Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘drought’

Happy New Year, You’re the Bane of the World’s Existence

The Center for Biological Depravity…er, Diversity, announced its top 11 priorities for bringing the U.S. economy to a halt in 2011.  It was going to go with 12, but making sure Jerry Brown appointed an ultra-enviro to head California’s Resources Agency has already been crossed off the list.

As you’d imagine, this year’s agenda is filled with plans to protect a whole slew of species from various man-made dangers.  If you’re a wolf or a bluefin tuna, this just might be your year.  Humans…not so much.  After taking baby steps last year, the Center hid in the middle of its list a rather Maoist priority to “Challenge the Overpopulation Paradigm.”  That’s right Joe Citizen, you and your 2.3 adorable kids (and their future kids) now have big fat target on your back.  As if an economic meltdown and global terrorism weren’t enough.

We’ll continue to encourage other groups to tackle overpopulation this year. We’ll distribute hundreds of thousands of condoms and ramp up the overpopulation dialogue through high-profile projects, including a study on the connection between overpopulation and diminishing water supplies in the Lower Colorado River Basin, the Center’s unique newsletter, Pop X, and targeted actions to Congress.

We’ll be interested to see their study on the Colorado River, which is facing challenges.  But that’s more so from several years of drought than too many newborns from too many “What Happens in Vegas…” nights.

Maybe the Center is grabbing for headlines to boost its coffers.  Maybe it’s tired of fighting on the environmental front lines and has chosen to try the back door.  Maybe it just doesn’t care for chubby babies with good short games.  Maybe all of the above.

Either way, it’s time to come to grips with the fact that you and your family are the bane of the world’s existence.  Happy New Year!

Read the rest of the Center’s 2011 priorities here.

Water Weekly 3: Drama in California’s water news

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every Thursday, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

The Junk-science-man Cometh

The pseudo scientists at the Environmental Working Group have been at it again, drumming up public hysteria (and funds, presumably) by publishing yet another sloppy “scientific” analysis of nasty stuff in our water.  This time it’s Chromium 6, and hundreds of newspapers picked up the story, most not bothering to note that there’s no data whatsoever linking cancer to Chromium 6 in water supplies.  Or that cancer levels in the famous Chromium 6 town of Hinkley CA are below normal.  Still, EPA announced that based on EWG’s study, it would look into Chromium 6 in water. Sigh.

Read EWG’s analysis here

Read a typical rebuttal here

Read about Hinkley’s cancer rate here

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Negative Messages Create Skeptics

Doom-and-gloom emotional messages that paint pictures of the sky falling or the earth burning don’t work well when you are trying to change public opinion.  That’s what a new study by two Berkeley professors found when they studied the impacts of fact-based vs. emotion-based global warming messages.

The professors had one group of subjects read stories that began with facts, but ended with apocalyptic warnings, while the other half read positive stories that focused on solving problems.  Those who read the positive stories were less skeptical than the group exposed to doom-and-gloom messaging.

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Water Weekly 3: Up, Up and Up Again

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every Thursday, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

Election Round-Up

On Election Day as voters across the country re-defined the American political mainstream, Californians defiantly went up a different creek – whether they did so with or without a paddle remains to be seen.  In any case, the election was big news for water wonks.

  • At the local level, most water district incumbents did well.
  • At the state level, the Brown administration will be gray – the governor-elect has signaled he’ll surround himself with advisors from his first two terms, including water wonk Jerry Merrill.  One important water legislator, Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), went under.  Prop 23′s defeat will likely raise energy and compliance costs, and therefore rates.
  • Nationally, Jim Costa, the pro-water Democrat, lost to his Republican challenger, but all other prominent water folks were re-elected, including George “Fish before Farmers” Miller.  Of course, Carly Fiorina, who campaigned hard for water fixes (using messaging prepared by Laer Pearce & Associates) fell to Barbara Boxer, who has never seen a water infrastructure project she likes.

Read Jerry Brown’s water supply plan here

Read Barbara Boxer’s water supply plan here

Read ACWA’s election analysis here (more…)

The Water Weekly 3: Trout, Drought and Miscalculating Environmentalists

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

Pay-back Time?

We’ve been hip-deep in the Endangered Species Act for 20 years, so this is an ESA case we’re following with great interest:  Casitas Municipal Water District, which serves 65,000 Ventura Countians, is asking the Feds to pony up $87.3 million for water the district was forced to divert from its customers to endangered steelhead trout. Last time we checked, the trout were waaay behind on their water bills.  In 2008, a three-judge panel ruled the government did indeed take the water, going beyond mere regulation, and this week, the district’s lawyers presented their case.

Read the Ventura County Star article here

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LP&A Water Weekly 3: Politicians, problems, punch-outs and vampires

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

33 Years and Still in the News

Thirty-three years ago, when California’s governor was Jerry Brown (yes it was that long ago!), a fed climatologist warned Californians, “If the drought continues for merely another 30 days, we’ve got a good chance of another Dust Bowl!” That didn’t happen but this week we read an editorial in Water Efficiency Magazine that asks, “Are we looking down the barrel of an entirely new (and unprecedented) future in terms of water resource management?”  Nope.  Same old barrel, same troubling future.  Are we going to let another 33 years go by without fixing the state’s water problems? (more…)

Water Weekly 3: Unacceptable, illogical and tragic

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every Thursday, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here. This week:

Images of that little Dutch boy …

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week said levees in the Sacramento Delta towns of Stockton, Marysville and Lathrop are “unacceptable,” which means they’re vulnerable to failure, and if they fail, the towns can forget about receiving federal repair funds. Sacramento levees also flunked, but the city got a pass on the fund ban.  Levees were dinged for trees and other “structural intrusions,” erosion, cracking, and myriad other flaws evidenced throughout the Delta levee system.  The economic impact of a collapse of the Delta levees, BTW, is $40 billion.  It’s time for a fix!

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The Weekly 3: Land Development

August 9, 2010

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here each Monday, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  This week:

1. Will the Drought Contingency Plan squeeze future land uses?

The California Department of Water Resources didn’t go so far as to blame your picket-fenced bit of the ‘burbs for causing the state’s ongoing water crisis, but it is looking at limiting future land uses as part of the solution.  According to its newly released Drought Contingency Plan, “development intensity has a direct relationship to water supply,” and since the state’s thirst for water outstrips available resources, that means builders best prepare for more regulation and limits on what they can do with their property.

>> Read the Full Report

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Why the Old Ways of Talking Water No Longer Work

Amidst a recent hectic afternoon, one of our clients called to pick our brain about what LP&A sees as the latest trends in water agency communications.  Although it admittedly caught us off guard, it’s a great question that couldn’t have been posed at a better time, given the uncertainty of California’s water future and the swirling dynamics of public sentiment.  We share our answer below, but the bottom line is that the old ways of doing business no longer work in today’s changing environment.  Here’s why:

1. Water is no longer an issue that flies under the radar. These days water providers are asking a lot from their customers: Use less, pay more, vote for this (within the advocacy laws), don’t mind that sinkhole or pipe break.  Agencies that foster trusting relationships with their customers through proactive communications will reap the most benefits.

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Are your conservation messages in line with today’s decision?

I’m here at the highly anticipated board meeting of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where they just decided to declare a “Water Supply Allocation Plan Level 2.” This means Met will reduce deliveries to member agencies by 10 percent beginning July 1.

You can hear a collective sigh across the Southland, because this represents a considerable improvement over what water wholesalers and retailers in Met’s service area were anticipating just one month ago.

What Does This Mean For Your Conservation Message and Outreach?

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