Daily Digest: Irrigation and the San Andreas fault, fracking, technology, and more …

CA DMIn California water news today, study says irrigation can stress San Andreas fault; California’s thirst shapes debate over fracking; Some Californians allowed to keep using water for free amid record drought; Technology in the fields: outlasting California’s drought; Severe California Drought benefits gold prospectors; Event focuses on future supply of groundwater; Four weeks left to comment on the BDCP; Writing to right what they see as a wrong; North Coast vineyards going strong, but drought raises worry; Modesto Irrigation District simplifies local water transfers; Rip out your lawn, get paid double, says drought-minded Metropolitan Water District, plus NASA talks drought with Jeanine Jones and more …

In the news today …

  • Study says irrigation can stress San Andreas fault:  “Excessive groundwater pumping for irrigation in California’s agricultural belt can stress the San Andreas Fault, potentially increasing the risk of future small earthquakes, a new study suggests.  GPS readings found parts of the San Joaquin Valley floor have been sinking for decades through gradual depletion of the aquifer while the surrounding mountains are being uplifted. This motion produces slight stress changes on the San Andreas and neighboring faults. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Study says irrigation can stress San Andreas Fault  See also this from The Guardian here: Water depletion in California ‘may be increasing chance of earthquakes’
  • California’s Thirst Shapes Debate Over Fracking: “Enemies of fracking have a new argument: drought.  Fracking a single oil well in California last year took 87 percent of the water consumed in a year by a family of four, according to the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry lobbying group. That amount — a modest one by national standards, the oil industry argues — has become an increasingly delicate topic since a drought was officially declared early this year in the state. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  California’s Thirst Shapes Debate Over Fracking
  • Some Californians Allowed To Keep Using Water For Free Amid Record Drought:California’s blistering heat has spared wildfires and is worsening what could be a record drought. While some are bracing for severe water rationing, others with certain privileges can continue to use as much water as they want for free.  Lewis Erickson, 85, raises angus steers on his eight acres in Santa Cruz. He also grows flowers, has a lawn, and tends to a vegetable garden. … ”  So how does he do it?  Find out from CBS here: Some Californians Allowed To Keep Using Water For Free Amid Record Drought
  • Technology in the fields: outlasting California’s drought: “No one is safe from the effects of California’s drought. Farmers are helpless as it cripples their fields and raises food prices for consumers. But, with new technologies, some farmers are finding ways to outlast the drought.  Tom Frantz is one of them.  A retired teacher, Frantz has grown almonds on his father’s land for the past 50 years.  “Two years ago, this well that’s been here for 50 years suddenly went dry,” Frantz said. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here: Technology in the fields: outlasting California’s drought
  • Severe California Drought Benefits Gold Prospectors: Gold prospectors love California’s record drought. The state’s severe drought has dried up streams, giving the prospectors easy access to streams once covered with water. “We are able to get into areas now we have not been able to get into for years and years,” Kevin Hoagland, Gold Prospectors Association of America’s executive director of development, told CNNMoney, panning in a trickle of water that is normally three to five feet deep. … ”  Read more from CNN Money here: Severe California Drought Benefits Gold Prospectors
  • Event focuses on future supply of groundwater: “A variety of efforts have been undertaken to understand more about groundwater supplies in the San Joaquin Valley and of how to assure sustainable use of the resource, according to speakers at a conference in Clovis last week.  The 2014 Water Technology Conference, sponsored by the International Center for Water Technology—a public-private partnership based at Fresno State University—focused on groundwater. The resource has come under additional pressure this year due to shortages of surface water caused by three consecutive dry years. ... ”  Read more from the California Farm Bureau Federation here: Event focuses on future supply of groundwater
  • Four weeks left to comment on the BDCP:  “The public has four weeks remaining to submit comments on Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  June 13 is the deadline to comment on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its environmental impact study, which are overseen by the California Department of Water Resources. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Four weeks left to comment on Delta tunnel plan
  • Writing to right what they see as a wrong:  ““It’s one thing to have speakers and another thing to ask you to come and say, ‘Now we must do some work.’” Those were the opening remarks of Restore the Delta’s policy analyst, Jane Wagner-Tyack at a letter writing party this week in North Stockton.  Similar letter writing “parties” are being held in Clarksburg and other Delta communities as the June 13 deadline for comments on the 40,000 pages of the environmental impact report and statement for the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan rapidly approaches. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Writing to right what they see as a wrong
  • North Coast vineyards going strong, but drought raises worry:North Coast wineries and growers remain optimistic following a second consecutive year of record-setting harvests and strong consumer demand for grape varietals that thrive in the region, particularly pinot noir.  “You have to be really screwed up to be a grower in Napa or Sonoma and not be making money,” Joe Ciatti, a mergers and acquisitions consultant with Zepponi & Company of Santa Rosa, said Wednesday at the annual Vineyard Economics Seminar. … ” Read more from the Press Democrat here: North Coast vineyards going strong, but drought raises worry
  • Modesto Irrigation District simplifies local water transfers: “On split votes Tuesday, the Modesto Irrigation District board made it easier on several fronts for farmers to buy and sell water locally. But participants still might have to provide some private well information.  MID management backed off considerably from stringent transfer rules proposed three weeks ago, and the board majority on Tuesday made another huge concession by erasing this week’s application deadline. Rather than pinpointing by Thursday how much water would be transferred in individual deals between farmers for the entire season, farmers can submit staggered requests by deadlines of June 1, July 1 and Aug. 1. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Modesto Irrigation District simplifies local water transfers
  • Rip out your lawn, get paid double, says drought-minded Metropolitan Water District: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is hoping that sweetening financial incentives will encourage residents and businesses to conserve water during the statewide drought.  Metropolitan’s Board of Directors is doubling the incentive for turf removal, as well as extending rebates for rain barrels and high-efficiency toilets, to further entice Southern Californians to institute water-saving practices at home and in businesses. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Rip out your lawn, get paid double, says drought-minded Metropolitan Water District

People in the news …

  • JeanineJones_smallJeanine Jones tackles drought management issues in California: California, the country’s most populated state, is in the midst of a three-year drought that may prove to be one of the most severe in its history. It’s a constant challenge to manage water supplies across the state’s urban, environmental, and agricultural sectors. Jeanine Jones, the Interstate Resources Manager for the California Department of Water Resources, was appointed Deputy Drought Manager this winter to help the state deal with ongoing drought conditions.  A 30-year Department of Water Resources veteran, Jones has participated in interstate water negotiations and managed various planning and climate change adaptation programs.  Q: What strategies does California have in place for coping with drought, and how well have these strategies handled the current drought? A: California has a very long track record of coordinated state water planning that goes back well into the 1900s. Part of that tradition includes a long-standing state philosophy of not only coordinated water supply planning, but of state financial assistance programs for local agencies. So we have very extensive state financial assistance programs for local water agencies to help them improve their water supply reliability. ... ”  Read more from NOAA’s Climate.gov here: Jeanine Jones tackles drought management issues in California

In commentary today …

  • Welcome to the era of climate-changed fire seasons, says commentary: Scott Martelle writes: “With triple-digit temperatures expected in parts of Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday, it seems like an appropriate time to welcome you all to the new climate-warmed fire season. Well, everybody except Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who doesn’t believe the scientists who say human actions are the prime driving force behind global warming. (A philosophical side note: If the scientists didn’t believe in Rubio, he’d still exist, wouldn’t he?) ... ”  Read more here:  Welcome to the era of climate-changed fire seasons

Precipitation watch …

  • Last day of record heat; possibility of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday-Monday:  From the National Weather Service: “Strong high pressure continues over northern California today with afternoon temperatures expected to be 10-20 degrees F above normal for mid-May. The northern San Joaquin Valley will climb well into the upper 90’s with some potential triple digit readings today, which may break a couple daily records. Cooler temperatures return by Friday and the weekend. Showers may develop over the Shasta County area late Sunday, then spread southward through Monday with a chance of thunderstorms. “

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Yesterday’s breaking news …

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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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