Daily Digest, weekend edition: San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors poised to ‘make a call’ on the river, Delta Protection Commission holds BDCP comment workshop, and more …

120In California water news today, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors poised to ‘make a call’ on the river; Delta Protection Commission holds BDCP comment workshop; residents speak out; Water slows but milk flowsVallejo water pipeline expansion in full swingFremont: Water overuse penalties consideredCoarsegold company on the cutting edge of showerheadsMokelumne Wild and Scenic bill passes Senate CommitteeNorthern San Joaquin Valley crops literally going nutsStockton engineer takes flood-control gate fight to publicFood lines begin in MendotaFontana water customers to see $10.6 million refund, and retroactive rate decrease; New program to pay water users to take less from drought-stricken Colorado RiverUCLA researchers unveil a better way to clean brackish water; Feds say the U.S. can double hydropower, plus Get ready for a water war in the Valley, says Mike Dunbar

In the news this weekend …

  • San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors poised to ‘make a call’ on the river:  “Instead of water from Millerton Lake flowing south down the Friant Kern Canal to irrigate farms in Tulare County, water from the dam may be released down the river to wet fields in the Los Banos area as soon as next week.  With no word out of the federal Bureau of Reclamation on increasing the water allotment to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors, that group’s executive director Steve Chedester says they are poised to “make a call” on river water to be released from Friant Dam next week. The Exchange Contractors have priority on San Joaquin River water unless the bureau supplies them with an alternative as they always have until this year’s drought. The contractors are guaranteed 75 percent of their contract supply, even in a dry year. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: John Lindt: Local farmers face water loss next week
  • Delta Protection Commission holds BDCP comment workshop; residents speak out: In an effort to live up to its name, the Delta Protection Commission hosted a workshop for residents to comment on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s EIR/EIS before the public comment period expires on June 13.  Earlier this year, BDCP outreach representatives held 12 open house format meetings throughout the state with a court reporter station for the public to make comments. Over 850 people attended the public meetings, and thousands of comments were recorded as a result. Yet, the DPC’s setup was different, and took the more traditional forum of a microphone and speaking cards – where residents would be recorded in public and speak to those in attendance about their concerns with the plan. ... ”  Read more from the River News-Herald here:  Delta Protection Commission holds BDCP comment workshop; residents speak out
  • Water slows but milk flows:  “Dairy producer Mike Monteiro spent nearly $1 million late last year to drill three new wells on his 2,500-acre farm near Hanford, Calif. Two consecutive years of drought, in 2012 and 2013, had reduced the corn silage crop that feeds his herds, persuading him to make the capital expenditure.  Now, with California in its third year of drought, he’s glad he did.  “With the three wells, we’ll have enough water to plant normally,” Monteiro says. “But we’re going to have to spend a lot of money on the cost of pumping that water.” … ”  Read more from AgWeb here:  Water Slows But Milk Flows
  • Vallejo water pipeline expansion in full swing: Vallejo’s expedited Lake Berryessa water-pipeline expansion project is in full swing as the city braces for reduced access to state-controlled Sacramento River water over the dry summer months.  The emergency project, which the City Council unanimously approved on March 5, is expected to prvide the city with up to 32 million gallons of water per day — more than enough to meet summer demand — according to public works officials.  By mid-June, the city’s demand for water is expected to be 28 million gallons per day, officials said. … ”  Read more from the Vallejo Times-Herald here: Vallejo water pipeline expansion in full swing
  • Fremont: Water overuse penalties considered: Burdened with a $15 million budget shortfall caused by the drought, water district directors will meet Monday to consider bridging the fiscal gap by penalizing heavy water users.  The method Alameda County Water District leaders would have to approve involves “drought surcharge” water rates that increase per-gallon charges for customers in single-family residences as they exceed mandated water-use levels. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: Fremont: Water overuse penalties considered
  • Coarsegold company on the cutting edge of showerheads:  “Inventor David Malcolm always believed the low-flow showerhead he created would do well. But even he has been surprised by the boost in business his tiny Coarsegold company — High Sierra Showerheads — has been getting lately.  Demand for his slim-looking invention has swelled as Californians look for ways to reduce their water consumption amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Coarsegold company on cutting edge of low-flow showerheads
  • Mokelumne Wild and Scenic bill passes Senate Committee: “The Mokelumne River continues to flow toward becoming designated as a California Wild and Scenic River following a 7-2 vote of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on Tuesday.  Senate Bill 1199 – sponsored by Sen. Lori Hancock, a Democrat out of Berkeley, and introduced April 4 – aims to protect a stretch of 37 miles of the Mokelumne River, including the remaining free-flowing segments of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne River. A Wild and Scenic River designation gives California waterways protection from many future impacts, particularly dams. … ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here: Wild and Scenic passes Senate committee
  • Northern San Joaquin Valley crops literally going nuts:Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties rank near the top in agricultural sales for the United States, but the just-released 2012 Census of Agriculture shows this region’s crops have shifted dramatically.  It’s nuts. Literally. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Crops in the Northern San Joaquin Valley shifted dramatically in 2012 to nuts
  • Stockton engineer takes flood-control gate fight to public:  Having failed to win a contract to fix Smith Canal, a Stockton engineer is taking the unorthodox step of attempting to win approval from the public instead.  While Dominick Gulli says it’s not a case of “sour grapes,” officials worry that his fight against a proposed flood-control gate could jeopardize a plan that has been in the works for years to rescue thousands of central Stockton residents from forced flood insurance. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Stockton engineer takes flood-control gate fight to public
  • Food lines begin in Mendota:  “Mendota Mayor Robert Silva Friday said food lines already have begun in his west Fresno County city — where he predicts the jobless rate will hit 50% among the largely Latino farmworker residents. “The line was a block long today,” Silva said. “This is going to be tragic this summer. This is going to be ugly. We need water released from the dams for farming now.” … ”  Read more here:  Food lines have begun in Mendota
  • Fontana water customers to see $10.6 million refund and retroactive rate decrease: “Each of the 44,000 metered customers in the Fontana division of the San Gabriel Valley Water Company could see a check for $240, and a retroactive rate decrease, according to the Office of Ratepayer Advocates. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Fontana water customers to see $10.6 million refund, and retroactive rate decrease
  • New program to pay water users to take less from drought-stricken Colorado River:  Farmers, cities and power plant operators could soon be paid to cut their use of the Colorado River under a new interstate program aimed at keeping more water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell.  The four largest communities fed by the Colorado plan to pour millions of dollars into a fund to help farmers and industrial operations pay for efficiency improvements and conservation measures to cut their river water use. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here: New program to pay water users to take less from drought-stricken Colorado River
  • UCLA researchers unveil a better way to clean brackish water: UCLA researchers this week rolled out a new mobile water treatment technology designed to cut the costs of getting the salt out of brackish groundwater and agricultural runoff.  It’s a desalination plant installed in 40-foot cargo container able to treat up to 25,000 gallons of water a day — enough to provide about 50,000 people with clean, fresh water for reuse in irrigation and household uses. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: UCLA researchers unveil a better way to clean brackish water
  • Feds say the U.S. can double hydropower:  “The Grand Canyon was once targeted as a major dam site by the federal government, a project eventually scuttled after widespread protest. Nobody is revisiting the idea of a dam there, but a new U.S. Department of Energy report shows that the Grand Canyon and other major gorges and rivers across the U.S. may be ideal for hydropower development.  The DOE study suggests America’s rivers are troves of vast untapped hydropower potential and developing many of them could help combat climate change by using renewable energy to reduce reliance on coal-fired power plants that emit climate-changing greenhouse gases. … ”  Read more from Climate Central here: Feds say U.S. can double hydropower

In commentary this weekend …

  • Get ready for a water war in the Valley, says Mike Dunbar:  “Here’s a best-case scenario:In the name of helping endangered fish, the state takes 40 percent of the water flowing down the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers and sends it to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, leaving a third less for irrigation. Farmers start pumping more groundwater for their trees and vines. After a couple of droughts, there isn’t enough groundwater left, and the trees and vines begin dying. Everyone loses. Meanwhile, south valley farmers get guaranteed water deliveries from the new gigantic tunnels near Sacramento. With this reliable supply, their trees and vines flourish; their land prices rise and they make huge profits when there’s no competition from nut farmers to the north.  Oh, did I mention that this is someone else’s best-case scenario? It’s a nightmare for everyone from Merced to Manteca. ... ”  Read more from Mike Dunbar at the Modesto Bee here: Mike Dunbar: Get ready for a water war in the Valley
  • Tapping the Sacramento River in a drought year makes huge difference for EBMUD customers, say EBMUD officials: Our state is in the midst of a relentless drought. But after a winter of dismal precipitation, the water supply prospects of the 1.3 million East Bay Municipal Utility District customers are in far better shape than during the last drought.  That’s thanks to the Freeport Regional Water Facility, the crucial investment our generation of ratepayers has made in water supply reliability.  For the first time in EBMUD’s history, severe drought may not lead to severe rationing. … ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here: Commentary: Tapping the Sacramento River in a drought year makes huge difference for EBMUD customers
  • California’s very weird Governor’s race:  Slightly off-topic, so I’m flashing my blogger’s artistic license:  “This year’s election for governor of the Golden State is just plain weird.  Jerry Brown is seeking a history-making fourth term, and his top challenger — trailing by nearly 40 points in recent polls — is a Tea Party darling still on probation after airport security in 2012 caught him with a loaded handgun registered to an 83-year-old woman. Behind him is another Republican so lacking in name recognition that he actually fell behind a registered sex offender in one poll. … ”  Read more here:  California’s very weird governor’s race

 weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Weather Service: Don’t get your hopes up: Not that we’re expecting much at this time of the year: “A low pressure system will be moving through northern California over the next few days. This weak system will only bring light precipitation and clouds with below normal temperatures. Only minor impacts are expected. Warming is expected by mid week.”

Check out the most popular posts and out-clicks for last week …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

Get the Notebook blog by email and never miss a post!

  • Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!

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.

Photo credit:  Photo of tree at Babel Slough by Maven.  The last of my pics from my recent trip.  Monday, it’s back to the icon until I design something more lively …

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: