John Hart

John Hart

I’m thinking of the bookends of my Estuary News article shelf. The first story I wrote, “Filling Up on Empty,” asked just how much water might practically be stored in Central Valley aquifers. Could groundwater be our insurance against super-droughts ever more likely to come?  I relished the deep dive into hydrology, but had to surface with bad news: vital though aquifer recharge is, the potential isn’t big enough to support our current water use habits through a really Big Dry. On the positive side, it was nice to finish the run this spring with “Taking the Measure of Success at the South Bay Salt Ponds,” a story about accelerating progress in converting former ponds to marsh and other dandy habitats. For sheer drama, though, I won’t forget one moment I witnessed as an EN reporter: a high-tension meeting in the fall of 2018, when the Water Board voted to mandate higher flows for fish in several Delta-feeding rivers. In a brief squib I diagnosed a pivot point in California water policy. Too hasty: higher powers soon intervened to protect the status quo.

— John Hart

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About the author

John Hart is an environmental journalist and author of sixteen books and several hundred other published works. He is also the winner of the James D. Phelan Award, the Commonwealth Club Medal in Californiana, and the David R. Brower Award for Service in the Field of Conservation. For ESTUARY, he writes on groundwater, infrastructure, and California water politics and history.

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