Daily Digest: Cranes, SDCWA v. MWD, plus commentary on BDCP, water bond, and more

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 DigestIn the news today …

  • Hanging out with the cranes:  DWR ignited an uproar when they rerouted the tunnels under Staten Island, a refuge for sandhill cranes; Crane enthusiasts have vowed to fight on in order to keep the project away from the island.  The CVBT visits Staten Island:  ” … To appreciate the beauty of the cranes and the island, the public can take a short class and go on a tour every Saturday on Staten Island, which is south of Sacramento near Interstate 5. Volunteers like Mike Savino teach people how to learn when the cranes are about to fly and provide other helpful tips.     “Before they fly, they kind of lean and stick their neck out, which means ‘I like to fly and I want to go there,’” said Mr. Savino, a member of the board of the non profit group, Save Our Cranes (S.O.S.). “We’re beginning to develop a dictionary of crane behavior.” … ” Read more from the Central Valley Business times here:  Could birds pluck governor’s prized tunnels?
  • San Diego rate case against Metropolitan moves to court:  “A judge will hear arguments on Tuesday to determine whether the Metropolitan Water District overcharges the San Diego County Water Authority by millions of dollars every year and in doing so subsidizes cheaper rates for users across the rest of Southern California.  The water authority contends that Metropolitan’s alleged overbilling amounts to $57 million this year alone and cumulatively $150 million since 2011. That practice treats San Diego ratepayers as a “cash cow” for Metropolitan, the authority claims.  “The case is all about whether Metropolitan can set whatever rates it wants to charge or whether it is governed by the California constitution and statutes that require public agencies to only recover the costs of service,” said Dennis Cushman, assistant general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  SD water war moves to court
  • Judge invalidates controversial Las Vegas pipeline project:  “The well has run dry once again for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s controversial pipeline project.  For the second time since 2009, a judge has stripped the authority of permission — at least temporarily — to siphon billions of gallons of groundwater a year from across eastern Nevada.  In a highly anticipated decision issued Tuesday but not yet on file with the Seventh District Court in Ely, Senior District Judge Robert Estes ruled that the state’s chief water regulator has more work to do before allowing the authority to sink its wells in four lonesome valleys in Lincoln and White Pine counties. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  Eastern Nevada pipeline opponents win court ruling

More news and commentary over the weekend …

In commentary today …

  • Hard truths about California’s water future: LA Times Editorial:  “At the heart of California’s vast and complex plumbing system, and the plan to re-engineer it with two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, are two truths. The first is that failing to take any action at all will result in almost certain disaster. Climate change is altering the volume of annual Sierra snowpack that feeds the delta, sustains its fragile ecosystem and provides sufficient water to keep Central Valley crops growing and to quench the thirst of urban areas from the East Bay to Southern California. Levees, pumps and canals that were designed for yesterday’s climate conditions cannot stave off environmental and economic collapse if precipitation levels drop or change form from snowfall to winter rain. The second truth is that none of the interests that have worked to craft the draft proposal released last week for public comment can get all the water it wants, because there simply is not enough of it.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Hard truths about California’s water future
  • Shaky rationale behind Brown tunnel plan, says George Skelton:  I’ve used up all my tokens at the LA Times, but maybe you haven’t. You can try it out here:  Shaky rationale behind Brown tunnel plan
  • State needs cost-effective water bond, says Senator Wolk:  “The Legislature will return to Sacramento in January and will immediately face a trio of questions about water.  Can California break the gridlock and move forward on investing in a sustainable water supply for our future?  Can legislators from every region of the state come together on an affordable plan that benefits everyone?  Can we find common ground on the highest-priority solutions that support local and regional self-reliance while we avoid the expensive and controversial large-scale projects that voters will reject?  I believe the answer to all these questions is, “Yes, but it won’t be easy.” … ”  Read more from Senator Wolk at the Davis Enterprise here:  State needs cost-effective water bond
  • State Water Board’s Bay-Delta Plan complements the California Water Action Plan, says Thomas Howard, executive director of the State Water Board:  “We are glad to see Knell endorse the draft California Water Action Plan. The plan is a joint effort among many state agencies, including the state water board. But he misses the bigger picture in both the Water Action Plan and the state water board’s Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay and Delta.  The plans are complementary. The California Water Action Plan is a multifaceted document that includes many actions. Among the actions the plan explicitly contemplates is the state water board’s completion of its Bay-Delta plan. But the California Water Action Plan also recognizes that further actions will be necessary: improved groundwater management, conservation, surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem restoration, habitat improvement and the water necessary to make those improvements work. There is no single solution to California’s water issues.  The state water board’s review of the Bay-Delta Plan is a work in progress. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee:  Thomas Howard: Water board’s Bay-Delta plan complements state’s Water Action Plan
  • Water storage is vital, says Dan Walters:  “While California fights over whether to build twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to carry water, a more important issue may be whether the state has enough reservoir capacity to capture winter rains.  The release last week of detailed plans for building water tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta touches off a legal and political battle that could take years to resolve.  The tunnels, however, are merely one aspect of securing an adequate and dependable water supply for the state — and perhaps not even the most important aspect. … ”  Read more from Dan Walters at the Fresno Bee here:  Water storage is vital in California
  • Fracking rules must have merit as no one is happy, says Thomas Elias:  “There is little doubt an economic bonanza awaits California beneath the surface of the Monterey Shale, a geologic formation stretching from San Benito County south along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley right into parts of Southern California.  One study put the possible job-creating potential of this oil and gas trove at more than 20,000. For sure, it would spread oil industry jobs far beyond their current centers in Kern County and some coastal areas of the state. Oil reserves said to lurk within rock formations are said to amount to at least 15 billion barrels. Not to mention many millions of therms of natural gas. … ”  Read more from Thomas Elias at the Santa Monica Mirror here:  Fracking Rules Must Have Merit; No One Completely Happy


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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