Daily Digest: Water curtailments likely, BDCP flaw, dam decisions and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, California drought prompts likely limits on tapping rivers; California drought may devastate wildlife populations; Santa Barbara looks to sea for water in drought; Has the BDCP’s fatal flaw been found?; Firm seeks to mine the headwaters of the Smith River; Battle brewing over bottled water plant plans for Mt. ShastaEel River Recovery Project releases 2013-2014 report; Incentives designed to speed up Tahoe wetlands restoration; Tulare County couple face summer without water as well runs dry; Dam safety decisions coming on Terminus and Success dam; Fighting invasive species by redesigning boats

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend Daily Digest …

  • 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 flows; Vallejo water pipeline expansion in full swing; Fremont: Water overuse penalties considered; Coarsegold company on the cutting edge of showerheads; Mokelumne Wild and Scenic bill passes Senate Committee; Northern San Joaquin Valley crops literally going nuts; Stockton engineer takes flood-control gate fight to public; Food lines begin in Mendota; 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; UCLA 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: 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 …

In the news today …

  • California Drought Prompts Likely Limits On Tapping Rivers: With summer approaching and California’s snowpack measuring a fraction of normal, state officials said Thursday they will likely order farmers and other big water users to limit the amounts they take from rivers.  The State Water Resources Control Board projected the curtailment letters would be sent out later this month for users on 10 different rivers and their watersheds. It would mark the first such directive since 1977.  Water rights holders were first alerted to the possibility of curtailments in January, when the board sent warning notices. … ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here: California Drought Prompts Likely Limits On Tapping Rivers
  • California drought may devastate wildlife populations:  DEAR JOAN: I am writing because of the drought we are experiencing here in California. I am starting to really worry about what the animals will do when the creeks start drying up. I am very concerned about the larger mammals in particular. Is there anything you can tell me to allay my fears?  –Kim Wingo, Santa Cruz  DEAR KIM: Wish I could, Kim, but things aren’t looking good for our wildlife friends.  An excerpt from a 2012 California Department of Fish and Wildlife report on drought and wildlife sums it up: “California’s wildlife depends on water, just as its citizens do. With water resources becoming increasingly rare, a domino effect takes place in the ecosystem. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: California drought may devastate wildlife populations
  • Santa Barbara Looks to Sea for Water in Drought: This seaside city thought it had the perfect solution the last time California withered in a severe drought more than two decades ago: Tap the ocean to turn salty seawater to fresh water.  The $34 million desalination plant was fired up for only three months and mothballed after a miracle soaking of rain.  As the state again grapples with historic dryness, the city nicknamed the “American Riviera” has its eye on restarting the idled facility to hedge against current and future droughts. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:   California City Looks to Sea for Water in Drought
  • Has the BDCP’s fatal flaw been found?  “Even the young children in Clarksburg, the small “ground zero” community actively fighting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s twin tunnels, took a front seat last Thursday evening in the latest weekly meeting on the plan held by the group North Delta Community Area Residents for Environmental Stability (CARES) at Husick’s Country Store.  The children’s presence seemed appropriate. If the older people in the room fail in blocking the government’s efforts to get the twin tunnels built, those youngsters will have to live with the decades-long impacts of the proposed project that would hook up two giant tunnels to the Sacramento River that flows past Clarksburg. There would be three, three-story high water intake plants built in the vicinity of the now-placid riverfront community. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Has the BDCP’s fatal flaw been found?
  • Firm seeks to mine the headwaters of the Smith River:  “Residents of Del Norte County in the upper reaches of California fear what may happen if a company based in London follows through with plans to mine nickel along the Smith River tributaries.  The Smith is the last major California river without a dam, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, and it is a passageway for spawning fish as well as a source of drinking water for local residents.  “Locating a strip mine in the headwaters of the wild and scenic Smith River is like putting ice cubes made with toxic waste in your favorite drink,” said Grant Werschkull, executive director of the Smith River Alliance in Crescent City. “It’s completely outrageous.” ... ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Firm seeks to mine headwaters of Smith River
  • Battle Brewing Over Bottled Water Plant Plans For Mt. Shasta: In the midst of California’s drought, there’s a fight brewing over bottled water, and the need for jobs.  Bottled water company Crystal Geyser bought Coca Cola’s old Dannon bottling plant at the base of Mount Shasta, with plans to bottle mineral water, tea, and juice, but neighbors complain that the plant won’t be subject to an environmental impact report.  The Winnemem Wintu tribe of Native Americans believes the water is sacred. ... ”  Read more from CBS 2 here: Battle Brewing Over Bottled Water Plant Plans For Mt. Shasta
  • Eel River Recovery Project releases 2013-2014 report: “The Eel River Recovery Project is releasing the final 2013-2014 Fall Chinook Salmon Monitoring Report, which estimates that 14,900 to 25,000 Chinook salmon spawned throughout the watershed last fall and winter. The estimate is based on lower Eel River dive counts and organized observations of migration and spawning throughout the watershed that employ photo and video documentation.… ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Herald here:  Eel River Recovery Project releases 2013-2014 report
  • Incentives Designed To Speed Up Tahoe Wetlands Restoration: With the summer building season approaching at Lake Tahoe, land managers have a new tool at their disposal to restore wetlands. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency offers big incentives to move housing out of wetlands and into urban areas. The agency is offering credits to developers who move planned housing from wetlands to urban areas. And demand is high.  Jeff Cowen of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency says that’s because 90 percent of the developable land is already in use and builders are having trouble finding people willing to sell wetlands. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Incentives Designed To Speed Up Tahoe Wetlands Restoration
  • Tulare County couple face summer without water as well runs dry:Outside her front door, Carmen Almanza has a postcard view of the Sierra Nevada and a huge pot of water for drinking, washing dishes and flushing the toilet.  Carmen, 79, and husband Al, also 79, have lived in this cozy house 33 years, raised seven children and never worried about water in rural Tulare County. But when the kitchen tap suddenly died one morning in early April, they knew their private well had run dry. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Tulare County couple face summer without water as well runs dry
  • Dam safety decisions coming on Terminus and Success dam:  “Earlier this month, Tulare County Supervisor Mike Ennis said that during an upcoming lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., with fellow supervisors, he planned to find out what was delaying a safety report on Success Dam.  Since late 2006, that dam east of Porterville has been under an order restricting how much water it could hold, due in part to concerns that seepage may have compromised its foundation.In addition, Army Corps of Engineers officials worried that the dam also might sit over a geological fault, and during an earthquake the dam might collapse, sending wall of water down the Valley into Porterville. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: Decisions coming on dam safety
  • Fighting invasive species by redesigning boats:  “The battle to protect Minnesota’s cherished lakes and rivers from ruinous invasive species such as zebra mussels has for years focused on cleaning and inspecting boats.  Now that high-stakes fight is shifting to boat design.  This week leaders in the boating industry will gather in Washington, D.C., to take the extraordinary step of examining how boats could be redesigned in ways that would make it harder for the aquatic pests to hide, even as inspections intensify for Minnesota’s 2.3 million boaters. … ”  Read more from the Star Tribune here:  The next step in stopping invasive species: New boat designs?

The latest reservoir and water conditions …

Update your calendar with these water-related events …

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Barely worth mentioning, but here it is:  “A low pressure system dropping southeastward across NorCal will bring cloudiness, below normal temperatures, and a chance of showers into Tuesday. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible today. Dry and warmer weather returns by mid-week.

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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