Daily Digest: Farmers ask: hey buddy, can you spare some water?, deepest straw in Central Valley wins, NorCal leaders on the water bond, and more, plus water reallocation won’t provide equity, says the Capital Press

Daily DigestIn California water news today, California farmers ask: Hey buddy, can you spare some water?; The deepest straw wins in the Central Valley scramble for groundwater; Northern California leaders frame their position on the water bond; Northern California leaders ask for help in drought; Fixing California’s water problems easier said than done; New ways to make dirty water clean; California water wars reach new pitch; State applying herbicide in the Delta; Drought limits summer water releases from Mt. Tam reservoir; The complex task of regulating the Paso Robles groundwater basin; Lake Cachuma: Power outage leaves endangered steelhead trout dead; and Orange County growers grapple with drought, plus Water allocation won’t provide equity, says the Capital Press; California can expand its water supply, say Kate Poole and Peter Gleick, and more

In the news today …

  • California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water?: Imagine if a gallon of milk cost three dollars in your town, but 100 miles away it cost $100, or even $200.  Something similar is happening right now in California with water that farmers use to irrigate their crops. Some farmers are paying 50 or even 100 times more for that water than others who live just an hour’s drive away.  The situation is provoking debate about whether water in California should move more freely, so that it can be sold to the highest bidder. … ”  Read more from NPR here: California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water?
  • The deepest straw wins in the Central Valley scramble for groundwater:  “During a normal year, 30 percent of the water Californians consume comes from groundwater. This year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture says groundwater will account for 60 percent. The drought, the increased reliance on groundwater and the patchwork system of groundwater management in California is creating a scramble for water in the San Joaquin Valley.  Farmers are seeing unprecedented reductions in their allotments to surface water.  Homeowners are watching their private wells run dry. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  The deepest straw wins in the Central Valley scramble for groundwater
  • Northern California leaders frame their position on the water bond:  “Cynical observers of California politics sometimes assume the real reason for a new statewide water bond is to pay for projects that take water from the north and ship it south. But on Monday, a number of Northern California leaders made it clear they are prepared to support a water bond for the November ballot – under certain conditions.  About three dozen politicians and water managers representing the North State Water Alliance convened on the Capitol steps Monday to outline for lawmakers five general principles they believe must guide a water bond. They were joined by several collaborators from environmental and business groups. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Northern California leaders frame their position on the water bond
  • Northern California leaders ask for help in drought: “With California facing its worst drought in decades, farmers, environmentalists and government officials begged lawmakers Monday to invest in projects to shore up the state’s water supply.  The demands from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, The Nature Conservancy and Northern California water districts are an effort to help break a deadlock in the state legislature over how to prevent future water shortages. ... ”  Read more from Reuters here: Northern California leaders ask for help in drought
  • Fixing California’s water problems easier said than done:  “It’s going to take more than polite asking to get Californians to conserve water while the state suffers through its worst drought in history.  Governor Jerry Brown’s call for residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent in January has seemingly fallen on deaf ears in many Northern California counties, an analysis by the San Francisco Chronicle found, forcing officials to consider mandatory cutbacks for the first time in decades. ... ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  Fixing California’s water problems easier said than done
  • New ways to make dirty water clean:  “A ferry plows along San Francisco Bay, trailing a tail of churned up salt, sand, and sludge and further fouling the already murky liquid that John Webley intends to turn into drinking water. But Webley, CEO of a Bay Area start-up working on a new, energy-skimping desalination system, isn’t perturbed.  “Look at the color of this intake,” he says, pointing to a tube feeding brown fluid into a device the size of a home furnace. There, through a process called forward osmosis, a novel solution the company developed pulls water molecules across a membrane, leaving salt and impurities behind.  When low temperature heat is applied, the bioengineered solution separates out like oil, allowing clean water to be siphoned off. … ”  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here: New ways to make dirty water clean
  • California water wars reach new pitch: “Attorney Dante John Nomellini Sr., who specializes in California water law, says the heavily criticized Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a simple land grab, not a conservation plan.  He says the BDCP’s real goal is to put landowners in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta out of business by building mammoth twin water tunnels with no outlets and acquiring the Delta land through the ruse of improving fish habitat.  “If you think these people that run state and federal projects and the water contractor community are going to let water out into the Delta to keep it fresh, this mechanism can’t do it,” Mr. Nomellini said, referring to the twin water tunnels in a presentation to the Solano County Board of Supervisors. “There are no outlets in these tunnels,” he said. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  California water wars reach new pitch
  • State applying herbicide in the Delta: “State officials are beginning to apply herbicide to more than 2,000 acres of Delta waterways in an effort to control a tentacle-like invasive weed that lies just below the surface. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  State applying herbicide in the Delta
  • Drought limits summer water releases from Mt. Tam reservoir:For the first time since it has been under a state order, the Marin Municipal Water District will release less water into Lagunitas Creek this summer because of drought conditions seen last winter.  The water district is under a 1995 state order to release water from Kent Lake into the creek to aid endangered coho salmon. This year the volume of water will be cut back because the district had less than 28 inches of rainfall at Kent between Oct. 1 and March 31. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Drought limits summer water releases from Mt. Tam reservoir
  • The complex task of regulating the Paso Robles groundwater basin:  “The Paso Robles Hybrid Water District Bill, AB 2453, is in the California State Senate now awaiting committee assignments. The sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian says if passed by the Senate, it would then go before the Paso Robles County Board of Supervisors in a couple of weeks for public hearings, before moving to the Governor’s desk.  On Monday, the bill was awaiting assignment to a Senate committee where lawmakers will haggle over amendments. … ”  Read more from KCBX Radio here: The complex task of regulating the Paso Robles groundwater basin
  • Lake Cachuma: Power outage leaves endangered steelhead trout dead:  “Hundreds of endangered Southern California Steelhead Trout are dead after a power outage kept the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s lone operating water pump from funneling much-needed flows into Hilton Creek beneath the Cachuma Reservoir.  The Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center has threatened to sue, alleging the bureau violated the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits harming, hunting or in any way capturing or killing listed species. The power outage on or around May 25 withheld mandated water flows for a period, subsequently disrupting the species’ movement. More than 200 steelhead were found dead in the waterway, according to the EDC. … ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here: Power outage leaves endangered steelhead trout dead
  • Orange County growers grapple with drought:  “Growers at farmers markets these days all voice the same one-word concern: water. Those who buy their water from municipalities are paying much more for it, and some of those who are dependent on state allocations can’t get it at any price. The most fortunate are those who have wells on their property, but even they aren’t resting easy. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Growers grapple with drought

In commentary today …

  • Water reallocation won’t provide equity, says the Capital Press:  “A recent story by The Associated Press will add fuel to criticisms of California’s water rights system.  The Associated Press last week filed an extensive report about the water consumed by California’s nearly 4,000 senior water rights holders. … The story will renew cries that California’s system is unfair — so few have so much while so many suffer. Should not this resource be reapportioned, and the benefits and sacrifices be shared equitably?”  Find out how the Capital Press sees it in the editorial here:  Water allocation won’t provide equity
  • California can expand its water supply, say Kate Poole and Peter Gleick:  They write: “California has reached “peak water.” We’ve far exceeded the limits of our renewable and sustainable supply. The current severe drought has highlighted these limits and shown us the stark reality of a water system in need of new thinking, new strategies and new answers.  New research, however, shows that we can expand California’s water system by a staggering 11 million to 14 million acre-feet of water annually – more water than is used today by all the cities in the state combined. That’s enough water to revive the collapsing Delta ecosystem, bring our groundwater into balance and satisfy the needs of our agricultural communities, growing population and economy. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Viewpoints: California can expand its water supply
  • Doubt and drought over Congress’ dusty solutions: The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes:  “Masquerading as a response to California’s drought, a bill to waive environmental protections and divert more water to Central Valley agriculture passed the Republican-controlled House in February and is now going to conference to be reconciled with a competing bill by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that the Senate adopted last month.  Californians overwhelmingly reject loosening environmental regulations to increase water deliveries to farms and cities, as demonstrated by the results of a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday. So you might think that Feinstein’s alternative bill would propose a more palatable way to deal with the state’s water crisis. But there’s a catch — three of them, actually. … ”  Continue reading this editorial from the Los Angeles Times here:  Doubt and drought over Congress’ dusty solutions
  • San Francisco waterfront must prepare for rising seas, says commentary: John King writes: “Now that San Francisco voters have said they want final say on waterfront development, we’ll see if they have the courage and smarts to tackle the real job at hand – facing up to the need to deal with rising sea levels.  That means moving beyond the fixation on height that has been a political organizing tool here for decades, and focusing instead on how development can be used to help San Francisco adapt to environmental pressures unlike any that have come before. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: S.F. waterfront development must prepare for rising seas

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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