Daily Digest: Dry conditions, WRDA bill negotiations, and more, plus here comes a little snow plus a lot of cold!

News and commentary from the mainstream press, plus weather, webcasts, events and more …
Everything you need to know about what’s going on in the world of water today!

Daily Digest

In the news today …

  • Ranchers struggle in the dry conditions:  North state rancher Rex Williams says his herd of sheep would normally be munching green grass but there’s none this year:  “ … “It’s scary; we’ve never been in a situation like this before,” said Williams, who’s been ranching about 23 years. “We’ve always had some grass to go to.”  Facing these pressures, William and his wife expect they may have to reduce their herd of 400 ewes by as much as a third. They’ve already started selling off some of the weaker sheep. The Williams aren’t alone — ranchers around Sonoma County are grappling with the added cost of feeding their animals more hay earlier in the year because of the arid conditions and lack of grass. ... ”  Read more from the Press Democrat here:  Struggling with one of the driest years on record
  • Central Valley farmers are worried, too: Pistachio farmer Tom Coleman depends on state water, which just issued an initial allocation of 5%: ” …“It’s scary, because you don’t know how you’re going to come up with the balance of your water,” Coleman says. Recently, he agreed to pay $160,000 for water from other sources, about three times the amount he usually spends. The water districts that supply Coleman and farmers like him in the state’s San Joaquin Valley were told that barring an unexpectedly wet winter, the state would be able to provide 5 percent of the water that districts had contracted to buy for next year. … ”  Read more from Ag Week here:  Calif. water woes hit hard
  • House-Senate conference committee talks on WRDA bill get underway:  “Negotiations to work out a new Water Resources Development Act have formally begun, with an upbeat first meeting of a House-Senate conference committee on Nov. 20. Now, the work moves behind the scenes as lawmakers and aides try to resolve differences between the bills each chamber passed by wide margins earlier this year. At stake are $8 billion or more in Corps of Engineers project authorizations and likely revisions in Corps policies.  Lead negotiators are optimistic that they can strike a deal and move a compromise WRDA through their chambers in December. … ”  Read more from Engineering News-Record here:  House-Senate Talks on WRDA Bill Get Under Way

  • Tribes and ranchers sign Klamath River deal:  “Ranchers and the Klamath Tribes signed a tentative deal Monday in Klamath Falls for sharing water in the drought-stricken Upper Klamath Basin.  The rest of a special task force on water issues were to join them Tuesday at the Oregon Institute of Technology to announce the 17-page agreement in principle.  Their goal is to reach a final agreement early next year that will guide legislation to be offered by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to break a logjam in Congress over resolving Klamath water battles. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Klamath task force reaches water agreement

In commentary today …

  • Why restore the LA River to its destructive and deadly state, asks Ralph Shaffer, a Cal Poly professor:  ” … The new reformers want to ride kayaks through the brush, encourage wildlife to seek sanctuary in the stream, and to make the river once again a place of recreation, beauty and life. But the river that had those qualities was also a deadly and costly river, repeatedly flooding the pueblo and then the city until the public rallied behind the need to transform it into a flood control channel. That decision did not come easily or inexpensively. … ”  Read more at the Los Angeles Daily News here:  Why do we want to restore L.A. River to its destructive and deadly state?
  • Klamath Basin Settlement Agreement good for California fishes and farms, says commentary:  We live in an over-appropriated system and the reality is the only way out of this is integrated water management, say Curtis Knight of Cal Trout and Glen Spain with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Assocations: … ” … If we are to thrive, or even survive, it’s time to step out of our narrow perspectives. We must embrace a more coordinated approach that recognizes that many of our rivers are altered landscapes. Today’s working watersheds provide drinking water, produce hydropower, grow food, provide recreational opportunities and support valuable fisheries for commercial, sport and tribal interests. Saving these working watersheds can no longer mean rewinding them back to some pristine, romantic past. We must instead craft comprehensive and durable water management solutions for the modern world.  This type of integrated thinking is being put to work in the Klamath River Basin, straddling the California-Oregon border. ... ”  Read more at the Sacramento Bee here: Viewpoints: A healthy Klamath River benefits California fisheries and farms

Precipitation watch …

  • Here comes a little bit of snow, a lot of cold:  From the National Weather Service:  “A definite turn towards winter begins today as a fast moving cold front drops south and generates snowfall for the northern Sierra Nevada. This Sierra snow event will be followed by a dramatic shift toward much colder temperatures for all of interior Northern California. The National Weather Service in Sacramento has posted Freeze and Hard Freeze Watches for the entire Valley and Foothill regions beginning tonight and continuing into Friday. This upcoming cold snap will have the potential to break some daily low temperature records. Make preparations for the chill ahead.”

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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