Daily Digest: Feinstein working to keep CA drought legislation alive, Santa Barbara City Council starts process to reactivate desal plant, plus the BDCP, water cops, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, anti-drought bill the talk of the California delegation; Skepticism growing toward ‘twin tunnels’ project: Gov. Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan in hot water; Siskiyou supervisors join call for ‘balanced’ California water bond; Rice planting moving along, with some changes due to tight water supply; Sacramento water conservation cops watch every…last…drop; Bill to create a Paso Robles groundwater management district moves forward; Santa Barbara Council starts reactivation process for desalination plant Mojave Desert groundwater supplies, and the world is unprepared for major El Nino later this year …

In the news today …

  • Anti-drought bill the talk of the California delegation:  “Beneath a placid surface, California lawmakers are furiously churning to keep an anti-drought bill afloat.  They’re counting votes, making tradeoffs and tinkering with language. They’re confronting singular political calculations like: Will a Lake Mead provision for Nevada, home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, cause problems with other Democrats upstream in Colorado?  And, no mean feat, they are meeting. … ”  Read more from McClatchy News here: Anti-drought bill the talk of the California delegation
  • Skepticism growing toward ‘twin tunnels’ project: Gov. Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan in hot water: “If you haven’t heard about the “twin tunnels” yet, get ready to hear a lot.  By now, most California residents have heard about Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to construct two 40-foot diameter peripheral tunnels 150-feet below the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state’s largest and most critical water supply. The plan has been estimated to cost between $25 and $67 billion, depending on whom you ask – opponents or proponents.  The plan itself, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), has been under intense scrutiny from local and congressional lawmakers, Delta residents, farmers and fishermen. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Bay View here: Skepticism growing toward ‘twin tunnels’ project: Gov. Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan in hot water
  • Siskiyou supervisors join call for ‘balanced’ California water bond:With the state closing in on a water bond, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is looking at which alliances might best represent north state concerns.  Prompted by a letter from Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida, the board took up the question of whether it will join a broad coalition of counties interested in shaping a state water bond. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Siskiyou supervisors join call for ‘balanced’ California water bond
  • Rice planting moving along, with some changes due to tight water supply: After delays due to weather and uncertainties about water supply, rice planting is well underway.  Farm Adviser Cass Mutters, UC Cooperative Extension, said planting is taking place more quickly than he would have expected.  By his estimate, 25-30 percent of the land has been planted within Butte County, and perhaps more across the river in Glenn County. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Rice planting moving along, with some changes due to tight water supply
  • Photo gallery: Planting rice in the Sacramento Valley:  Check out this photo gallery from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Photos: Rice Planting via Airplane
  • Sacramento Water Conservation Cops Watch Every…Last…Drop: Since the Sacramento City Council issued a drought declaration in January, the city has used about 6 billion gallons of water. That’s almost 900 million gallons less than the average usage for this time of year, but still short of the conservation goal set by the council. So we spent a couple of days with city’s conservation employees to see what they’re doing to help people save water.  Tens of millions of gallons are escaping from faucets, broken pipes, and into gutters in the city of Sacramento every day. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Sacramento Water Conservation Cops Watch Every…Last…Drop
  • Bill to create a Paso Robles groundwater management district moves forward:A bill in the California Legislature that would help form a Paso Robles groundwater management district passed an initial hurdle Wednesday when it was approved by the Assembly Local Government Committee.  It now goes before the entire state Assembly, which has until May 30 to vote. If successful there, the bill would move on to the state Senate. … ”  Read more here: Bill to create North County water district moves forward
  • Santa Barbara Council Starts Reactivation Process for Desalination Plant:Worried about another dry year, the Santa Barbara City Council has started the reactivation process for its desalination plant.  The city approved contracts Tuesday for preliminary design services, specialty legal support and lobbying services at a cost of $935,628.  Reactivating the facility is part of the city’s long-term drought plan, and at the earliest it could be operational by summer 2016, said Joshua Haggmark, the acting water resources manager. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara Council Starts Reactivation Process for Desalination Plant
  • Mojave Desert groundwater basin managers talk about the future of their water supplies: ““Conservation will never go away again in California,” Mojave Water Agency’s Jim Ventura told the Basin Wide Foundation breakfast bunch at the Helen Gray Education Center on Thursday, May 1.“With all the recent headlines about drought, we’ve asked a representative from each water agency to tell us where they see our water today and in the future.” … ”  Read more from The Desert Trail here:  Basin water tenders peer into future
  • And lastly … The world is unprepared for major El Nino later this year:  “The weather is preparing to go wild, and will wreak havoc and death around the globe later this year. An El Niño, a splurge of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is coming. It will unleash floods in the Americas, while South-East Asia and Australia face drought. Yet little is being done to address these consequences. … ” Continue reading this cheery article from New Scientist here: World is unprepared for major El Nino later this year

In commentary today …

  • Column:  Something fishy about the high level of the Stanislaus River:  Jeff Jardine writes: “We are in a drought, and a bad one at that. Three years and counting.  Some area groundwater wells have gone dry and others might still. New orchards require pumping more water from the aquifer. The major reservoirs in the foothills won’t be able to meet farming needs up and down the Valley, and lake levels could drop to the point at which more pieces of history will come back into plain view for the first time in decades.  So some callers, emailers and readers want to know why the Stanislaus River is booming bank to bank west of Goodwin Dam, which is east of Knights Ferry. … “:  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Jeff Jardine: Something fishy about high level of Stanislaus River
  • Solutions to drought are costly but necessary, says commentary:  “The current drought in California and its attendant pain and suffering should come as no surprise to anyone. We need only look back one generation to 1976-77 to see the warning Mother Nature sent us. Those around at that time remember the slogan: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Restaurants served water only to those who requested it. When visiting my grandmother in Carmel, my wife had to go to a beauty salon to get her hair washed because of the draconian residential water-use limits. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: Solutions to drought are costly, but necessary

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Service:  “A significant change in the weather pattern will occur over the next several days. A weak weather system will bring a threat of rain and high elevation snow to northern California today and Friday. Thunderstorms will again be possible over the Sierra Cascade range. The cool airmass will bring in daytime highs several degrees below normal. High pressure building in over the weekend will bring a warming trend lasting well into next 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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