National Geographic ScienceBlogs: Diablo Canyon, Climate Change, Drought, and Energy Policy

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By Peter Gleick, President Emeritus and Chief Scientist

June 24, 2016

The announcement that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will close the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant when its current operating licenses expire in 2025 has caused what can only be described as consternation mixed with occasional conniptions among the nuclear industry and some strongly pro-nuclear groups.

That’s understandable. Diablo Canyon is aging, but is not the oldest nuclear plant in the fleet and PG&E could have chosen to push for a renewal of the license to continue operations for many more years. Diablo Canyon’s two reactors are also California’s last operating nuclear plants, following the closure many years ago of Rancho Seco near Sacramento, and more recently, the last of the San Onofre reactors. As such, the closure is symbolic of the broader woes of the nuclear power industry in the United States, which has been unable to build new reactors and is seeing the current reactors being shuttered, one by one.

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Sustainable Water Jobs

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Published: January 2013
Authors: Eli Moore, Heather Cooley, Juliet Christian-Smith, Kristina Donnelly, Kristian Ongoco, Daryl Ford
Pages: 96

The Pacific Institute released a comprehensive study, Sustainable Water Jobs: A National Assessment of Water-Related Green Job Opportunities. The report finds that proactive investments increasing efficient water use and re-use will both address growing problems associated with drought, flooding, and contamination and create jobs in a wide range of professions. The study identifies 136 different kinds of jobs involved in implementing sustainable water strategies, from plumbers to landscapers, engineers to irrigation specialists. Thirty-seven of these job types are also projected to have high growth in the overall economy, with each projected to have more than 100,000 job openings across industries by 2020.

The Pacific Institute identifies numerous sustainable water occupations that are accessible to workers without advanced degrees. Twenty-eight of the 37 occupations with 100,000 job openings by 2020 generally require on-the-job training, with some requiring previous experience and associate’s degrees or technical training, but not bachelor’s or graduate degrees. This translates to a more feasible pathway to employment for adults without formal education beyond high school.

Video: Sustainable Water Jobs and Disadvantaged Communities
Conversations with the nation’s top organizations working to link disadvantaged communities to sustainable water jobs
 

“This research indicates that water policy can expand demand for workers without bachelors or advanced degrees if occupational training programs and pathways to jobs are created,” said Eli Moore of the Pacific Institute. “However, the occupations with median wages below the national median demonstrate that measures to improve job quality must also be a priority.”

In addition, the study finds an investment of $1 million in alternative water supply projects yields 10-15 jobs;  in stormwater management, 5-20 jobs; in urban conservation and efficiency, 12-22 jobs; in agricultural efficiency and quality, 14.6 jobs; in restoration and remediation, 10-72 jobs.

“It’s key to include local hiring and minority hiring requirements and incentives that increase contracting and hiring with individuals from local and disadvantaged communities,” said Moore. “Water utilities, state water agencies, and planning departments should consider job quality, training, and targeted hiring as an integral component of sustainable water project design and implementation.”

Federal mandates that require water improvements and promote green strategies – such as the recent stormwater guidelines and green reserve programs in State Revolving Funds – work to meet anticipated water resource needs in ways that improve, rather than ignore, social equity, ecological conditions, and long-term sustainability of human-ecological systems. They also make labor demand more predictable and allow for more effective planning of green jobs programs.

“There is great potential for partnerships between labor, business, water experts, community organizations, and policy makers to design projects and policy that are a win-win for jobs and for water improvements,” said Moore. “Such partnerships can align worker training and certification with industry and community needs and design policy that maximizes creation of high quality jobs.”

The study also developed six individual case studies of organizations that provide training and employment in sustainable water jobs: Amigos de los Rios in Altadena, CA; Groundwork Portland in Portland, OR; Limitless Vistas in New Orleans, LA; Sustainable South Bronx in Bronx, NY; Verde in Portland, OR; and ¡YouthWorks! in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Download the full report
Download the Executive Summary

Download the Training and Employment Case Studies:
– Amigos de los Rios in Altadena, California
– Groundwork Portland in Portland, Oregon
– Limitless Vistas in New Orleans, Louisiana
– Sustainable South Bronx in Bronx, New York
– Verde in Portland, Oregon
– ¡YouthWorks! in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Strategies for Water Security in Developing Country Cities: Building Resilience in the Urban Water Sector

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Published: December 1, 2011
Authors: Meena Palaniappan, Veena Srinivasan, Michael Cohen, ISET
Pages: 108

“For the past 15 years, since I have got married in this household, I have been getting up at 4:00 am, transporting 10-15 liters of water from the valve to my house, which is on the second floor. The valve is about a kilometer from my house.  This practice has not only generated health problems but also sapped us of the energy to make more than two rounds. Children too are involved in the transportation of water.” – Woman resident of Nayapura, Indore, India, August 2009

Thousands of cities in the developing world face rising pressures on water provision due to population growth and urbanization, and climate change worsens these impacts. Coordinating the formal and informal water sectors, improving water storage and management, and bringing community voices into water planning are critical to sustainably providing water, especially for the urban poor who are most vulnerable to water scarcity. A new report, Climate Change and Urbanisation: Building Resilience in the Urban Water Sector – a Case Study of Indore, India, from the Pacific Institute, the Institute for Environmental Transition (ISET), and TARU Leading Edge provides detailed analysis of the water situation in Indore, India and shows a way forward to a more secure water future for developing country cities.

While in developed country cities, the government or formal sector often exclusively manage water supply services, in developing countries other informal ‘water managers’ also become important. In these cities, thousands of people rely on self-supply, directly accessing the water source itself through private boreholes, or they obtain water through the private water market, where water vendors supply water through water tankers and treated drinking water. In Indore, like most developing country cities, the urban poor have limited access on all three fronts: the formal system is unavailable to them, private markets are unaffordable, and self-supply is not an option because they are landless.

“People in developing country cities like Indore manage water daily, wondering where they will get water from that day, how long they will wait for it, how much they will pay for it, what the quality of that water will be, and whether that water will be there tomorrow,” said Meena Palaniappan, director of the Pacific Institute International Water and Communities Initiative. “From our comprehensive look at Indore, we identified a set of climate and water resilience strategies that are relevant for people who are water managers at every level in developing country cities, from the household to the utility, and it’s a mix of both conventional and sustainable water management strategies.”

The Climate Change and Urbanisation report recommends policy and tool solutions to ensure that the systems and the infrastructure for the provision of basic services are managed in a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable manner:
– diversify water supply (Indore, for example, relies on one primary and energy-intensive source: the Narmada River);
– increase access to municipal supply/improve infrastructure;
– increase water storage at all levels (municipal and household);
– promote water-use efficiency and reuse;
– implement equitable water rates;
– improve water quality;
– reduce energy dependence; and
– improve connections among all stakeholders in the sector.

Download the full report.
Download the Executive Summary.
Download the Press Release.

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California Farm Water Success Stories: Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Juliet Christian-Smith

A fourth-generation farmer on the Oakdale Ranch, John Stephens worked with Audubon California to improve water quality, drainage, and wildlife habitat on his property by restoring Willow Slough, which runs through his property. This work addressed major watershed concerns in the area, including a lack of vegetated riparian corridors and high rates of erosion and sedimentation of local waterways, as identified by the Yolo County RCD and Cache Creek Watershed Stakeholders Group. In the future, Stephens hopes that his riparian restoration project will be linked to other projects, creating a healthy riparian corridor along the length of Willow Slough.

 

 
The Farm Water Steward Award was established to recognize leaders and innovators in water stewardship across the California agricultural community. Yolo County farmer John Stephens was the 2012 recipient of the Farm Water Steward Award for his work with Audubon California to improve water quality, drainage, and wildlife habitat on his property by restoring Willow Slough, which runs through his property. The award was jointly presented by the Pacific Institute. Read more

 

The Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, outlines the cost and benefits of riparian restoration projects.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
John Stephens of Oakdale Ranch, Yolo County

John Stephens and Chris Rose talk about the restoration of Willow Slough.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– Integrated Regional Water Management: Kings Basin
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
Recycled Water and Agriculture
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency

California Farm Water Success Stories: State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Juliet Christian-Smith

 
A variety of grant and loan programs along with water rate structures are available that provide financial incentives for agricultural producers and water districts to make water management improvements.

The case study State and Federal Financing Accelerates Efficiency: Panoche Water and Drainage District and Sierra Orchards, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, focuses on several that have provided financing to update irrigation systems and implement best water management practices on farms and throughout irrigation districts.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
Craig McNamara, Walnut Grower, Yolo County

Craig McNamara discusses his use of drip irrigation, tailwater ponds, and sediment traps on his farm. McNamara emphasizes the importance of cost-shares to help farmers implement water stewardship practices.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– Integrated Regional Water Management: Kings Basin
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Recycled Water and Agriculture
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use

California Farm Water Success Stories: Integrated Regional Water Management

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Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Cristel Tufenkjian

 
State of California policy (SB1672) encourages local land- and water-use planning entities to work collaboratively within a region, to establish common water resource management goals and objectives, and to develop a regional planning framework that integrates land, water, and habitat projects called Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM). In response, a number of agencies and organizations in the Central San Joaquin Valley have been working together over the last several years to create a coalition of water agencies, cities, counties, and environmental interests in the Kings Basin to deal with the most pressing water issues in the region, namely groundwater depletion, water supply reliability, and water quality.

The Intergrated Regional Water Management: Kings Basin Water Authority case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, describes the creation of the Kings Basin Water Authority and its efforts to collaboratively manage shared groundwater resources.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
Dave Orth of Kings River Conservation District


Dave Orth, general manager of the Kings River Conservation District, describes integrated regional water management planning in his region.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Recycled Water and Agriculture
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use

California Farm Water Success Stories: Recycled Water and Agriculture

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Peter Schulte

 
Growers in California are increasingly looking to recycled water as a way to consistently meet their irrigation demands in the face of growing water scarcity and pollution concerns. Though the volume of recycled water used in California has more than doubled in the last two decades, there are still a number of barriers hindering it from more widespread use.

The case study Using Recycled Water on Agriculture: Sea Mist Farms and Sonoma County, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, explores how Sea Mist Farms and Sonoma County successfully use recycled water for agriculture and describes the costs and benefits from the application of water reuse.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
Dale Huss of Sea Mist Farms, Salinas Valley



Dale Huss describes the use of recycled water on agriculture in the Salinas Valley.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Integrated Regional Water Management
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use

California Farm Water Success Stories: Smart Irrigation Scheduling

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Lucy Allen

 
Wise use of irrigation water is a top priority for California growers, and many different practices and technologies can help improve on-farm water-use efficiency. Therefore, increasing the amount and quality of information available to growers is an essential first step in efficient irrigation.

With smart irrigation scheduling, growers are able to use their water more efficiently, either by reducing or by keeping constant the amount of applied water, while maintaining or improving yields. The Smart Irrigation Scheduling: Tom Rogers’ Almond Ranch case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, analyzes the costs and benefits of smart irrigation scheduling. Tom Rogers found significant water savings and increased yields associated with irrigation scheduling on his ranch.

The Farm Water Steward Award was established to recognize leaders and innovators in water stewardship across the California agricultural community. Madera County almond grower Tom Rogers is the 2014 recipient of the Farm Water Steward Award for his leadership in smart irrigation scheduling. The award was jointly presented by the Pacific Institute, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and Ag Innovations NetworkRead more.

 

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
Tom Rogers, Almond Grower, Madera County 

Tom Rogers talks about monitoring soil moisture levels to better manage water on his almond farm.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
– Recycled Water and Agriculture
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Integrated Regional Water Management
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use

California Farm Water Success Stories: Groundwater Management in Pajaro Valley

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Authors: Morgan Levy, Juliet Christian-Smith

 
Balancing groundwater and surface water use can be complex in regions where neither is abundant. Groundwater is a finite resource, and therefore groundwater must be “recharged” after use or refilled. Therefore, in regions where both surface water and groundwater supplies are essential to maintaining a reliable water supply, water districts must manage the interactions between surface water and groundwater.

The Groundwater Management in Pajaro Valley case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, describes an innovative water district’s conjunctive use program that follows these principles and an agricultural industry-led group implementing local water conservation efforts, all with the aim of reducing groundwater overdraft in future years.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
//

Dan Balbas of Reiter Berry Farms

Dan Balbas is a berry grower for Reiter Farms, producing berries that are marketed under the Driscolls label. Balbas discusses what farmers and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency are doing to address the groundwater problem.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture 
– Integrated Regional Water Management: Kings Basin 
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits 
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Recycled Water and Agriculture 
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration

California Farm Water Success Stories: Industry Driven Standards for Efficiency

Posted on:

Published: December 8, 2011
Author: Courtney Smith

Improving the use of agricultural water and other natural resources can reduce the risks that come from water scarcity, and many individual farmers have taken proactive approaches to improving how they manage resources. Recognizing the numerous benefits that come from enlisting an entire industry, California winegrowers have taken a proactive approach to putting sustainable practices into action under the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP).

The Industry Driven Standards for Efficiency: The California Sustainable Winegrowing Program case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, reviews the self-assessment program which has provided the wine industry with many benefits including market advantages, data with which to communicate their progress to regulators, and a mechanism through which their farmers can identify opportunities to increase efficiencies, manage risks, improve product quality, and cut costs.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.

VIDEO
Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture and Former President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers


Karen Ross describes the formation of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which benchmarks, and seeks to improve, practices from the farm to the winery.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.

MORE SUCCESS STORIES:

– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Managing for Multiple Benefits
– Recycled Water and Agriculture
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Integrated Regional Water Management
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use

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