18 January 2011

Speed blogging

H/Ts to JC, DL and RM


  1. It would be interesting to see how disputes over "groundwater theft" would or could be resolved. After all, if one were to lower the level of the groundwater under one's (surface) property, unless that person is drawing from an occluded aquifer, groundwater levels will equilibrate, moving water toward the pumper's property.

    If this is pumping is done with this knowledge (and I would argue that it's pretty basic knowledge), then would it count as stealing?

  2. Capturing storm water for recharge in an urban environment that is right next to the ocean is a hard problem. LA has very large recharge facilities, but they're uphill, by Irwindale, where there's room (ie, old gravel pits). Getting rainwater that falls downstream of the recharge basins would require the construction and maintenance of enormous catch basins and pump-back facilities. Where do you put the basins? The land is essentially fully developed.

    It's possible that it's worth the price of building the facilities, but unlikely. It's probably more efficient instead to improve the ability of existing facilities to capture the rain that falls in the watershed of the county's rivers.

  3. David, have you taken a look at the bill that was introduced in Texas? (Senate Bill 332 text: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/; Another description of the bill: http://www.fraser.senate.state.tx.us/pr11/p011211a.htm)

    I don't think it's about ending the tragedy of the commons. It sounds to me like it's more about protecting the landowner's rights as a way to contest groundwater regulation. Any groundwater restrictions will be contested on grounds that they don't respect the rights and interests of current landowners. (I'd guess current landowners are more worried about losing their rights to pump than of having water stolen out from under them.) I think this is an attempt to keep the pumps running, not control them.

  4. @all -- thanks for the good comments!


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