Daily Digest: Rain coming but drought staying, Famiglietti goes to Capitol Hill, how much water to grow and almond and more …

Daily DigestIn California news today, rain coming, drought staying, Famiglietti takes the science of drought to Capitol Hill, how much water to grow and almond and more, Modesto & Turlock farmers brace for irrigation cuts, Central Valley farmers make tough decisions in face of drought, sediment interfering with Sacramento River pumps, Santa Cruz allowed to keep more water in reservoir, and water and ethics bills playing a big role in legislative session, plus Brown remakes water action plan into drought legislation, says George Skelton …

In the news today …

Rain coming, drought staying: The drought gripping Northern California is far from over. But some more relief from a dry winter is coming.  Rain is expected to begin falling on Marin County Wednesday, and continue into the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Despite an extended drought, now in its third year, Marin’s water supply is plentiful enough that authorities are refraining from enforcing rationing — for now.  “We’re getting more and more confident that we’re going to get a good shot of rain here,” said weather service meteorologist Diana Henderson. “It looks like it might be a couple (weather) systems coming through.” … ”  Read more from the Marin Indpendent Journal here:  Rain coming, drought staying  See also: California drought: Rain coming Wednesday, Friday but won’t help much, from the San Francisco Chronicle

Jay Famiglietti in Washington, DC: Taking the science of drought to Capitol Hill:  ” … a UC Irvine professor has been making the rounds of Capitol Hill delivering even more bad news about water. And he’s not afraid to push the politics to the side to make his point.    Jay Famiglietti is a professor of earth systems science at UCI with a side expertise in civil and environmental engineering. He has his own opinions about the two drought measures. But he’s delivering a message to both Democrats and Republicans: the drought is the least of your worries. Start thinking about disappearing groundwater. … ”  Read more from Southern California Public Radio here: Taking the science of drought to Capitol Hill

How much water it takes to grow and almond & more:  Mother Jones takes a graphical look at California’s fruit and vegetable production, how much water it takes to grow some crops, and more in this article here:  It Takes How Much Water to Grow an Almond?!

Modesto, Turlock irrigation districts brace for water cuts:  “Tuesday morning, boards meeting 14 miles apart will look to a common goal – keeping their Don Pedro Reservoir supply from running out this year.  Directors of the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts will consider water allotments that are roughly half of what farmers enjoy in years of adequate rain and snow. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here:   Modesto, Turlock irrigation districts brace for water cuts

Central Valley growers make tough decisions in the face of the drought:  “With California’s agricultural heartland in the Central Valley entrenched in drought, almond farmers are letting orchards dry up and in some cases making the tough call to have their trees torn out of the ground, leaving behind empty fields.  Barry Baker is one of many who hired a crew that brought in large rumbling equipment to perform the grim task in a cloud of dust in the Central Valley. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:   In California’s Central Valley, growers face tough choices during drought

Fresno projected to get zero federal water, but small cities will get some:  “My story Saturday about the zero water allocations for San Joaquin Valley farmers glossed over a nuance that should be reported. And federal officials got one thing wrong.  The city of Fresno is not projected to get Central Valley Project water, as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported Friday. … ” Continue reading here:   Fresno projected to get zero federal water, but small cities will get some

Sediment blocking Sacramento River intake pumps:  “The City Council is expected to approve spending $300,000 at Tuesday night’s council meeting to clear sediment away from the Sacramento River intake plant at Jiboom Street.  Bill Busath with the city’s Department of Utilities says submersible pumps will be installed to take water out of the river when water levels are too low for the main pump to operate. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Sediment Blocking Installation Of Backup River Pumps

Ahead of Santa Cruz rationing vote, state allows more water to stay in reservoir:  “To help Santa Cruz better cope with the ongoing drought, the state water board has approved an urgent request by the city to release less water from Loch Lomond Reservoir than regulators typically require for environmental reasons.  The state issued the temporary order with the requirement that Santa Cruz implement mandatory service cuts by May 1 and determined the move was exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review because of the drought emergency declared by Gov. Jerry Brown in mid-January. The city reported that fisheries regulators do not intend to oppose the order. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Ahead of Santa Cruz rationing vote, state allows more water to stay in reservoir

Water and ethics bills playing big roles in legislative session:  “Drought and water issues will play a prominent role in this year’s legislative session as most of California is dealing with the consequences of one of the driest periods on record.   Since the Legislature reconvened in January, 1,929 bills were introduced in advance of Friday’s deadline.  The legislation reflects a sense of urgency among lawmakers after three dry winters have forced farmers to fallow fields and some communities to declare mandatory water reductions. At least 17 communities have dangerously low drinking water supplies. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Water, ethics bills play big roles in 2014 session

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition of the Daily Digest …

Daily Digest, weekend edition: Zero allocation for ag, maybe El Nino next year?, final BDCP meeting, plus more news and commentary

In commentary today …

Brown remakes the Water Action Plan as emergency drought legislation, says George Skelton:  “If a product doesn’t sell, try repackaging and renaming. That’s a proven strategy, whatever you’re peddling.  Good timing also helps.  Thus, when the governor’s California Water Action Plan sits on a shelf unnoticed for a while — and outside it is very dry — reshape and rewrap the contents as Emergency Drought Legislation.  Bingo. There’s a buying frenzy. … ”  Read more here:  Capitol Journal: Brown makes the sale on water program

Chair needs to keep Stanislaus County groundwater committee on task, says the Modesto Bee:  ” …  DeMartini, a West Side farmer, will convene the first meeting of the county’s Water Advisory Committee on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Kirk Lindsey Center, 1020 10th St. The committee has 21 members, including the county’s new water resources manager, Walt Ward. Its job is to make recommendations for rules for using and protecting groundwater – a subject that touches every person living in Stanislaus County. All of the county’s cities pump groundwater for all or part of their drinking water; those living in the county rely on the same water or have their own pumps.  This meeting could be contentious. … ”  Read the full editorial here:   Our View: Chair needs to keep groundwater committee on task

Water won’t run through lines in the sand, says columnist:  “To butcher an old adage, if you want to muck things up, form a committee — particularly one where the members don’t get along.  While farmers in the Salinas Valley are increasingly worried about future irrigation water, the federal Bureau of Reclamation told farmers in the Central Valley on Friday that they will have a zero allocation of water from the Central Valley Water Project.  Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento are introducing water bills that often serve only to counter the other party’s water bills. And in Washington D.C? (The sound of a despondent sigh.) … ”  Read more of this column at the Salinas Californian here:  Dennis Taylor: Water won’t run through lines in the sand

L.A. should adopt dual meters and a new pricing structure for outdoor water use, says commentary: Los Angeles uses less water per capita than any other U.S. city with more than 1 million people: about 123 gallons per person per day. Although the city is setting an example for the rest of the state, it can do much more. California is in a severe drought, and the water supply is expected to remain uncertain from year to year. We suggest the most straightforward path in L.A. to proactively plan for a drier future is to install dual residential water meters, one for indoor water use, the other for outdoor water use. … ”  Read more the full commentary at the LA Times here:   What L.A. can do to prepare for a drier future

Precipitation watch …

weatherRain is due midweek:  “Wet weather is forecast to return to the interior of northern California by mid-week and continue into the weekend. Significant precipitation along with snow across the higher elevations and gusty winds will be possible by the end of the week.

For the latest reservoir and water conditions …

Reservoir and water conditions for February 24, 2014

Tune up your calendar …

Check out this listing of water-related meetings, conferences and events which might be of interest to you: What’s on the calendar this week and beyond …

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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.

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