Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just in...

Improving erroneous water management reports

Kimberly--University of Idaho Extension’s Kimberly-based water management expert Richard
“Rick” Allen joined internationally known water management consultant Harald
Frederiksen to warn policy makers that the over-commitment of water in many
global river basins may lead to incorrect predictions of water conservation

These incorrect reports lull leaders into thinking that all conservation programs will reduce the over-commitments. Frederiksen and Allen made waves last May with a paper published in Water International Journal. Their paper launched a debate with one of the leading proponents of water conservation strategies including drip irrigation
and low-volume toilets.

“It’s not that all water conservation measures are good or bad,” Allen said. “What it boils down to is where water users are. In the Snake River Plain, for example, if water users flush a lot of water in toilets, the water is treated and a similar amount of water ends up to be used
downriver to maybe irrigate barley. But in San Francisco, treated water won’t be re-used. It ends up in the ocean.

“You have to follow the water,” Allen said, adding that science and hydrologic realities are often kept in the back seat during decision-making, resulting in inefficient investment of public monies and even wrong decisions. “Wrong ways of thinking impact studies by entities
ranging from sophisticated nongovernment organizations in California to governments of the poorest developing countries,” said Allen.

Their paper, “A common basis for analysis, evaluation and comparison of off-stream water uses,” outlined a simple formula that can show the impact of a water use on the water resource. It accounts for how much diversion water can be reused. Read the article at
CONTACT RICHARD ALLEN at or call 208.423.6601

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