Daily Digest, early edition: Using satellites to police groundwater, disappearing fog, and severe flooding could follow summer fires due to El Nino and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, California’s Water Crisis Is Getting Worse. Can Satellite Policing Help?; Now even California’s Fog is disappearing; Severe Flooding May Follow Summer Fires Out West, Thanks to El Nino; California Water Board Streamlines Process To Use Treated Wastewater; Study suggests hatcheries can disrupt steelhead navigation; Help for water bills coming for the drought afflicted; Klamath drought settles in; calls for water begin; Davis voters reject complex Measure P water rate plan; Turlock Irrigation District picks up abandoned project to save water; Study: Water Stress Affects Fewer Cities Than Previously Thought; and This year’s drought? Don’t get me started, says columnist John Carroll
It’s another early edition as I’m off to the Environmental Data Forum today, so I’ll pick up anything I missed in tomorrow’s Digest, which will also be an  ‘early edition’ …

On webcast today …

In the news today …

  • California’s Water Crisis Is Getting Worse. Can Satellite Policing Help? ” … California lacks a statewide system to regulate groundwater pumping. But that could soon change. State lawmakers have approved a bill requiring local agencies to develop groundwater-management plans, and the state will release a draft blueprint later this year—which could lead to the monitoring and reporting of groundwater withdrawals, restrictions on how much farmers can pump, and fines for pumping too much.  The key to enforcing the law: satellites. They’re already giving scientists a bird’s-eye view of underground water resources—and could be central to providing the state with detailed information about how much groundwater remains and how much water farms consume. … ”  Read more from Take Part here: California’s Water Crisis Is Getting Worse. Can Satellite Policing Help?
  • Now even California’s Fog is disappearing:  “With California’s drought-stricken soil baked to the consistency of powdered Saltines, it’s difficult to imagine the state becoming even more dry. Yet that’s what is happening with the Central Valley’s winter fog, which over the years has been appearing less and less often – a trend that signifies yet more trouble for the state’s bedeviled agriculture industry.  When talking about the drought, much attention is given to the declining snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas. The melt-off from this winter snow historically has provided vast amounts of water to farms and cities, but over recent years the ‘pack has dwindled so much it’s now at 18 percent of its average accumulation, as shown in these satellite images from February 2011, 2012, and 2013 … ”  Read more from CityLab here: Now Even California’s Fog Is Disappearing
  • Severe Flooding May Follow Summer Fires Out West, Thanks to El Nino: “Drought-stricken states in the western United States could face severe flash flooding later in the year due to the combination of an intense wildfire season in the summer and a strong El Niño event the following winter.  An El Niño is a complex weather event that drives warm ocean water from the Asian-Pacific east, raising ocean temperatures along the west coast of the Americas, invigorating regional weather systems and increasing the amount of precipitation in the American West. They occur about every four years, but the United States hasn’t seen a strong El Niño since 1998. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  Severe Flooding May Follow Summer Fires Out West, Thanks to El Nino
  • California Water Board Streamlines Process To Use Treated Wastewater:  “The California State Water Resources Control Board says the new rules were created in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s drought declaration in January.  The board says now there are more streamlined rules around the production and use of recycled water for irrigation. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California Water Board Streamlines Process To Use Treated Wastewater
  • Study suggests hatcheries can disrupt steelhead navigation:  “A new study suggests that steelhead trout can have trouble using the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate if they were raised in a hatchery, where the field can be distorted by iron pipes.  Scientists at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in Alsea raised two sets of fish: one outside the hatchery with a natural magnetic field, and one inside the hatchery, where instruments showed the field was distorted. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Study: Hatcheries can disrupt steelhead navigation
  • Help for water bills coming for the drought afflicted:  “Drought impacted, low-income households may be able to get state help with their residential water bill to prevent disruption in vital water services and to promote water conservation.  The $600,000 “Drought Water Assistance Program” announced Wednesday by the California Department of Community Services and Development will be directed to families in 10 counties currently experiencing some of the worst drought impacts. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Help for water bills coming for the drought afflicted
  • Klamath drought settles in; calls for water begin:  ” With another year of drought taking hold in the Klamath Basin and the irrigation season underway, water rights holders are putting in their claims.  It’s the second year for allocating surface water on the basis of a new state-level determination of who has priority, based on seniority: The older the claim date, the more senior the water right.  The Klamath Tribes hold the most senior water right but have not yet made a formal call for water this year, the Herald and News reported.  Irrigation districts and the national wildlife refuges have made calls. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Klamath drought settles in; calls for water begin
  • Davis voters reject complex Measure P water rate plan:  “Davis voters on Tuesday repealed a complex series of water rate increases designed to pay for a major project tapping into the Sacramento River.  Voters by a 51-49 percentage passed Measure P, the grass-roots effort to roll back water rate increases that would pay for Davis’ $107 million share of its joint Surface Water Project with Woodland. The result had city leaders on the phone Wednesday to their Woodland counterparts, reassuring them that Tuesday’s repeal would not derail the massive project. … ”  Read more here: Davis voters reject complex Measure P water rate plan
  • Turlock Irrigation District picks up abandoned project to save water:  “The old Hilmar water treatment facility could soon help strengthen local water conservation efforts made by the Turlock Irrigation District, as the district Board of Directors voted on Tuesday to spend $2.34 million to pick up the previously abandoned project in an effort to catch canal water currently spilling into the Merced River.  The TID Board of Directors voted 5-0 in favor of picking the project up again, nearly 15 years after it was first postponed. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: TID picks up abandoned project to save water
  • Study: Water Stress Affects Fewer Cities Than Previously Thought: “For water, as for the rest of life, money is the great insulator.  A new study on urban water stress reveals that fewer of the world’s large cities than previously thought are approaching severe limits on their drinking water resources – just 25 percent of cities with a population greater than 750,000, not 40 percent as had been claimed.  Why the lower number? Because the expensive canals and pipelines that draw water from distant basins were not accounted for in earlier assessments, which assumed, for example, that the only water Los Angeles was using came from the local rivers and aquifers west of the San Gabriel Mountains. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue Water News here:  Study: Water Stress Affects Fewer Cities Than Previously Thought
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/04/6459161/davis-voters-reject-complex-measure.html#storylink=cpy

In commentary today …

  • Column: This year’s drought? Don’t get me started: “I haven’t written much about the drought, although I have privately become something of a Cassandra about the thing. As you’ll recall, Cassandra wandered the walls of Troy saying the Greeks were up to no good, and the wise citizens said, “What nonsense! They’ve brought us this lovely horse.”  But then I read an article in the High Country News. I love HCN without reservation, and anyone interested in water use and land use issues in the West should check it out ( www.hcn.org, and they also have a print magazine I find useful).  The article, by Jeremy Miller, was pretty grim. …”  Read more here: This year’s drought? Don’t get me started.

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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