Daily Digest: Governor Brown floats new $7B bond as talks are extended, groundwater legislation waiting in the wings, drought, BDCP, and more, plus why bottled water comes from California …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Governor Brown and legislative leaders float new $7B bond as talks extended, groundwater legislation waiting in the wings, leaks are important but water conservation is the ‘new normal’, officials say. A major utility is an ally to farmers in drought, sonar technology is measuring water underground, why bottled water comes from California, ‘remarkable’ warming reported in Central California coastal waters and more …

In the news today …

  • Governor Brown, legislative leaders float new $7B bond: With a deadline looming to strike a deal on a state water bond, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Monday floated a roughly $7 billion proposal they insist will help California weather future droughts.  The package — including provisions to boost water storage and clean up tainted groundwater — would replace a bloated $11 billion bond already on the November ballot but which many state leaders fear voters will reject. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Governor Brown, legislative leaders float new $7B bond
  • Water talks extended as new proposal emerges:  “The clock was about to run out for Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers, so they’ve bought themselves more time to reach a deal on a replacement to the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot.  As the clock ticked towards 5pm Monday – the deadline for the Secretary of State’s office to start printing voter guides for the November election – politicians, staffers and lobbyists scrambled throughout the Capitol to figure out what was in the latest water bond draft, and whether there was enough momentum to extend the deadline. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Water talks extended as new proposal emerges
  • More on the water bond: Water bond deadline looming; California lawmakers float $7.195 billion proposal, from the Sacramento Bee;  Legislature extends deadline for water bond revision, from the San Francisco Chronicle
  • California groundwater management bills on their way through legislature:Two new groundwater-related bills are working their way through the Legislature. Last week, both received amendments on their way to committees. The bills – one in the state Senate and one in the state Assembly – have similar language related to the management and monitoring of groundwater resources. Senate Bill 1168 and Assembly Bill 1739 both state in opening, “This bill would state the policy of the state that groundwater resources be managed sustainably for long-term reliability and multiple economic, social, and environmental benefits for current and future beneficial uses.  … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  California groundwater management bills on their way through the legislature
  • Why you should care about the Capitol debate over groundwater:  “Lawmakers are currently considering a law on groundwater. If you drink water or appreciate California-grown food, here’s why you should care. Why groundwater is important: More than three-quarters of Californians rely on groundwater for at least some of their drinking water. Groundwater is also essential for agriculture.  … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  Why you should care about the Capitol debate over groundwater
  • Leaks are important, but water conservation is the ‘new normal’, officials say:  “California’s water-conservation challenge could be nearly solved if the pipes, water mains and aqueducts that carry the state’s drinking water didn’t leak.  But even if every pipe was secure and enough rain came this winter — a reprieve that’s looking less and less likely — the state’s current reduced water use is going to be “the new normal,” state water officials said Tuesday, drought or no drought. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here: Leaks contribute to drought, but water conservation to be “new normal” for California
  • Farmers find an unlikely ally in weathering drought:  A major utility company:Joe Segura works for the electric and gas utility PG&E, but he sounds more like a farmer when you spend time with him.  Driving around the drought-parched San Joaquin Valley here in California’s Central Valley, Segura winces as he describes groundwater wells “being sucked dry” and drives by full-grown citrus trees dying because farmers don’t have enough water to sustain them.  “With row crops like lettuce, you can simply not plant. If you have trees, you can’t just not give them water for a year,” said Segura, a PG&E account manager, as we pass by a hilly grove of water-starved grapefruit trees with dry dull-green leaves and withered fruit. ... ”  Read more from National Geographic here: CA Farmers Find Unlikely Ally In Weathering Drought: A Major Utility Company
  • Drought dowsing goes high-tech: Sonar devices measure water underground:  “This year, groundwater is serving as California’s pinch hitter, supplying about 60 percent of the state’s needs during this historic drought. But until now, it’s been an impossible resource to manage.  We don’t have enough data to know just how much groundwater is hanging out below any given house or farm. Because it’s unregulated by the state, anyone can pump as much water as they want—a point of contention between those who think people own the water underneath their property and those who believe groundwater is a communal resource. To make matters worse, groundwater hasn’t been replenished during these dry times, and there’s been a recent rush to drill more wells in the San Joaquin Valley. … ”  Read more from UC Berkeley Alumni Association’s California Magazine here:  Drought dowsing goes high-tech: Sonar devices measure water underground
  • Why bottled water comes from California, which can’t spare much:  “Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record.  The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead. ... ”  Read more from The Atlantic here:  Why bottled water comes from California, which can’t spare much
  • California Will Fall Short of Water Recycling Goals: “Just as they failed to meet nonbinding statewide targets set more than two decades ago for reusing water supplies, California’s water providers are not spending enough to achieve new water recycling goals that were approved last year, officials in the Department of Water Resources (DWR) told Circle of Blue.  Proponents of water recycling, including Governor Jerry Brown, the legislature, as well as utilities, industries and environmental groups, argue that cleaning up water that is flushed down drains and into oceans will prepare the state for future droughts and will reduce the energy needed to move water hundreds of miles from the Sierra Nevada foothills to cities in Southern California and the Bay Area. ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  California Will Fall Short of Water Recycling Goals
  • ‘Remarkable’ warming reported in Central California coastal waters: Ocean temperatures along the Central California coast experienced a “remarkable” warming period during the first three weeks of July, leading to unusual encounters with some fish species, scientists reported.  The warmer ocean correlated with weaker winds, which reduced coastal upwelling, allowing warmer water to move inshore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here: ‘Remarkable’ warming reported in Central California coastal waters

In regional news today …

  • Humboldt County supervisors to consider extending emergency drought resolution:  “The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today will consider extending a local state of emergency regarding the county’s prolonged drought until September — and the sending of a letter to the state for flow augmentation in the lower Klamath River.  “It has been determined that the emergency still exists and that the Resolution should remain in effect for an additional twenty-eight (28) days, until September 9, 2014,” the staff report states. … ”  Read more from the Times-Standard here:  Supervisors look at longer water emergency resolution
  • BDCP’s 40,000-page EIR is too much and not enough for Yolo County:  “At 40,000 pages, the draft of the environmental impact report for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would match about 28 copies of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” and is potentially as convoluted. But it does not provide enough details for communities to plan for potential impacts, according to the comments filed by Yolo County on July 29. ... ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  BDCP’s 40,000-page EIR is too much and not enough for Yolo County
  • San Francisco poised to require mandatory conservation:  “San Francisco water users would be forced to reduce outdoor watering by 10 percent – or face penalties – under a proposal by utility officials who are poised to add the city to a growing number of California communities that are rationing water amid one the worst droughts in decades.  But the move by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which has struggled to achieve voluntary reductions, is a half-step of sorts. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  San Francisco poised to require mandatory conservation
  • Been to Martin’s Beach?  The Coastal Commission wants to hear from you: The California Coastal Commission is asking people who have visited Martins Beach to complete a survey about their experiences. The commission, which is responsible for protecting public access along California’s coast, will use survey responses to document historic public use of the beach, known as “prescriptive use.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Been to Martin’s Beach? The Coastal Commission wants to hear from you
  • New Melones: How low will it go? New Melones had 597,280 acre feet of water on Sunday.  The average storage for that date — Aug. 10 — is 1,441,269 acre feet.  And if projections go as the Bureau of Reclamation hopes in the best case scenario of water loss and use over the next two months the reservoir will reach a historic low of 339,000 acre feet on Sept. 30. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  How low will it go?
  • The Southwest braces as Lake Mead’s water level drops:  “Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation, but are also drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing water from the lake.  Hundreds of miles away, farmers who receive water from the lake behind Hoover Dam are preparing for the worst. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Southwest braces as Lake Mead’s water level drops
  • In times of drought, Arizona’s alfalfa exports are criticized:  “As the West moves more into a record-setting drought, many are taking a look at how water gets used. Alfalfa grown with Colorado River water is a case study of how and why water gets used as it does.”  Listen to the show at NPR here:  In times of drought, Arizona’s exports are criticized

In commentary today …

  • An agreement on water bond seems likely if no side overreaches, says the Sacramento Bee: They write: “An agreement on a revised water bond for the November ballot seemed within reach on Monday, but only if no side gets too grabby.  That includes legislators from both parties and from all regions, and it includes members of Congress.  As The Bee’s Jeremy B. White reported, California lawmakers converged on a proposed bond in the range of $7.2 billion. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Editorial: An agreement on water bond seems likely if no side overreaches
  • Politicians finally getting serious about a water bond, says the Modesto Bee:  “The effort to craft an acceptable water bond for the November ballot went beyond the halls of the state Capitol on Monday, reaching to Washington, D.C., but not yet reaching a compromise solution.  As The Sacramento Bee’s Jeremy B. White reported, California lawmakers had converged on a proposed bond in the range of $7.195 billion. That would include money to increase storage capacity by raising dams and perhaps building a new dam. The question is how much the state would spend and where it would spend it. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Politicians finally getting serious about a water bond
  • Deadbeat dams shouldn’t be part of water bond, says Steve Evans: He writes: “In November, California voters will be asked how much money they want to borrow to improve the state’s water infrastructure and fight the drought. Because polls show an $11.1 billion general obligation bond on the Nov. 4 ballot is too expensive for many voters, legislators are scrambling to revise the water bond to make it more palatable.  Along with the total amount, another point of contention is how much is allotted to building new and enlarging existing surface storage dams. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Viewpoints: Deadbeat dams shouldn’t be part of water bond
  • California’s future depends on a reliable water supply, says John Laird: He writes: “A half century ago, Californians embarked on an ambitious plan to channel their plentiful water supplies in the north to a growing population in the San Francisco Bay Area, southern California and farmers in the Central Valley.  Our current network of dams, levees and water pumping stations that make up the State Water Project are outdated. State and federal pumping operations that pull water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are threatening the environment of the low-lying estuary east of San Francisco. … ”  Read more from the Inland Valley News here: California’s Future Depends on Reliable Water
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/12/6621274/editorial-a-water-bond-seems-within.html#storylink=cpy

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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