Daily Digest: New entity to manage planning for tunnels, BDCP accused of racial discrimination, Connecting water and food, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, new entity to manage planning for massive Delta tunnels; Delta group accuses BDCP of racial discrimination; Report explores connectivity framework for California’s water and food systems; Fresno and Orange Cove district may strike a water deal; Drought task force visits Tulare County; Water challenges are many and diverse on California’s Central Coast; Algae causes odd smell and taste in San Diego water; Snow in the Rockies, but Western drought continues; A look at water savings measures across the West; and Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say

In the news today …

  • New entity to manage planning for massive Delta tunnels:  Construction planning for the giant water diversion tunnels proposed in the California Delta is about to be handed off to a new entity, one that gives a prominent role to the water diverters that will benefit from the project.  The California Department of Water Resources, which has led the project engineering so far, has agreed to start sharing that duty in a joint powers arrangement with the water agencies it serves, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Kern County Water Agency.  … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New entity to manage planning for massive Delta tunnels
  • Delta group accuses BDCP of racial discrimination: “The group North Delta Community Area Residents for Environmental Stability, a community group opposed to the proposed dual tunnels of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, says the BDCP is discriminating against the Delta’s large minority population by printing the 40,000-page BDCP environmental impact report and statement only in English.  “We are in the public comment period of this 40,000-page document, yet only people who speak and understand English are able to make a comment on it. That means about 25 percent of our community will not be able to express themselves either for or against the dual tunnels that are proposed for the Delta,” says Anna Swenson, one of the organizers of North Delta CARES. “Expand that to the whole Delta area and you have thousands of non-English-speaking citizens who are denied comment on this immense project and that’s wrong.” ... ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Delta group accuses BDCP of racial discrimination
  • Report Explores Connectivity Framework for California’s Water and Food Systems: “A new report from a panel of water experts says a “whole-systems approach” that focuses on multiple benefits is needed to solve California’s water woes.  The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS), in “From Crisis to Connectivity: Renewed Thinking About Managing California’s Water & Food Supply,” outlines a framework for reconnecting competing groups of water users and managing the state’s water resources with emphasis on simultaneous benefits. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Report Explores Connectivity Framework for California’s Water and Food Systems
  • Fresno and Orange Cove district may strike a water deal:Fresno City Hall wants to help a neighbor survive the drought.  The City Council on Thursday will consider a deal that would move millions of gallons of Fresno-earmarked river water to the Orange Cove Irrigation District struggling to keep crops alive and people on the job.  “It’s in everybody’s best interest to do all we can to save the jobs so critical to the county,” said Fresno Public Utilities Assistant Director Martin Querin. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Fresno and Orange Cove district may strike a water deal
  • Drought task force visits Tulare County:  “Leaders of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Drought Task Force visited Tulare Monday to speak with locals about their needs and concerns regarding the drought. The closed meeting took place at the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office with government officials, water managers, agricultural commissioners and local tribe leaders from Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Kern counties in attendance. Lilly Wyatt, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services information office, said the task force wanted everyone to feel comfortable and share their experience with the drought. … ”  Read more from Leaders look at drought
  • Water challenges are many and diverse on California’s Central Coast: “Where does one start with the Central Coast water drought and water crisis?  Take your pick says James Caruso, Senior Planner with the Department of Planning and Building. “There are things that go back all the way to the California Constitution which makes certain types of water demand, which is groundwater, very difficult to regulate – impossible to regulate.” ... ”  Read more from KCBX here: Water challenges are many and diverse on California’s Central Coast
  • Algae causes odd smell and taste in San Diego water:  “People all over San Diego County have been noticing that their tap water has a faint, musty smell and an unpleasant taste — a problem that authorities say can be traced to an algae bloom in a Riverside County reservoir.  The water is safe to drink, but may take a few days to get back to normal, said Mike Lee, a spokesman for the San Diego County Water Authority. ... ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here:  Algae causes odd smell, taste in water
  • Snow in the Rockies, but Western drought continues: A powerful spring storm that dumped more than 3 feet of snow in some parts of the Rockies closed a major national trucking route for more than 24 hours, snapped power lines and drew skiers to the slopes of Colorado’s only remaining open ski area. Just to the south, some Arizona communities are rationing water because of drought, and to the west, drought-parched California is bracing for another week of hot weather that could fuel more wildfires. Welcome to springtime in the West, where May snowstorms are coinciding with the start to the region’s wildfire season — and doing little to alleviate the overall regional drought. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Snow in Rockies but Western drought continues
  • A look at water savings measures across the West:  “Cities across the West have mandated water restrictions or asked residents to voluntarily cut back on water use to avoid shortages. Some restrictions take effect automatically each year, while others depend on the forecast and the amount of precipitation the region has received. Much of the West is in some stage of drought, ranging from abnormal to exceptional.  Here’s a look at some of the water-saving measures in effect across the region ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: A look at water savings measures across the West
  • Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say: A slow-motion and irreversible collapse of a massive cluster of glaciers in Antarctica has begun, and could cause sea levels to rise across the planet by another 4 feet within 200 years, scientists concluded in two studies released Monday.  Researchers had previously estimated that the cluster in the Amundsen Sea region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would last for thousands of years despite global climate change. But the new studies found that the loss is underway now as warming ocean water melts away the base of the ice shelf, and is occurring far more rapidly than scientists expected. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say

In commentary today …

  • Get groundwater rules right for everyone, says Stanislaus County Farm Bureau director:  Wayne Zipser writes:  “Three years of ongoing drought conditions in California, and particularly in the Central Valley, have left surface-water reservoir supplies at record lows. In response, as there is nowhere else to turn during dry times, groundwater use has increased to make up for the lack of surface water to meet the needs of our cities and farms.  Groundwater has historically been used this way in California as the “dry-year bank account.” This is nothing new. … ”  Read more here:  Wayne Zipser: Get groundwater rules right for everyone
  • Another aquifer?  Just what we need, says Lois Henry:  “The state will likely pass some kind of groundwater regulation this year. How could it not?  As surface supplies have dried up, water users are sucking down the state’s aquifers faster than a kindergartner on a banana milkshake.  In Kern County, the subbasin is being overdrafted by an average 780,000 acre-feet per year, according to conservative estimates. That means users are taking out 780,000 acre feet more than is being replaced. That can’t last. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: LOIS HENRY: Another aquifer? Just what we need … oh, wait

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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