allow that to happen.

Federal water managers can release more water from upriver Lake Powell, although no water was released this year.

And they can refuse to grant water requests in full, something that's never happened before, Pierce said.

Losing power from the Hoover Dam would raise expenses for Metropolitan and for Southern California Edison, both of which buy power for the dam at low rates. Edison has already begun preparations for lower power generation from the dam, which represents 0.3 percent of its portfolio, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for the utility.

The dam supplies 60 percent of Metropolitan's power needs, said Brian Thomas, chief financial officer and assistant general manager of the agency.

Without power from the dam, Metropolitan would turn to the spot electricity market and pay double or triple the cost, depending on how much less power the dam is producing.

Government agencies aren't sitting around doing nothing.

When Lake Mead falls to 1,075 feet, an austerity plan kicks in that reduces water deliveries by 10 percent.

Metropolitan and the Southern Nevada Water Authority are storing excess water from other sources in Lake Mead, and the Mexican government is in negotiations to do the same thing.

Metropolitan initiated a new energy policy last month that includes more efficiency and construction of 10 megawatts of solar panels, to offset loss of power from the dam.

Still, Barnett and Pierce are worried.

"It would be very foolish to think this is a short-term aberration due to a drought of three, four, five or even 10 years," Barnett said. "It's a resource that’s fully utilized. You can't get any more out of it. And nobody's talking about curtailing development."

Call staff writer Eric Wolff at 760-740-5412.

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