Daily Digest: Water meters, desal tech, and Manteca’s flood strategy, plus State Water Board workshop on webcast today

Daily DigestIn California water news today, water meters gaining grudging acceptance, mega-millions being poured into desal tech, and Manteca dives into its flood strategy, plus commentaries and the State Water Board workshop on the Temporary Urgency Change Petition on webcast today

On webcast today …

  • Workshop on Temporary Urgency Change Petition: The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public workshop this morning beginning at 9am and continuing tomorrow if necessary to receive input on the order approving a Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) filed by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) (collectively referred to as Petitioners) regarding Delta water quality. The Board will also receive input related to Board drought-related water curtailment actions.  Click here for the meeting notice.  Click here for the webcast.

In the news today …

  • Water meters gaining grudging acceptance: Southern Californians have long been used to having water meters:  “But it was a different story in and around the capital city of Sacramento, surrounded by thousands of homes with thirsty lawns, swimming pools and toilets that flushed away more water than necessary. While conservation was being preached, resistance to installing meters remained steadfast.  Those residents today use nearly 50 percent more water than Southern Californians, even though they’ve cut back considerably over time. And it will be years before water meters are universal in the Sacramento area.  “Over my dead body,” is how former San Diego legislator Christine Kehoe described the Sacramento region’s reaction to mandatory meters. … ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here:  Water meters gain grudging acceptance up north
  • Mega-millions being poured into desalination, reports CNBC:  ” … Desalination was a dreamy fiction during the California Water Wars of the early 20th century that inspired the classic 1974 movie “Chinatown.” In the 1980s, however, the process of forcing seawater through reverse osmosis membranes to filter out salt and other impurities became a reliable, even essential, tool in regions of the world desperate for water.  The process, however, is energy intensive and thus expensive, making it practical only in places where energy is cheap, such as the oil-rich Middle East. But recent technological advances in membrane materials and energy recovery systems have about halved the energy requirements for desalination, giving the once cost-prohibitive technology a fresh appeal in a state gripped with fear that it may be in the early stages of a decades-long mega-drought. … ”  Read more from CNBC here:  Parched California Pours Mega-Millions Into Desalination Tech
  • Manteca to work on flood strategy:  “With California locked in the grip of a three-year drought and coming off the driest year on record, Manteca’s elected leaders are expected tonight to move forward with the first step of a state mandated requirement that they identify areas prone to 200-year flooding and take steps to protect those areas.  The Manteca City Council is considering approving  spending $61,622 as its 50 percent share of retaining the firm of Peterson, Brustad, Inc. to develop a 200-year flood profile for the San Joaquin River as well as develop floodplain information for all areas protected by Reclamation District 17 levees. Lathrop’s City Council has already authorized spending $61,622 as their half of the $123,244 contract. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Gearing up for 200-year flood
  • San Diego’s stormwater bill could top $4 billion: California’s quest for clean water is about to get very, very expensive.  Last week San Diego officials alerted Wall Street that regulations designed to scrub pollution from urban runoff could cost $4 billion over the next 17 years.  For perspective, the city’s infamous unfunded pension liability was $2.3 billion in June 2012, according to the most recent actuarial report. San Diego’s total revenue last year was $2.75 billion. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  San Diego’s stormwater bill: $4 billion

Plenty more news and commentary …

Here at Maven’s Notebook, water news never goes home for the weekend, or the holiday, for that matter, so plenty more water news and commentary was posted in these editions of the Daily Digest:

In commentary today …

  • Do rationing right, says Thomas Elias: Looking at the dry conditions, Mr. Elias writes: “Short of millennial downpours in late winter or early spring, this means water rationing is almost certain for most Californians. When and if it comes, there are lessons to be learned from what happened 37 years ago.  Rationing must be fair and include heavy consequences for failure to comply, homeowners must be willing to let some landscaping go brown, and the entire system must be free of politics. Otherwise, there’s a good chance large numbers of residents simply won’t comply. ... ”  Read more here:  Tom Elias: Water rationing — if it comes, do it right
  • H.R. 3964 is disgraceful politcal pandering, says former CCWD GM Wally Bishop:  “The stated purpose of the bill is to help California with its current drought emergency. It does not do that.  I have been a water manager and leader in California for more than 35 years and have never seen such a cynical and blatant disregard for the citizens of this state than what was placed in this bill under the guise of helping us with our terrible drought.  This bill was introduced by a group of GOP representatives with strong ties to agricultural special interests. It does not deal with the fundamental problems we will face this year or maybe next as a result of the water shortage, but it does provide for a whole host of long-term, special-interest benefits that are not drought related. ... ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here:  Cynical water bill in House is disgraceful political pandering

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Only light precipitation expected with the storm passing through:  From the National Weather Service:  “The next weather system to affect the region will move through portions of northern California tonight into early Wednesday. While it will bring plenty of clouds, precipitation is forecast to be light – a disappointment for making any dents into the drought!” 

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

Maven’s Notebook
California water news. It’s just what I do.

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