Daily Digest: Dept. of Toxic Substances Control slow to take action, drought, 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 …

  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control very slow to take action, an LA Times investigation finds:  ” … The Department of Toxic Substances Control is supposed to use regulations, fines and the threat of legal action to protect Californians and the environment. But its oversight of hazardous waste operations — and its response to urgent problems — are often ineffectual and glacially slow.  This conclusion emerges from a Los Angeles Times review of departmental inspection reports, internal memos, court records and local fire and health department documents, as well as from interviews with residents, business owners and regulators.  … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  Toxic waste watchdog can be glacially slow
  • Facing up to the real costs of the twin tunnels:  “There are two ways to look at any big-ticket item you’re going to buy using borrowed money. There’s the sticker price — say the $30,000 you agree to pay Volkswagen or Toyota or Ford when you buy a new vehicle. And then there’s the price of the money you borrow for the purchase. Let’s say you take out a $30,000 loan to buy the car and agree to pay 5 percent interest over five years. You’ll get your nice new ride and pay thousands more than the original price as you pay it off. That same kind of calculation comes into play when considering much bigger purchases — you might think of them as “projects” — like Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to re-plumb the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by building twin 35-mile tunnels. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Coming Face to Face With the Real Cost of the Delta Tunnel Plan
  • Interest boosts tunnels to $67 billion:  The AP picks up on yesterday’s story from the Mercury News:  “New figures that factor in long-term financing costs have more than doubled the estimated $25 billion price tag for a plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a newspaper reported Thursday.  At the heart of the plan unveiled last summer by Gov. Jerry Brown are two underground tunnels that would replace the delta’s current pumping system, which has proven deadly to salmon and other fish and therefore led the federal government to limit its operation. State officials have pegged the cost of building the tunnel and restoring nearby wetlands at $25 billion, making it one of the costliest public works projects in state history.  But when interest payments on bonds to finance the project are factored in, the estimated cost goes up to between $51 billion and $67 billion, the San Jose Mercury News reported. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Interest boosts twin tunnels to $67 billion

  • Driest year ever sparks fire, water fears:  “California is enduring its driest calendar year on record, with no signs of relief coming anytime soon. In San Francisco, the city is seeing its driest year since records began during the Gold Rush year of 1849.  Although a drought emergency has not yet been officially declared, a lack of rain and snow this winter could bring catastrophic losses to California agriculture, as water allotments are slashed by state agencies. … ”  Read more from USA Today here:  Driest year ever in Calif. sparks fire, water fears  See this also from the Accu-Weather Western Weather Blog:  Record Dry 2013 Continues Into 2014
  • Sacramento region urged to conserve water:  “In a statement issued today, agency officials said the region is experiencing its third consecutive dry winter.  Although the Sacramento region as a whole is not facing an emergency situation because of these ongoing dry conditions, the agency is asking its customers to voluntarily reduce water use.  “Conserving water is important to assure a continued reliable supply of water to our customers and to everyone in the region. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Water Conservation Urged For Sacramento Region

In commentary today …

  • BDCP will protect Silicon Valley water supply, says Richard Santos, SCVWD:  ” … The proposed project only allows as much water to be exported as the Delta ecosystem can support. Federal fishery agencies will continue to have discretion over water deliveries based on ecological factors.  The plan is also intended to provide a more reliable means to secure the water that is already allocated to water agencies, like ours, in wet years.  Though not a magic bullet, the plan is attempting to address many complicated and longstanding issues.  At the same time, we will continue to promote greater water efficiency and develop new recycled water supplies so that we can reduce our reliance on imported water. We are implementing programs to conserve nearly 100,000 acre-feet (or 32.6 million gallons) of water each year by 2030, equaling almost one quarter of our total water use. And we plan to more than double our recycled water use by 2025. … ”  Read the full commentary at the Milpitas Post here:  Delta fix must protect Silicon Valley’s water supply
  • Legislature needs to take groundwater depletion seriously, says the Desert Sun:  … The Desert Sun’s earlier investigation, based on records provided by the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, found the depth of wells here have fallen an average of 55 feet since 1970.  Near Visalia, farmers have drilled new and deeper wells to reach the receding water. The USGS reports that in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley so much water has been drained that the ground has sunk nearly a foot a year.  Unchecked, these problems could lead to restrictions on development and threaten the state’s $45 billion-a-year agricultural industry. California grows half of the nation’s vegetables, fruits and nuts. … ”   Read the full editorial here:  Exert greater controls on groundwater usage

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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