Daily Digest: News and commentary for Halloween

HalloweenHappy Halloween! May you have many more treats than tricks today. Here’s what’s going on in the world of California water:

In the news today …

  • Human body parts found at two Southern California wastewater plants:  We’ll start off the Halloween edition of the Daily Digest with this gruesome story:  ” … A leg and foot of an unidentified woman were discovered Saturday at a water pollution control plant in Carson, Calif., authorities said. A plant employee notified police after finding the remains in a bin that holds debris separated from water, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.   The plot thickened on Monday, when city workers found a human head and upper torso at a water treatment plant in the neighboring city of Industry. The two plants are located within 30 miles of each other. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Human Body Parts Found at Two California Water Treatment Plants
  • Legislators visit Coachella Valley to discuss water bond:  Yesterday’s hearing brought members of the Assembly’s Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee to the desert town:  “Those who voiced support for the bond during the meeting included representatives of the Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District, Riverside County, Imperial County and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe. They also urged lawmakers to earmark a significant amount of money for the Salton Sea to remedy problems such as dust storms along its shores as the lake shrinks.  … ”  More from the Desert Sun here:  Coachella Valley officials push $6.5B water bond plan
  • Agriculture as habitat for sandhill cranes:  ” … A 2.5 million-year-old Pleistocene-era fossil found in Florida makes the sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) among the oldest bird species still alive. Peering at the bird’s impressive physique through binoculars, it’s easy to see why biologists call them living fossils. Among the largest North American birds, they stand nearly five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan, improbably skinny legs supporting a well-developed body.  Every September, thousands of cranes flock with youngsters in tow to this Central Valley delta from their breeding grounds in Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. ,… ”  Continue reading from Quest to find out how agriculture is helping to create habitat for the sandhill cranes:  Farming for Cranes: Can agriculture save an ancient migration?

  • Bill to postpone flood insurance rate increases faces uncertain future:  “Bipartisan legislation that would delay hefty flood insurance increases for some local farmers and other rural residents may be part of a January resolution to halt another government shutdown.The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act introduced in Congress on Tuesday would in effect delay for four years the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform Act. The 2012 act has been blamed by locals for dramatic increases in flood insurance premiums for affected Yuba-Sutter farmers and residents. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat  here:  Flood insurance bill’s prospects unclear
  • SWP workers say, “Show me the money!”:  DWR engineer writes the State Worker blog to say he hasn’t received the promised raise yet; the State Worker blog responds here: Pay raise on the way for Water Resources employees
  • New polymer could aid agriculture during droughts:  “The three-year-old California startup has developed what’s commonly called a hydrogel, which is a polymer that is super absorbent because it can form a tight bond with water molecules. mOasis’s hydrogel is the size of a grain of sand that can swallow up to 250 times its weight in water, said Hartmeier, who joined the company last month. …The idea is that farmers put the hydrogel in the soil while preparing the land for planting. The hydrogel then absorbs excess water during irrigation and releases it when the soil is drying. Using mOasis’s hydrogel could lead to 25 percent higher crop production, 20 percent reduced water use and 15 percent cut in water bills, the company says. … ”  Read more from GigaOm here: 

In commentary today …

  • Protesting a pipe dream: Solvang means “sunny fields” in Danish, and that’s an apt description for our community.  Our economy is happily balanced between viticulture and tourism, and both thrive in our benign and salubrious climate.  But Solvang needs more than abundant sunshine and caravans of visitors to thrive. We also need water. And that’s the rub. Our water supplies always have been dicey. That means we have to husband our water resources carefully. And for the most part, we do that.  Unfortunately, our city officials have allowed themselves to be snookered by a boondoggle known as the Twin Tunnels. This scheme, pushed by the state Department of Water Resources, would shunt water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta south via a pair of gigantic tunnels. … ”  Read more from Nick DiCroce and the Santa Ynez Times here:  Protesting a pipe dream for more water
  • San Diego’s water supply more reliable than Calaveras County’s:  “San Diego: a city of 3 million people clustered on the coastal desert in the southwest corner of the United States that enjoys a diverse and robust economy even with a nominal water supply in the area. Calaveras County contains about 45,000 people and has a rich heritage of natural resources, but it now faces economic challenges in many of its communities. One of the most valuable resources the county calls its own is water rushing down from the Sierra Nevada high country in three substantive river systems. Yet San Diego, the proverbial end of the pipe, enjoys better water supply reliability than Calaveras.  There’s something wrong with this picture. … ”  Read more from Mitch Dion in the Calaveras Enterprise here:  San Diego water more reliable than Calaveras

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