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Keeping it Together in Destabilized Times: Looking Past the Near Term John D. Wiener US Committee on Irrigation and Drainage Conference on Sustainability of Irrigation Districts Reno, NV; 4-7 June 2009 Notes: This builds on USCID 2008 and other posted presentations: www.colorado.edu/ibs/eb/wiener/ Handouts are posted there as well. This is POSTING set: references and discussion added in “speaker’s notes” Previously Argued: (posted, can send, or talk…) • Urbanization will continue to move water from irrigation – acres/A’ may increase, too! • Cumulative impacts of water transfers are not adequately known or studied • Agricultural impacts of transfers are complex, locally different, and may be locally severe • Current conditions create a race to transfer before scarcity and true costs are recognized • U.S. agriculture faces unappreciated threats from substitution of inputs for soil quality The following is a Drive-by… • The argument coming is based on information • Will post this presentation and can e-mail or make CD (after adding a few more references) • Spend time on what to do, rather than describing the problems • So, drive-by of some illustrations that would be used here if an extra half-hour… questions are welcome today or whenever convenient! • Don’t try to read this stuff this fast! Conclusions (1) • Better ag-urban water transfers are possible – Using 3 forms IN COMBINATION (handout) – PARTICIPATION of all interests is needed – Better COST COMPARISONS of alternatives are needed, short-term – GOALS and VALUES needed, long-term – PARTNERSHIPS – not just talk • BUT, Better water transfers ARE NOT ENOUGH – Threats to marginal conventional agriculture – Short-term prices over-influenced by distorted markets, under-influenced by externalities, future – Sustainability needs land and water and institutions Conclusions (2) • Cumulative costs/impacts of transfers matter – Loss of agricultural capacity is LONG-TERM – Loss of agricultural capacity is NOT VALUED • literally, in economic evaluation • metaphorically, in policy – Biological issues – almost unknown now, future impacts even less known – Opportunity Costs – the loss of chance to make better use of land and water – – Irreversibility of semi-arid land use change? • The next frontier – Seeing a better future Conclusions (3) Bits and Pieces… • Need useful participation of the full range of interests affected by water transfers – compensation and security of interests. They’ll show up, somehow… • Politics is the likely alternative to a market – good idea? Who gets to decide? What scale? Outcome so far? • CLIMATE CHANGE – THE BIG LAST STRAW? • “Keep things as they are” is not on the menu • SO, WHOSE RULES WILL CONTROL? Property rights? Plan and public involvement , cooperation and creation of value … Sustainability starts with economic, legal stability as Steve Knell already said, yesterday! • No such thing as “NO PLANNING” – someone plans! But, who plans for whom and for what? Self-defense organization benefits everyone except brokers and “developers” • Better for Farmers who want farming to be attractive for families and the future • Better for Cities that have citizens with a lot of interests beyond their water bill alone • Better for Counties than “ranchettes” that are financial vampires and biological problems as the only way for farmers to recapitalize • Better for Future capacity to produce food and fiber near urban areas, sustainably – Housing Density Change 1960 - 2050 (Tom Dickinson, C.U. Center for American West, and IBS Social Sciences Data Analysis Center) URBAN DEMAND FOR WATER KEEPS GROWING Prime Farmland in Colorado Only 2.5% of Colorado’s land WAS prime (all of it irrigated)... …but the precise location of this land is unknown. There is evidence that people prefer good land and biologically valuable land to dull and dry spots, for development (except some view-points) Colorado Dept of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA) Magnitude of Ag Land Conversion (1987-97) – 12 years ago! 2.5% of Colorado’s land was converted from ag to other uses over a 10-year period (1.4 million acres) But, rate of conversion is widely believed to have been much faster from 1997 to the 2008 slump slowed it some Colorado Dept of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service(USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service(USDA) Conversion of Best Farm Land – Near Loveland, in Weld County, CO I25 Boyd Lake One square mile Slide by Tom Dickinson, IBS and Geography, Source: National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP),USDA-FSA Aerial Photography Field Office Housing Density Change In Colorado Housing Density Change 1960 - 2050 (C.U. Center for American West, Tom Dickinson) 2000 - 2020 2020 PEOPLE MOVING INTO THE RIPARIAN CORRIDORS 2000 David M. Theobald. “Targeting Conservation Action through Assessment of Protection and Exurban Threat.” Conservation Biology, 17(6):1624-1637. Dec. 2003 The green area includes land unintentionally wetted by irrigation return flows and conveyance loss -- it may now be important habitat – the “natural” is long gone. Data source: Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper, 2005. Map by Thomas W. Dickinson, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder Environmental Limits? (scarcity!) • Endangered Species Act – What’s next? – lack of information on private land • Minimalist Minimum Stream Flow Vs Climate Change? (Trout Unlimited studies: Dry Legacy 1 and 2) • Wetlands-related limits? Invasives? • Changes to land and water already extensive • Re-Redistribution of water? – (Water Resources Impact May 2008) • Almost no cumulative impact study: stay blind until you get sued into response? If you’re alert you buy cheap before the rules change! Meanwhile, HIGH SOIL EROSION – Is this sustainable? No. • 90% of US cropland is losing soil faster than it can be restored; 75% of range needs help… Loss 17 times faster than soil formation, average • ~ 1/3 of US topsoil was lost 30 years ago (Pimentel 1980) • HALF of Iowa’s topsoil is gone – and still losing average 30 t/ha/yr (soil formation rate 0.5 to 1 t/ha/yr) • 40% of Palouse topsoils were gone, 1995 • Costs to US, 2001: ~$37.6B/yr (but more with full ecosystem valuation or replacement of services costing) • $20B/yr for fertilizer replacement for lost nutrients (eroded soils take NPK away, as well as biological active fractions etc) • And then there’s the incredible costs of pesticides, with 1000fold increase in organophosphates (Pimentel 2005) INPUTS TO MAKE UP FOR LOSS OF GOOD LAND AND LOSS OF LAND QUALITY? U.S. Nitrogen Use 1,000 nutrient tons 12,044 Series1 2,738 1960-2006 We’re using an awful lot of this stuff (as water quality people know…) -- MORE THAN HALF IMPORTED NOW – Potash also – Very energy-intensive stuff! Major Predictions – Strongest Agreed Climate Change Effects on Western Water • Temperatures up – including winter, nights – Longer between freeze dates • Higher evapotranspiration • Snow sublimation increases • Timing of snow melt earlier • Volume and timing of available supply changes • Biological and vegetation changes – – predation, pollination, migration (e.g Beetle!) – succession, competition, invasive species • And, intensity of precipitation increases more! Climate Change Vs Western Irrigation • USGCRP Sectoral Assessments (Water, Ag.): – Small changes with big water consequences in West, but nationally, moderate effects, no “crisis” (Gleick 2000, Reilly 2001) (1950s Problem?) • USGCRP: Central Great Plains (Ojima et al 2002) – With less water, irrigation hurt, with more water, irrigation loses to dryland • USGCRP: Great Basin/Rocky Mtns. (Wagner et al. 2003) – Ag declines in all scenarios • Recent Integrated Assessments (2004, 2005): – Current management in trouble – Ag. Loses water, all scenarios, even “best case” (references, interpretive memo available) -- changes in comparative advantage of irrigation versus dryland • IPCC Fourth Assessment, 2007 – <www.ipcc.ch> • US Climate Change Science Program, see CCSP website” <www.climatescience.gov> • Climate Change in Colorado <www.cwcb.state.co.us> and Citizens’ Guide < http://www.cfwe.org/CitGuides/CitGuides.asp> Changes in extreme events are very serious for agriculture and future national well-being Intensity of Precipitation, Erosion • Soil and Water Conservation Society, 2003: Increased precipitation intensity could undo all the progress in reducing soil erosion since creation of SCS! • CCSP SAP 3.3 (2008,p. 4) : “Extreme precipitation episodes (heavy downpours) have become more frequent… and now account for a larger percentage of total… intense precipitation… (the heaviest 1%...) in the continental U.S. increased by 20% over the past century while total precipitation increased by 7%...” Timing and cumulative effect • “More frequent extreme events occurring over a shorter period reduce the time available for recovery and adaptation. In addition, extreme events often occur in clusters. The cumulative effect of compound or back-to-back extremes can have far larger impacts than the same events spread out over a longer period…” • Note: This applies to financial as well as ecological well-being A few points on economics • Efficiency is definable on a distribution of resources; it is an adjective, not a noun. • Econ 101: Edgeworth-Bowley Box…(econ trivia…) “It’s all relative…” as far as what is an efficient use of resources • Econ 102: Clark, 1973: Economics of Extinction – Perfectly rational to kill ‘em all, cut ‘em all and erode it all, currently.. • Econ 201: Positive discount rate: reduce the future from far ahead to present value: it is trivial; – Just doesn’t work for century or two out – Not much good even decades ahead if all else is seriously uncertain…Energy, Ag inputs, Markets • Econ 301: Evaluation is definable within a general equilibrium, but not transferable to a different equilibrium with reallocated resources and price structures… Norgaard & Howarth 1992, etc • Benefit-Cost Analysis is NOT adequate for the long term! • We can’t just “do the math”! Sustainability Science Frameworks • Ostrom, 2007 – Diagnostic Framework for Going Beyond Panaceas. – great! 33 sets of things to consider – should be used! By researchers and allies… – But… with strangers? Not in a café… or a meeting... • Turner et al, 2003 – Framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science – also great… 14 kinds of issues – Also hard to take to strangers… • Want something “shareable”! Slow down, now… end of drive-by • But still, too fast to cover all gracefully • Happy to share this, and welcome all comments – address and website on the hand-outs, and extended abstract. • NOTE: Public interest is a generic sort of idea, not same as California “public trust doctrine”! • On all those issues in water transfers: See Arkansas Basin Roundtable Water Transfers Guidelines Committee Report – Colorado Water Conservation Board website, and mine The simplest way to think about this? Two Constants and What Could Be Done • A way to think about this mess… • Constant 1: Urban ability and will to pay -- for water AND ALSO for amenity, environment, open space, ag. preservation…. • Constant 2: Soil formation is very slow; climate is faster! • Suppose you owned all the pieces? What could you do to maximize the outcomes? – Answer tells what you want to maximize (pie flavor) – Answer tell how much you might get (pie size) – Problem: you don’t own it all. So, how to organize so as to get the biggest and best possible pie, for owners and others affected? • We use markets, mostly… Can they work better? The Human Race is a Team Sport • Our great-great-grandkids won’t know names, only results; what will we do? • Review irrigation history – teams with a long view • These are created oases sustained by teams • Advice from Economists: Internalize externalities – bring in all the interests, whether or not bought and sold, whether or not easily valued – be a team • Fragmentation is for victimization; organization is the way we create stability (or screw it up, sometimes) Three Times to Consider • Near term – conventional economic analysis – some idea about prices, relative values; BCA OK • Mid term – 20-50 -? years? – the life span of bonded indebtedness, much of the water infrastructure, the sunk capital... Some econ. • Far term – the time scales for “sustainability” – some physical processes; CO2, soil formation… – beyond the discount rate… preferences, values – predictability limited to some constants – predictability for human activity very small Modifying* Bebbington’s Five Capitals – a way to “think long” • • • • Natural capital (resource base, quality) Built capital (infrastructure, investments) Financial capital (internal and external) Human capital (individual capacities, local knowledge, craft knowledge) • Social capital (organizational and collective capacities) – let’s be brave and add legal/institutional issues – including those that affect public capacity to act * probably well out of his intentions… Still not simple…but, “work back?” • Far term: No regrets defense of the core values what is most important! • For social and organizational capital? – knowledge (including local ecological/traditional) – technologies of production and clean-up – social continuity to maintain cumulation and to prevent loss • For human capital? not much applicable – – Keynes’ long run, but… family skills and crafts Work backward • For Built capital? Not much must last to the far term – BUT, chemical pollution will… • and land allocations can be long-lived – – corridors for infrastructure – some water infrastructure is long-lived • Financial capital? Waay out speculations… (that whole sustainability literature!) – Positive discount rate: no help with far term. Can’t assume “mobility of capital” (see notes) Work backward • Some relief if we work backwards? • Far term: No regrets defense of the core! • For Natural capital? Four goals: – Traditional conservation of biodiversity – Connectivity conservation for restoration after shocks – Adaptation capacity conservation for long term trend – And, soil capacity conservation: Good topsoil is the closest thing to a free lunch (but we have to redefine the opportunity cost!) • NEED PROTECT THESE NOW, BONUS: less cumulative impact mess? (ESA, TMDL) 5 Capitals – Mid Term • Human: New farming and new markets needed • Social: Limit consolidation, use the QOL base • Built: Transportation (RR due back now!) and local people transit • Financial: Urban pool and economies of scale partnerships • Natural: Soil focus, new $ from conserved area • $ from Water/New Use to re-capitalize with LT Plans: “Right-sizing”, flexibility, diversify • Govt roles necessary, good, long overdue • Transport and tax base stability; service goals • Partnership: Purchasing Districts, Insurance, etc • Buy those beneficial externalities! (urban: “nonconforming use”) 5 Capitals: Near term • Human: services, TEK/LEK/Craft • Social: rural viability service thresholds, QOL, tax base and govt. capacity, lacking alternative economy • Built: Water distrib, town infrastr., housing • Financial: draining! • Natural: severe soil, habitat issues, RRD • Keep farmers working, grow new ones • Keep towns functioning conservation upgrade, AMENITY and QOL values NEW idea • Financial: Revolving Fund (CW, DW) model • TECHNICAL ASSIST and urban relocations • Natural: avoid revegetation nightmare/cost! “Amenities” Create Value • • • • People pay to be near them People’s property has more value Tax bases have more value Businesses invest where there are amenity values for the owners and employers • Positive externalities such as environmental services deserve public support which is an investment in avoiding costs and losses • And, an investment for the future – which is capitalized (some) into present value Whose Urban Interests Count Now? • Simplicity, Reliability, Cost, “Invisibility”: Water System Management Values – Traditional is understood and predictable – New kinds of deals would require much more intensive collaboration – NOT SECRET! • Management Preference for Permanence (please see handout – principles page) – “We sell a tap forever” – Life of facilities and financing not a factor – Partnerships and long-term planning? Too new! – No incentive to match benefits and costs Whose urban interests might count? • Urban constituents are ratepayers BUT ALSO taxpayers paying bonded debt • Supporters of open space, agricultural preservation, and rural areas • Consumers and Purchasers of food, amenity • Voters for conservation etc – See Trust for Public Land “Conservation Vote” – Even in No Plan, No Foresight Colorado: 110 elections, $3.8 Billion • Recreators and Users of rural places • Members of a lot of groups… mixed bag! • Any one ask them? Not sure… polls… Why Would a County Care? • Because counties may decide to defend themselves from “ranchettes” drain on financial viability (Costs>>revenues) • Because agriculture may decide to seek common self-defense instead of being permanently paralyzed, and wants county viability and services for its purposes • Because rural towns want to survive and use regional cooperation for self-defense Making Markets Work for YOU • What you keep is not the result of the maximum yield – it is the result of the maximum difference between costs and revenues. What is the real farming goal? How must we change the rules? • Scarcity increases value: good farm land is getting more scarce, quickly – especially land that can grow without expensive imported high-energy inputs that run-off into other expensive consequences • How do you hang on to your best land and water through the next 10-15-20 screwy years? Re-design a district? Why? • WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAINTAIN AGRICULTURAL VIABILITY AND PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY, AND MAXIMIZE THE LONG-TERM VALUES OF THIS SET OF ASSETS AND RESOURCES? • Match wanting to farm with best soils, best water delivery • Match access, smart growth, residential value, and design with most desirable places for those uses -• Patterns of farming and other land uses are important for all • Find overlaps of interest: recreation, scenery, conservation, habitat, access and limited access • MEET MARKETS! Organics and direct sales keep growing, and all those new people are potential customers (see references) • What can the city and the farmers do together to minimize losses and long-term burdens, and to create and capture value to support flexibility in farming, compatible land use and development to provide capital, and to sustain the amenity, open space and other values? • How do we support thoughtful discussion of getting to goals, and using the group to support individuals, and increase value? • Need legislative change? Best time to start is real soon! The red fields here are the fallow AND also the not-irrigated in 2003 – that’s a large amount of land! Vegetables were scattered around – Are there more? Would there be more if there was more money? Here’s the grass/pasture in 2003 – why there? Any pattern other than history or accident? Here’s one view of the irrigation in use in 2003… from CDSS The missing link: landowners • To create and capture value, need to create certainty – what will happen in this place? • Commitments to each other: Can you do it? • Probably some form of transferable development rights: Everyone gets a piece of the pie, and the pie gets bigger because of certainty. • “Development” is careful, controlled, valuable. • LOTS of planning, lots of argument… not easy – BUT within the normal scope of city activities to support such processes. • The big money plans – can you? First off: To Do List • Look at all you have: land, soils, water, environmental value, scenery, quiet, air quality… And WHAT YOU WANT! • Location: what are you near, not near and want? Who else might care? What have you got to trade? • What resources can you call on? – Some state, federal agencies – Engineers, planners, designers, many kinds (careful terms!) – Real estate brokers, “developers” etc. (Very careful terms!) – The city that wants your water? Got staff pros? They might! • COMMIT TO THINK AND PLAN FIRST (buy aspirin in bulk) • COMMIT TO A FIRST OPTION FOR THE LAND ENTERPRISE YOU WILL OWN, to get around the individual vs group problem • Likely THREE organizations: Land Enterprise/Protective Development Assn.; Special District Local Govt; Landowners Corporation for Transferable Development Rights to share benefits fairly (and yes, this will be nightmare and a hassle, but shorter than losing it all!) Given the goals…there are ways! • Landowners (many) organization – TDR, crosseasements, districting to create security of value • Use all the assets, create value! • Development that supports real agriculture • Value created from security of high level of amenities, environmental value and productivity • Local Government benefits from smart land use and improved tax base, services, investment • Citizens get more of what they want! • “New Ruralism” parallel to “new urbanism” 3 Times, 5 Capitals • Irreversibilities as sorter within vulnerability – what are the worst risks? What are priorities? • Consider long-term impacts of short-term support activities – – Risks and hazards orientation necessary but not sufficient – Transition toward resilience to problems – can’t know enough to bet on a single kind of future – “Far out” – a grandchild’s maturity – help see the core values and work back; do NOT be intimidated by efforts to push you out of this. Ditch-builders saw far!