Daily Digest: Drought, Sites Reservoir and Owens Valley, plus slight chance of precipitation later this week

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Daily DigestColorado River drought forcing a painful reckoning, Glenn and Butte County brace for drought, outrage in the Owens Valley, plus drought a chance to rethink water use, says editorial

On the calendar today …

  • The 2014 California Water Policy Seminar Series kicks off at UC Davis today with Micheal Rozensweig speaking on Reconciliation Ecology from 4:10 to 5:30pm  Everyone welcome.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

  • Colorado River drought, now in its 14th year, is forcing a painful reckoning:  ” … The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads.  But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States
  • Butte and Glenn counties brace for dry conditions:  ” … Inevitably, groundwater levels will be impacted, said Paul Gosselin, director of Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation.  Some areas of the county have already shown wells down to historical lows, and overall the groundwater is as low as during the drought of 2007-2009, Gosselin said.  Over the past 13 years, precipitation has been below average, with only 2011 above average, Gosselin said.  “We may be going into uncharted territory,” Gosselin said. … ”  Read more from the Enterprise-Record here:  Water news is about as bad as it gets; Butte and Glenn counties brace
  • More drought:  NPR covers the drought here:  No Relief Forecast After One Of California’s Driest Years Ever

  • Sites Reservoir not even close: Those who have been waiting for the construction of Sites Reservoir to solve the state’s burgeoning water woes will still have to wait.  The federal Bureau of Reclamation released a progress report on north-of-the-Delta storage projects that sums up the work that has been conducted to date.  But the report does not advance the project along, it only provides information previously unavailable to the public, said Michelle Denning, regional planning officer for the Bureau of Reclamation. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Sites Reservoir Project not close
  • Outrage in Owens Valley continues:  ” … 100 years after the Owens River was diverted to L.A., the story is not over. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the city’s action set in motion a widening circle of impacts that continue to shape conflicts and challenges.  Water, of course, is at the heart of it. But no longer is the Owens River the focal point. Now much of the controversy is about groundwater pumping that long ago dried up seeps and springs and is blamed now for harming many of the valley’s lush, ecologically important meadows.  “Year after year, we watch the grasses die back. We watch the shrubs move in. We watch the weeds come in,” said Sally Manning, environmental director of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe whose ancestors carved the first irrigation ditches in the valley centuries ago. “Years go by and nothing gets done.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Outrage in Owens Valley a century after L.A. began taking its water

More news and commentary …

In commentary today …

  • A dry year means we can rethink our water use, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  ” … Typically, our state makes progress on evolving water management only in dry years, and thus 2014 promises to be a banner year for innovation.  Snowpack, nature’s water storage system that we rely on, so far this year is 20 percent of average, according to Friday’s statewide survey. This follows 2012, a year when the snowpack also measured 20 percent of average – and was the driest year on record. The other fact of life here is that dry years affect regions differently. … ”  Read more here:  California’s dry year is a chance to rethink water use

Precipitation watch …


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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