Sunday, June 14, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: California Cuts Corporate Water Consumption

$hutting of the $pigot, $o to $peak:

"Calif. orders record water use cuts" Associated Press  June 13, 2015

SACRAMENTO — As California grapples with a relentless drought, state regulators on Friday ordered farmers and others who hold some of the strongest water rights in the state to stop all pumping from three major waterways in one of the country’s prime farm regions.

The order involving record cuts by senior water rights holders in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and delta watersheds followed mandatory water curtailment earlier this year to cities and towns and to farmers with less ironclad water rights.

You know which is which, right, citizens?

The waterways targeted Friday in the order by the State Water Resources Control Board provide water to farms and cities in the agricultural-rich Central Valley and beyond.

Economists and agriculture experts say growing of some crops will shift in the short-term to regions with more water, so the water cuts are expected to have little immediate impact on food prices.

The curtailment order applies to 114 entities — including individual landowners and water districts serving farmers and small communities — with claims dating back to 1914 or before.

It will force thousands of water users in the state to tap ground water, buy water at rising costs, use previously stored water, or go dry.

This article just did.


I'm trusting the EPA to look after the water, and the planning is well underway.

Same day, same page photograph

The worst since the 1940s, they say, and it's only worth mentioning in a pair of photos

Besides, more important things happening down in Louisiana:

"Louisiana court blocks release of ‘Angola Three’ inmate" New York Times   June 13, 2015

NEW ORLEANS — A three-judge federal appeals court panel ruled Friday against the immediate release of Albert Woodfox, who has served nearly four decades in solitary confinement for the murder of a prison guard, deciding that he should stay in prison as the state appeals a federal order to free him.

Woodfox is the last imprisoned member of a group known as the Angola Three, a trio of politically active prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement.

Woodfox has been convicted twice in the 1972 murder of the prison guard, Brent Miller, 23, but both convictions have been thrown out on constitutional grounds.

The state has reindicted him each time, most recently in February, after a federal appeals court upheld a decision to vacate his second conviction.

On Monday, US District Judge James J. Brady not only ordered Woodfox’s release but also took the unusual step of barring the state from putting him on trial again.


This might leave you all wet:

"NY Times Applauds While Israel Robs Palestine of Water

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | May 30, 2015

The New York Times invites us to gaze with wonder on the miracles of Israeli technology today, with a page 1 photo and story touting the innovations that have saved the country from drought. Because of wise policies and applied science, we learn, “there is plenty of water in Israel.”

The Times never tells us, however, that a significant number of those who reside on the land are seriously deprived of water: Palestinians in some areas of the West Bank are forced to survive on only 20 liters of water a day per person, well below the World Health Organization minimum of 60 liters. In Gaza 90 percent of the water is unfit to drink.

Meanwhile, Israelis in West Bank settlements “generally have access to as much running water as they please,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and Israelis over all use three times as much water as Palestinians. Settlers also confiscate West Bank springs, and Israeli security forces destroy water equipment in Palestinian villages and prevent their residents from building cisterns and wells.

In the Times story, “Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought,” Isabel Kershner writes that Israel is thriving because it has adopted recycling and desalination. She quotes at length from Israeli officials but includes not a single Palestinian voice.

Kershner manages to dismiss Palestinian concerns in two sentences: “Israel, which shares the mountain aquifer with the West Bank, says it provides the Palestinians with more water than it is obliged to under the existing peace accords. Palestinians say it is not enough and too expensive.” She feels no need to address the humanitarian crisis Israeli has created in confiscating Palestinian water for its own use.

In fact, Israel steals the water from under the feet of Palestinians, draining West Bank aquifers, allocating 73 percent of this water to Israel and another 10 percent to settlers. Palestinians are left with 17 percent, and many are forced to buy from the Israeli water company at rates up to three times as high as the tariffs charged Israelis.

Kershner omits any mention of the obvious inequalities between Israeli West Bank settlements and the Palestinian villages nearby. Settlements often have swimming pools and green, watered turf, while villages remain dusty and dry, without enough water for agriculture or even for home gardens.

The Times has also turned its back on news that underscores the outright theft of water in Palestine. It had nothing to report, for instance, when settlers recently surrounded a Palestinian spring with mines and barbed wire. The paper also remained silent when security forces destroyed pipes providing water to an impoverished Jordan Valley herding community earlier this year.

Many organizations, however, have spoken out. The United Nations, the World BankAmnesty International, B’Tselemchurch groups, If Americans Knew, and others. They have issued reports and press releases noting that Israel violates international law in confiscating Palestinian water resources and highlighting the striking disparities between West Bank villages and Jewish settlements.

Kershner found none of this worth mentioning in her story today. Instead, we find a promotional piece that should benefit Israeli water specialists now peddling their products in California and other drought-stricken areas of the United States.

Editors and reporters are complicit in this effort to tout Israel as an enlightened and technologically advanced country, even in the face of its flagrant theft of Palestinian water. The New York Times has found an Israeli puff piece on water technology to be worth a front page spread, but it deems the criminal confiscation of this basic resource unfit to print.


Israel will bring you water and a wee bit more. Hope this post slaked your thirst.


"Zoo animals on the loose after deadly flooding hits Georgia" by Michael Birnbaum Washington Post  June 15, 2015

TBILISI, Georgia — Escaped lions, tigers, bears, and a hippopotamus from the Tbilisi Zoo were roaming the streets of the Georgian capital Sunday, after flooding killed at least 12 people.

Georgian leaders asked residents to stay inside as they sought to track down the escaped animals. The hippopotamus swam from its enclosure and onto the central Heroes’ Square, eating leaves off a tree before being shot with a tranquilizer dart in front of a Swatch store.

The animals on the loose created a dangerous backdrop for rescue efforts. Rescuers used rafts and inflatable boats to reach people trapped by flooding. At least one lion and one bear were shot and killed by police officers, and a hyena chased a security guard across part of a university campus before it, too, was killed.

Officials said the flooding in the Georgian capital was the area’s worst natural disaster in recent memory....



"Tiger shot after killing man in Tbilisi" Washington Post News Service  June 18, 2015

TBILISI, Georgia — A tiger that escaped a flood-ravaged zoo was shot dead in central Tbilisi on Wednesday after killing a man working on disaster relief.

The tiger attacked residents of Georgia three days after flooding destroyed Tbilisi’s zoo, swept away homes, and killed at least 19 people. Zoo officials had initially said all of the animals were accounted for.

Camouflaged special forces officers swarmed the area near the zoo to hunt down the tiger after it fatally mauled the relief worker in a clearing house for construction supplies.

On Sunday, lions, bears, crocodiles, and hyenas went on the loose from the flood-damaged Tbilisi zoo, where the rising waters had killed bears, lions, and other animals.

Many of the wayward animals were shot. Others, including a hippopotamus, returned to the zoo.