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    Jan 21 2014

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    Daily Digest: Drought declaration loosens some environmental rules, cloud-seeding, myths about SoCal water use, and more drought news and commentary

    Daily DigestDrought declaration loosens some environmental rules, California turns to airplanes and clouds for drought relief, debunking myths about Southern California's water use, plus more drought news and commentary

    On webcast today …

    • The State Water Resources Control Board will hold their board meeting today beginning at 9AM.  Items on the agenda include a progress report on the CV-SALTS program, an amendment to the water quality control plan for the Santa Ana Basin, oral comments on the CalTrans Confusion Hill project, and an update on the activities of the Delta Water Master.  The meeting will be webcastClick here for the agenda.

    In the news today …

    • Drought declaration loosens some environmental rules:   ” … State regulators can now relax water quality standards, allowing rivers and estuaries to be saltier and warmer, as they try to manage the state’s limited supplies.  The change is making some fishing and environmental groups wary, who fear that wildlife concerns will come second to the needs of parched cities and farms.  “There will be some tough choices coming down the road on how we balance protections for the environment and water supply,” said Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There’s just no getting around it in critically dry years like this one.” … ”  Read more from KQED here: California Drought Loosens Some Environmental Rules

    • California turns to airplanes and clouds for drought relief:  ” … Pilots at Weather Modification Incorporated are using a new technology, involving airplanes and clouds, in the hopes of increasing rainfall and restoring the state’s water supply.  In a process known as “seeding”, a pilot will circle a cloud until temperatures drop to a certain degree, at which point silver iodide is released out of the airplane’s flares.  “All that super-cooled liquid water that’s hanging there below freezing, it doesn’t have anything to freeze to, and it just needs a particle,” pilot Jake Mitchem said. … ” Read more from CBS 2 here:  Parched By Drought, California Turns To Science, Pilots To Create Much-Needed Rainfall
    • Debunking myth's about Southern California water use:  Northern Californians who blame their water shortages on their ‘wasteful neighbors' to the South as well as lack of precipitation will be surprised to learn the truth, says Sacramento's News 10: ” … “There's been a huge amount of water conservation implemented in Southern California,” said Erlewine, who pointed out that despite a population increase of 3 million over the past 20 years, water use in Southern California has remained flat.  According to the state Department of Water Resources (DWR), daily urban water use in the major metropolitan areas of Southern California averages 189 gallons per person, which is 90 gallons per day less than people in the Sacramento area use.  “That's incredible,” said Jeff Hayes, operations director at the Brookcrest Water Company, Sacramento's only locally-owned bottler. “We always hear stories of how much more water Southern California uses than we do, and that's just an amazing figure to me.” … ”  Read more from News 10 here:  Debunking the myth about Southern California’s water use 
    • Weigh in here:  The Question of the Week from the Los Angeles Daily News: “Should Southern California start rationing water?”  Responses will be published next Sunday's paper.
    • More drought news:  The San Jose Mercury News discusses water conservation, Congressman David Valado tells a Bakersfield TV station that the Governor's drought declaration “means that he now has some flexibility to actually turn on the pumps, make some changes and roll back regulations,” and a group in San Juan Bautista is doing a rain dance.

    Holiday weekend drought news and commentary …

    In commentary today …

    • A seventies redux, says columnist:  Scott Herhold writes: “When I began at the Mercury News in the fall of 1977, my first Page One story was about how people were coping with the drought that was ravaging California.  I collected anecdotes from folks who emptied swimming pools, let lawns turn brown, and stored rainwater in barrels. “We'll never go back to the old way,” one lady said.  She was wrong. Once the rains came, we went back to wasting water merrily. But as California's current drought deepens, a curious feeling of déjà vu has struck me.  There's a case to be made that some of the oddities of the 1970s are re-emerging four decades later. “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” Mark Twain reportedly said. I think he knew what he was talking about. … ”  Continue reading this column at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Herhold: Is it the Seventies Redux?
    • Preserving the Bay Area's water supply:  David Sedlak, co-director of the Berkeley Water Center, writes:  “Most Bay Area residents obtain their drinking water from a system of reservoirs, canals and pipes that was built during the first half of the 20th century. In the near future, it is likely that we'll pump a lot of money into this aging system to adapt it to rising sea levels and changes in rainfall patterns. These investments are essential to the security of our water supply, but they will not protect us from the effects of a drought.  Plans to build advanced water recycling plants, such as the project proposed in the Livermore Valley more than a decade ago, or desalination plants, such as the regional project proposed in Contra Costa County, have languished due to public apathy and concerns about potential risks to public health or the environment. In light of the drought state of emergency the governor declared last week, these approaches deserve close scrutiny with respect to costs and risks. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California drought: We can preserve Bay Area’s water supply
    • Drought declaration is just a start, says the Porterville Recorder:  ” … The governor’s action will loosen up regulations to move around what water is available to help both residents and farmers. His action also puts into motion efforts to help those affected by the drought: farmers, businesses and farmworkers. It could also add resources to the state’s firefighting efforts and possibly allow more water for humans than species.  Now, the governor needs to get serious about more water storage in the state. … ”  Read the full editorial here:  Governor’s drought declaration is a start

    Precipitation (not) watch …

    This picture says it all:

    weather

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    About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Articles are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. Articles behind paywalls are not included, because if I can't see them, I figure you can't, so I don't want to waste your time. (If I send you to something you cannot access, please do let me know! Email Maven)

    The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

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