Daily Digest, Labor Day edition: Salmon cannons, water jet packs, groundwater rules, big dams, betting on El Nino and more …

Discovery Park 2

Discovery Park, Sacramento

Happy Labor Day!  In California water news today, introducing the salmon cannon, Butte County official says new groundwater rules are biggest change to water law in our lifetime, why doesn't California build big dams anymore, why El Nino is never a good bet, desperately dry California tries to curb private drilling for groundwater, Salton Sea could benefit from the water bond, myths about drought hampering Colorado River Agreements , and water jet packs causing concern in Newport Beach as they grow in popularity …

In the news today …

  • The Salmon Cannon: Easier Than Shooting Fish Out Of A Barrel: Let's start the holiday off with a bang – literally: “Ever since rivers have been dammed, destroying the migration routes of salmon, humans have worked to create ways to help the fish return to their spawning grounds. We've built ladders and elevators; we've carried them by hand and transported them in trucks. Even helicopters have been used to fly fish upstream.  But all of those methods are expensive and none of them are efficient.  Enter the salmon cannon. … ” Watch the video below and read more from NPR here: The Salmon Cannon: Easier Than Shooting Fish Out Of A Barrel
  • New groundwater rules are the biggest change to water law in our lifetime:The wild west of groundwater law is about to change in California.  Friday the Legislature passed AB1739, which works with SB1168 to begin groundwater management. The goal is for statewide sustainable groundwater use within 20 years, balancing economic, social and environmental benefits.  “We will probably see nothing bigger in our lifetime for changes to water law,” said Paul Gosselin, director of the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Management. … ” New groundwater rules are the biggest change to water law in our lifetime
  • Why doesn't California build big dams anymore?:  “How much money drought-stricken California should spend to build new dams was a big part of the debate over the bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last month to put a $7.5 billion water bond on the November ballot.  Republicans and Central Valley Democrats who pushed hardest for new reservoirs highlighted the fact that California built many of the world's most ambitious dam projects during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but a large state- or federally-funded reservoir hasn't been built in 35 years. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Why doesn’t California build big dams anymore?
  • Drought myth-busting: Why El Niño is never a good bet: “If, like many Californians, you’ve been on El Niño Watch, you’re no-doubt confused by now. It’s happening. It’s not happening. But whether it is or isn’t might matter less than you think.  “Don’t count on El Niño for anything,” Jay Lund, a UC Davis hydrologist, admonished us at a July drought briefing in Washington, D.C. At the time, forecasters were already downsizing earlier projections for a strong El Niño this fall (latest update shows that it might be regrouping for a comeback). But Lund was making a larger point: He and others have plotted El Niño against actual California precipitation and found … a pretty murky relationship, overall. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Drought myth-busting: Why El Niño is never a good bet
  • Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water: “The small prefab office of Arthur & Orum, a well-drilling outfit hidden in the almond trees and grapevines south of Fresno, has become a magnet for scores of California farmers in desperate need of water to sustain their crops. Looking at binders of dozens of orders for yet-to-be-drilled wells, Steve Arthur, a manager, said, “We’ve got more stacked up than we’ll do before the end of the year.” … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water
  • Salton Sea could benefit from the water bond: Talk with leaders from Imperial County and you’ll hear a clear message: Time is running out to save the Salton Sea, the accidental desert lake whose receding shores pose a growing hazard for the wildlife and people who live nearby.  This largest of inland lakes in California is expected to see even more rapid water loss by 2018 connected, in part, to water sales to the San Diego region. ... ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here:  Salton Sea could benefit from the water bond
  • Official: ‘Myths' about drought hampering Colorado River water agreements:A top federal water administrator said Friday that several myths stand in the way of broad agreements needed to deal with increasing demand for water in the drought-stricken and overallocated Colorado River basin.  Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anne Castle told listeners at the Business of Water conference in Las Vegas that there's no one-step way to avoid the possibility of cuts in water deliveries in the next few years to states including Arizona and Nevada. … ”  Read more from the Casper Star-Tribune here: Official: ‘Myths’ about drought hampering Colorado River water agreements
  • And lastly … Water jet packs causing concern in Newport Beach as they grow in popularity:  “When James Bond shot skywards in a jetpack in Thunderball he did not have to deal with the grumblings of the health and safety brigade.  But fast forward half a century and daredevils in California, seeking to emulate the super-spy, are in danger of being grounded by the local council.  The battle between would-be jetpack fliers and zealous officials is taking place in the genteel surroundings of Newport Beach harbour, 40 miles south of Los Angeles, where the popularity of the devices has exploded. … ”  Well, yeah, sure, who wouldn't want to fly around the sky like James Bond!  Check out the journalist as he tries it out and read more here: Telegraph journalist tries out the water jet pack US council want to ban

In commentary today …

  • Productive lawmakers can thank a retooled system, says George Skelton: He writes: “It was a moderately productive two-year session that the Legislature wrapped up at the witching hour Saturday. Credit mainly voter-approved reforms. This is a new era in Sacramento.  But another factor also helped greatly: the devastating drought.  You've heard the political maxim: Never let a serious crisis go to waste. The lawmakers didn't.  … ”  Read more from George Skelton here: Productive lawmakers can thank a retooled system
  • An era ends with lots of action but uncertain results, says Dan Walters: He writes: “The close of the Legislature’s 2012-14 biennial session also marks the end of a noteworthy period – Jerry Brown’s third term as governor and the reigns of the Legislature’s two top leaders.  During his swan song speech to the Senate on Thursday, outgoing President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg called it a “six-year run where California went from the depths of budget hell and dysfunction to fiscal stability and serial achievement.”  Whether that is an accurate assessment of the past half-decade or so depends largely on one’s ideological orientation or sense of what state government should be doing for its 38 million constituents. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Dan Walters: An era ends with lots of action but uncertain results

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/31/4096874/dan-walters-an-era-ends-with-lots.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/31/4096874/dan-walters-an-era-ends-with-lots.html#storylink=cpy

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition of the Daily Digest:

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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