Daily Digest: State may be ready for groundwater reforms, a look at drought from the top of the Sierras, and more

Daily DigestIn California water news, after years of overpumping groundwater, the state may be ready for reforms; Mountain counties look at drought from the top of the Sierras; State plans to maintain Delta water quality detailed; Cal-Fire to hire 29 firefighters for North Coast fire stations; Napa supervisors asked to support Senator Wolk’s bond measure; San Francisco’s emergency water system has major deficiencies; and Storm could give Valley a drenching and put snow in the Sierra plus Courtland farmer explains opposition to Delta dams

In the news today …

  •  After years of overpumping groundwater, the state may be ready for reforms:  “For nearly 50 years, California has passed sweeping environmental laws that limit private property for the common good — from the nation’s toughest automobile pollution standards to curbs on clear-cutting forests to rules requiring that developers keep beaches open to the public.  However, when it comes to preserving one of the state’s most critical and politically divisive resources — billions of gallons of groundwater that are vital to farms and cities — California lawmakers and voters have done almost nothing.  Now, driven by the historic drought and new pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, the chances of reform appear better than ever. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California Drought: After years of overpumping groundwater, state may be ready for reforms
  • Mountain counties look at drought from the top of the Sierras: Two federal officials, two state officials from the Governor’s office of emergency services, a statewide water organization representative, and three speakers from local water districts shared up-to-date information on California’s water situation at The Ridge Golf Course and Events Center in Auburn on March 11. The program, entitled “Drought: A View from the Top,” was a joint program by Mountain Counties Water Resources Association and Region 3 of the Association of California Water Agencies. … ”  Hear what they had to say here: Mountain Counties looks at drought from the top of the Sierras
  • State plans to maintain Delta water quality detailed:  “Skeptical Delta landowners heard details Thursday night of a state plan to install four rock barriers in the estuary, an effort to block salinity from San Francisco Bay and allow officials to hold back more water in reservoirs this summer.  Without the barriers, three major reservoirs would sink to “dead pool” levels before the coming dry season ends, the Department of Water Resources’ Paul Marshall said at a meeting of the Delta Protection Commission in Stockton. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  State plans to maintain Delta water quality detailed
  • IPCC panel issues 2,610 report on climate change: ‘It’s a call to action’ says chairman: “If the world doesn’t cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, the already noticeable harms of global warming could spiral “out of control,” the head of a United Nations scientific panel warned Monday.  And he’s not alone. The Obama White House says it is taking this new report as a call for action, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying “the costs of inaction are catastrophic.”Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that issued the 32-volume, 2,610-page report here early Monday, told The Associated Press: “it is a call for action.” Without reductions in emissions, he said, impacts from warming “could get out of control.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Global warming dials up our risks, says UN Panel
  • Cal-Fire to hire 29 firefighters for North Coast fire stations:  “CalFire will hire 29 more seasonal firefighters in its Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit starting Monday and will open its Healdsburg station, responding to a threat of wildfire that has been dramatically heightened by the long drought.  Several hundred seasonal firefighters are being brought on to staff fire stations in locations extending from the Sacramento foothills to San Diego County, said CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat here:  CalFire to hire 29 firefighters for North Coast stations
  • Napa supervisors asked to support Senator Wolk’s bond measure:California’s drought has left lawmakers in Sacramento wrangling over proposals for billions in bond funding for water projects that will likely be sent to voters in November, with seven potential bond measures under consideration.  The Napa County Board of Supervisors, however, is close to picking its favorite — a $6.825 billion bond measure being carried by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, who represents the county in the Senate.  The board is preparing to vote in support of Wolk’s measure, Senate Bill 848, at its meeting Tuesday, adding its voice to a debate presently rippling throughout the state. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Napa supervisors asked to endorse Lois Wolk’s water funding plan
  • Yolo Bypass Tour Part 2: This is the second in a series of reports on the Yolo Bypass, after taking a tour of the expansive flood control, wildlife habitat and agricultural region.  The second segment of the tour took the 40-plus in attendance to the Fremont Weir, at the northeastern edge of the Bypass at the confluence of the Feather River. It also connects to the Toe Drain, which is connected to the Delta and the Sacramento Deepwater Channel.  The Fremont Weir was first constructed in 1917, and lines along the right bank of the Sacramento River in Yolo County. It is approximately 15 miles northwest of Sacramento, and spans 9,120 feet long. Its design is to hold 343,00 cubic feet per second of water. ... ”  Read more from the River News Herald here: Yolo Bypass Tour Part 2: Fremont Weir
  • San Francisco’s emergency water system has major deficiencies:  “San Francisco’s emergency water supply system – key to fighting the recent Mission Bay blaze and the Marina quake-caused conflagration in 1989 – has large gaps and lacks the equipment needed to douse the multiple fires likely to break out after a major earthquake, a Chronicle investigation has found.  City voters have approved hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds over the decades to build an elaborate system of above-ground and subterranean reservoirs, giant pumping stations and seismically hardened pipes – all to ensure there’s plenty of water to extinguish fires if an earthquake shatters the main water supply system. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Major deficiencies in S.F.’s emergency water system
  • Storm could give Valley a drenching and put snow in the Sierra:A second, more powerful Pacific storm — a potential rainmaker — is expected to arrive in the central San Joaquin Valley later on Monday.  Fresno got a quarter-of-an-inch of rain from Saturday night’s storm, and should get a half-inch starting Monday afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m., the National Weather Service says.  The latest storm will continue through possibly Wednesday morning, said Gary Sanger, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hanford. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Rain could give Valley a drenching and snow in the Sierra
DWR Reservoir Graphic

Click here to view the latest reservoir and water conditions.

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

Check out the latest reservoir and water conditions …

In commentary today …

  • Courtland farmer explains opposition to Delta dams:  “Courtland pear farmer Tim Neubarth, whose Steamboat Acres family farm is at the mouth of Steamboat Slough in the California Delta, believes the three barrier dams planned by the state are totally “for the benefit of the water users down south.”  That’s what he told the Delta Protection Commission at their Stockton meeting this week. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Courtland farmer explains opposition to proposed Delta dams

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Service: “Another storm will move into northern California today and Tuesday with showers lingering through Wednesday. Significant snow totals possible at higher elevations will cause hazardous and slow travel over mountain roadways. Snow is possible down to the foothills. Rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast for lower elevations, which may become severe. Follow weather.gov/Sacramento for your local forecast.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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