Water Conservation and a Change in Climate Ends California Drought

Water scarcity is becoming a greater problem in our world as human demands for water increases due to population growth, industry, agriculture, and energy production. When the water supply is being pushed beyond its natural limits disaster may occur.  For California residents the end of the drought is good news.  Return of wet weather raises reservoir levels and effectively prevents wildfires.  However, another drought could be around the corner in years to come.  Thus government and water users need to remain vigilant and continue to seek ways to conserve and reduce water use.
ca-reservoirs 2017 End of drought.png
Figure 1. 2017 California Major Water Reservoir Levels
By Bark Gomez and Yasemin Saplakoglu, Bay Area News Group (1)
Friday, April 07, 2017 05:17PM

Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s historic drought Friday, lifting emergency orders that had forced residents to stop running sprinklers as often and encouraged them to rip out thirsty lawns during the state’s driest four-year period on record.

The drought strained native fish that migrate up rivers and forced farmers in the nation’s leading agricultural state to rely heavily on groundwater, with some tearing out orchards. It also dried up wells, forcing hundreds of families in rural areas to drink bottled water and bathe from buckets.

Brown declared the drought emergency in 2014, and officials later ordered mandatory conservation for the first time in state history. Regulators last year relaxed the rules after a rainfall was close to normal.

But monster storms this winter erased nearly all signs of drought, blanketing the Sierra Nevada with deep snow, California’s key water source, and boosting reservoirs.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.” (2)

References:

  1. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/08/what-permanent-drought-california-governor-officially-declares-end-to-drought-emergency/ 
  2. http://abc7news.com/weather/governor-ends-drought-state-of-emergency-in-most-of-ca/1846410/

Insecticide temporarily banned by Oregon Dept of Agriculture after Bees die in Wilsonville

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Safari and other dinotefuran insecticides have been banned by the Oregon Department of Agriculture while the state agency investigates the deaths of an estimated 50,000 insects in Wilsonville and Hillsboro.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>[…] Dinotefuran is a member of a type of insecticides called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids can be broken down into two groups: the nitro-group and the cyano-group. Dinotefuran is a member of the nitro-group, which has been shown to be more poisonous to pollinators.

The European Union issued a temporarily ban earlier this year on three other nitro-group neonicotinoids, which goes into effect this December.

The Washington state Department of Agriculture decided against banning the ornamental use of neonicotinoids earlier this month. Instead, the Washington department will “urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider whether additional use restrictions are needed when the products are applied to ornamental plants.” […]<

See on www.oregonlive.com

Honey bees under threat: a political pollinator crisis

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Daniel Lee Kleinman and Sainath Suryanarayanan: Recent controversies over honey bees remind us of their environmental and economic importance, but should also prompt us to reflect upon the structures of expertise we rely upon…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Despite the conclusion of beekeepers across the globe, based on their field research, that neonicotinoid insecticides were likely contributing to increased bee mortality, some chemical company representatives, scientists and government regulators dismissed or disparaged their findings. Our view is that commercial beekeepers have real-time observational knowledge of the crisis facing honey bee pollinators and that we should take their research seriously (see our Social Studies of Science paper for more). Our point is not to say that commercial beekeepers always know best. Rather, it is to argue for more genuinely participatory research that brings beekeepers’ knowledge and scientists’ knowledge into a creative and egalitarian dialogue toward a fuller understanding of why honey bees are dying.

[…]

The US government has opposed taking neonicotinoid pesticides off the market in the absence of conclusive evidence of their adverse effects on honey bees. The UK has taken broadly the same position. This is a classic dilemma in science. But it is not simply a matter of data. The US and UK governments share a value-based preference for false negatives over false positives. A false negative amounts to incorrectly concluding that neonicotinoid pesticides are safe when they might not be. Advocates of the precautionary principle share a preference for the reverse. They have supported taking the neonicotinoid pesticides off the market in the face of suggestive evidence based on scientific laboratory and field studies, and beekeepers’ observations. Given what is at stake here, we are on the side of those who prefer to err on the side of caution. And as policymakers and citizens increasingly confront complex challenges fraught with tremendous risk, we may want to make a precautionary orientation our default position.

We all eat and so we should all be concerned about the alarming uptick of honey bee deaths, but the current crisis can also be an opportunity to consider how to do things differently.<

See on www.guardian.co.uk