Daily Digest: Water bond vote fails (for now), Democrats ask Feinstein to open up drought talks, SFPUC says no mandatory rationing and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Senate Democrats fail to secure Republican support to revamp November water bond measure, Democrats ask Feinstein & Boxer to open up drought talks, and seeding the clouds offers rainmaking hope for drought-stricken planet.  In regional news, millions of gallons of East Quincy’s water are unaccounted for, Willits bypass project permit suspended as Army Corps says CalTrans not in compliance, Hetch Hetchy regional water system is below 65% capacity but SFPUC says no mandatory rationing this year, increased drilling in South Bay as wells running dry due to drought, grants bolster new ways of storm water management in Scotts Valley, algae in Silverwood Lake causing bad-tasting water for 3 million Southern Californians, and the Getty Museum drains pools and turns off fountains to save water amid drought.  In commentary, Larry Ruhstaller, Alan Ishida and Dan Walters on the water bond, plus rain and thunderstorms in the forecast and more …

In the news today …

  • Senate Democrats fail to secure Republican support to revamp November water bond measure:  “Senate Democrats on Monday failed in an initial attempt to secure Republican support for overhauling the $11.1 billion water bond on the November ballot.  Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg brought the legislation to a vote because he said he wanted to force “an honest public discussion” about how to improve water supply in California, which is in a drought after three relatively dry years.  SB848 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, fell short of the required two-thirds majority vote needed to pass, but it’s not dead. … ”  Read more from the AP via TribTown here: Senate Democrats fail to secure Republican support to revamp November water bond measure  See also: Water Bond Bill Fails Senate Vote; Reconsideration – and Ongoing Negotiations – Likely, from ACWA’s Water News, and Water Bond Grows By $4 Billion, Fails To Pass State Senate, from KQED
  • Democrats ask Feinstein & Boxer to open up drought talks:  “Northern California lawmakers asked Monday that California’s two senators open up their secret talks with House Republicans on a drought bill.  The House Democrats are at odds with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer over a bill that would make it easier to send more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta to Central Valley farms and weaken protections for fish. They are more alarmed at what might emerge from negotiations between the senators and House Republicans. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Dems ask Feinstein, Boxer to open up drought-bill talks  See also this from the Fresno Bee’s Political Notebook: Northern California Democrats warn against secret water talks
  • Seeding the clouds offers rainmaking hope for drought-stricken planet:  “Around the world, 168 countries are undergoing “some level of desertification,” Dan Baum reports in the June issue of Scientific American.  California, source of many fruits and vegetables, is in a three-year drought. Australia just emerged from nine years of drought. Brazil, China and much of the Middle East and South Asia have recently faced drastic water shortages.  Where can the world find more fresh water? In the air, some scientists say. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Seeding the clouds offers rainmaking hope for drought-stricken planet
  • Special feature: A compendium of coverage of California’s drought from Circle of Blue:The California drought, now in its third year and apparently deepening, may develop into the most significant test in American history of the capacity of residents, farmers, businesses and governments to ensure a state’s water security in the new era of climate change. The drought, moreover, is the latest evidence of how hard the Earth is pushing back against modern energy- and water-intensive industrial and agricultural production practices. More people, more communities, and more energy, communications, and transportation infrastructure are now in the path of deeper droughts, more powerful floods, more damaging storms in the United States.  Circle of Blue, in its new Choke Point: Index project, reports on how these trends have put the freshwater supply in precarious condition in California’s Central Valley and two more iconic American farm regions.  Circle of Blue’s journalists, led by Seattle-based reporter Brett Walton, have closely covered the environmental, policy, and industrial trends that led to California’s water scarcity emergency. … ”  For a complete rundown of Circle of Blue’s coverage on the California drought, go here:  New Era of Much Drier Conditions Forecast For California

In regional news today …

  • East Quincy:  The case of the missing water: Millions of gallons of East Quincy’s water are unaccounted for:  “For the second month in a row, East Quincy Services District lost millions of gallons of water. Staff was unable to account for 3.57 million gallons in May and almost 1.5 million gallons in April, interim general manager Shawneen Howe said at the June 10 board meeting.  According to director Greg Margason, the losses represent 21.6 percent of gallons pumped in May and 18 percent in April — much higher than the acceptable industry standard of 10 percent.  … ”  Read more from the Plumas County Times here: The case of the missing water: Millions of gallons of East Quincy’s water are unaccounted for
  • Willits bypass project permit suspended: Army Corps says CalTrans not in compliance:  “Caltrans hopes to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers today to discuss a letter which suspends Caltrans’ permit for the Willits Bypass project, officials said Monday.  “At this time, we’re attempting to arrange for a meeting with the Army Corps right away… to talk to them about and clarify some of the points in the letter they sent us so we can get these resolved and get back to full work as quickly as possible,” Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said.  In a June 20 letter, the Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Colonel John Baker wrote Caltrans’ permit is “conditionally suspended” due to “ongoing and serious” noncompliance. … ”  Read more from the Times-Herald here: Willits Bypass project permit suspended
  • Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System Below 65 Percent Capacity: SFPUC: The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission gave its mid-year water supply update Monday and announced that the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System storage is at less than 65 percent capacity.  The water system storage is at 64.5 percent of maximum storage capacity and all available snowpack has melted as of this week, SFPUC officials said. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System Below 65 Percent Capacity: SFPUC
  • SFPUC says no mandatory rationing this year:  “The Bay Area’s largest water provider announced Monday that because residents have been doing a better job of conserving water, it has decided not to impose mandatory rationing this summer. But a closer look shows that the agency’s customers have saved almost no water compared to last year.  “There’s no doubt that we had a slow start, but I’m happy to report water use in the past several weeks has declined, and we are making up for lost time,” said Harlan Kelly, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provides water to 2.6 million people from San Francisco to Fremont through its Hetch Hetchy system. … ”  Read more here from the San Jose Mercury News: No mandatory rationing this summer, Bay Area’s largest water district says
  • Santa Clara Valley:  Drilling in South Bay as wells running dry due to drought: California’s severe drought is now impacting Bay Area residents who rely on well water for their homes and farmlands.  A neighborhood in Morgan Hill was forced to invest in another well to make it through the drought. Homeowners in the area said they are doing their part to conserve water by taking shorter showers and watering less often. Residents are worried about having enough water to fight fires. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Drilling in South Bay to Replenish Wells Running Dry Due to California Drought
  • Scotts Valley:Runoff, reimagined: Grants bolster new ways of storm water management:  “In 2006, California voters approved Proposition 84, a $5.4 billion bond measure that has since helped to protect Watsonville sloughs, rebuild a jetty walk at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor and start building a new park in Santa Cruz’ Lower Ocean Street neighborhood.  But with Santa Cruz County knee-deep in a water crisis, some of that money is now going into the ground. Across the county, nearly $3 million in projects are on tap that aim to manage stormwater better than funneling it into the sea, including keeping rivers and streams free of pollution and replenishing depleted groundwater supplies. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Runoff, reimagined: Grants bolster new ways of storm water management
  • Algae in Silverwood Lake causing bad-tasting water for 3 million Southern Californians: “Warmer temperatures — possibly the result of global climate change — caused a summer algae bloom in a state reservoir, resulting in taste and odor problems in the drinking water of some 3 million Southern Californians, according to state water agencies.  Blue-green algae in Silverwood Lake, the highest elevation reservoir in the California State Water Project located 9 miles north of Crestline off Highway 138, will make the water taste musty and smell earthy during the next few weeks for customers in eastern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino and Riverside counties, according to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here: Algae in Silverwood Lake causing bad-tasting water for 3 million Southern Californians
  • Getty drains pools, turns off fountains to save water amid drought:  The decision to drain most water features at Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades this summer may not be going over well with some visitors, but the organization says thousands of gallons a day have been saved as a result.  The order to turn off the fountains and drain most pools came after Gov. Jerry Brown made two voluntary emergency declarations this year, calling on residents to do what they can to conserve water.  Although some pools with plant life and fish were kept operational, the water fountains have been dry this month, and will remain turned off until the drought declarations have been lifted, Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig said. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here: Getty drains pools, turns off fountains to save water amid drought
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/06/23/3992461/northern-california-democrats.html?sp=/99/217/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

In commentary today …

  • One proposal meets the state’s needs, say Larry Ruhstaller and Alan Ishida:  They write:  “The California State Legislature will soon decide on one of the most significant water policy measures in recent history, one that could have far-reaching and lasting impacts to water users throughout the state.  At least a half a dozen water bond bills are pending in the Legislature that would increase the state’s capacity to store water, enhance water conservation and improve water operations. Only one of these measures, SB848 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, offers a statewide water solution to meet the future water needs of all Californians and ensure that the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is not destroyed in the process. It has the best chance for passage in the Legislature and by voters in November. … ”  Continue reading at the Stockton Record here: One water proposal meets area’s needs
  • Dan Walters: California politicians trying to draft a new water bond:With the state budget behind them, the Capitol’s politicians are turning to water, always California’s most divisive political issue – but particularly so during a very severe drought, as a state Senate debate and vote demonstrated Monday.  They are trying – some harder than others – to write a new water bond to replace an $11.1 billion proposal placed on the ballot in 2009 but already postponed twice and widely believed to face voter rejection. ... ”  Read more from Dan Walters here: Dan Walters: California politicians trying to draft a new water bond
  • Paso Robles:  Groundwater rules shouldn’t have been changed, says the San Luis Obispo Tribune:  The editorial board writes:  “The Board of Super visors did a surprising about-face Tuesday when it decided, by a 3-2 vote, that formation of a management district for the depleted Paso Robles groundwater basin should be decided on the basis of one vote per property owner.  Up to that point, the vote was to have been “weighted,” which would have given owners of the largest parcels more say.  We don’t disagree with the idea of allowing each landowner one vote. That would alleviate fears that the largest landowners would dominate voting in such a way that it would disenfranchise the smaller owners. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Ground rules on Paso Robles groundwater basin shouldn’t have been changed
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/06/23/3124032/ground-rules-on-paso-robles-groundwater.html?sp=/99/181/#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/06/23/3124032/ground-rules-on-paso-robles-groundwater.html?sp=/99/181/#storylink=cpy

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Service: “Temperatures will remain slightly above normal today, but breezy winds are expected later today as onshore flow increases. Cooler and windier conditions are expected Wednesday and Thursday, with a slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly north of I-80.

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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