Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

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Peter Gleick: Why California’s Current Drought Is Different

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In 1987, California was at the beginning of what would be a six-year drought – the second driest in the state’s history. Fittingly, that same year Peter Gleick helped to co-found the Pacific Institute, a global think tank that would become a leader in global environmental and California water issues.

In 1987, Gleick had just finished a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in the Energy & Resources Group, where his dissertation was the first to study the impact of climate change on water resources. Eager to use his background in climate science and hydrology in a multidisciplinary endeavor, he and graduate school colleagues launched the Pacific Institute, turning a $37,000 grant into an internationally recognized research institute that has just celebrated 29 years in existence.

Gleick’s academic training taught him that environmental problems are not technology problems, economic problems or political problems – but all of those things. That lens has helped inform the research perspectives at the Pacific Institute.

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Source:  Tara Lohan, Water Deeply, August 23, 2016

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This sustainable water management handbook for small wineries (Handbook) provides a set of tools for wineries to achieve goals for sustainable management of winery source water and process water, with the ancillary benefits of increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas generation. The Handbook is based upon the approach described in a full guide, The Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy (the Guide), but tailored to reflect a small production environment that uses water intermittently and has a small staff.

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Source:  California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, April 2014

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Vintner tests water-wise waste-to-energy innovation

Image result for d'argenzio winery + wastewater

Sonoma State University researchers are testing a new microbial treatment system that could allow greater reuse of winery wastewater for vineyard irrigation plus make electricity without methane combustion.

A pilot system was installed at D’Argenzio Winery in the Vintners Square commercial development on Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa in October. Researchers from the university’s Biology and Engineering Science departments are working with system developers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan to test a new version of a microbial fuel cell, or MFC.

The winery produces 3,000–5,000 gallons of process wastewater while making 3,000 9-liter cases of annually.

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Source:  Jeff Quackenbush, North Bay Business Journal, November 9, 2015

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Northern California Towns Are Running Out of Water


Paskenta, population 112, is an out-of-the-way place where rustic ranches grace grass-covered hills rolling west toward Mendocino Pass. Since the lumber mill closed in 1992, the Tehama County community 130 miles (210km) north of Sacramento has been settling into bucolic tranquility.

A water crisis has triggered a rude awakening.

Thomes Creek, the sole source of water for the Paskenta Community Services District, is dropping. A pump that taps the underflow from a pool in the creek is a mere 6ft (1.8m) below the current water level, said Janet Zornig, the district’s manager.

“If it keeps up like this – and no rain in sight – we’ll have to haul in water,” she said.

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Source:  Jane Braxton Little, Water Deeply, August 16, 2016

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Wishful Thinking Won’t End California’s Drought

I know – you’re tired of the drought. Tired of hearing about it; tired of trying to squeeze a little more savings out of your garden and indoor water use; tired of processing bad news about dying fisheries, drying wells, suffering farmers and dead trees.

I’m tired, too: tired of studying and analyzing the impacts of this drought on California, after having done so for droughts between 1987 and 1992 and again between 2007–2009. Tired of trying to convince the public that we can’t let up in our fight to fix our water problems, and that the drought isn’t over because it rained and snowed a bit this winter.

Most of all, I’m tired of listening to people who argue we can continue to do things the way we’ve always done them.

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Source:  Peter Gleick, Water Deeply, August 11, 2016

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Creative Incentives to Boost Groundwater Recharge

The Pajaro Valley, in southern Santa Cruz County close to Monterey Bay, is ground zero for high-value farm crops such as arugula, strawberries and cane berries. The area depends almost entirely on groundwater and is not connected to any intrastate transfers, so it has to rely only on local water resources.

The valley’s farms, residents and commercial businesses draw about 56,000 acre-feet (69 million cubic meters) of water each year, and 98 percent of it comes from the groundwater basin, with the balance from surface water and recycled water. This means that during dry years, the basin is overdrawn and vulnerable to seawater intrusion. To try and manage the problem, the Pajaro Valley (P.V.) Water Management Agency was created in 1984 and focuses on three techniques – conservation, recycling and managed recharge – with the aim of reducing the groundwater deficit by about 12,000 acre-feet (15 million cubic meters) each year, so the basin comes back into balance.

To help improve groundwater recharge, a hydrogeologist with the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) has proposed an innovative plan that gives landowners rebates for collecting stormwater run-off to recharge groundwater.

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Source:  Padma Nagappan, Water Deeply, August 10, 2016

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Great Cities Must Watch Their Watersheds

The world’s great cities could hold the key to the prosperity of the human race. Yet a comprehensive new study points to a worrying trend: The water they need to grow is getting more expensive, because they’re failing to protect the nature that purifies it.

Cities are amazing engines of productivity. As the hubs of our modern societies, they mix together people with a diversity of skills and create fertile ground for learning and invention. In many respects, bigger tends to be better. Larger cities have more patents and inventions per person, and achieve better energy and resource efficiency thanks to economies of scale. For example, they require less conducting cable per person to carry electrical power where needed.

Concentrating people in cities also leaves more space for nature. It’s one reason that Paul Romer, recently appointed as chief economist of the World Bank, has been championing the idea of charter cities – brand new cities that we could build and use to experiment with large-scale innovations in technology or government. Dozens of such cities could help us explore more sustainable ways of living, and also help meet the need to house many of the additional 3.4 billion people expected to be living by 2050.

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Source:  Mark Buchanan, Bloomberg View, August 16, 2016


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