Daily Digest: Campaign for Prop 1 starts, Gov Brown opposes tapping water bond for earthquake system, snowless Mount Shasta, data center to help desal water and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Campaign for Prop 1 starts in Fresno as Valley politicians promote water bond to voters, Governor Brown opposes tapping water bond for earthquake warning system, snowless Mount Shasta, drought wipes out nearly one-quarter of state’s $5 billion rice crop, drought reshaping cattle map, Californians stealing from fire hydrants, groundwater bills, data center to help desalinate sea water, ignoring Salton Sea could cost billions, Lake Mead at lowest level and more … 

In the news today …

  • Campaign for Prop. 1 water bond starts in Fresno:The entire state needs water, and the call has been loudest from Valley farmers who are pinning their hopes on voters to approve the water bond.  Joe Del Bosque said, “This water bond means that we’ve got hope to build some infrastructure that will help to give us a more reliable water supply.”  Fresno County Farmer Joe Del Bosque played a key role in letting President Obama know the impact of the drought on California during his visit to the Valley last February. ... ”  Read more from ABC 30 here:  Campaign for Prop 1 Water Bond Starts in Fresno
  • Valley politicians promote water bond to voters: “The California Latino Water Coalition gave thanks Wednesday to a wide array of individuals — most notably a bipartisan group of state lawmakers — for their roles in forging a $7.5 billion water bond that will go to voters in November.  As state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, noted in his remarks, those who paved the way included former state Sen. Dave Cogdill, a Modesto Republican who worked on the original 2009 bond. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Valley politicians promote water bond to voters
  • Governor Brown opposes tapping water bond for earthquake warning system:  “Gov. Jerry Brown opposes tapping a $7 billion water bond that will go before voters in November as a way to pay for a proposed earthquake warning system, the state’s top emergency official said Wednesday.  Mark Ghilarducci, the director the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management Services, shot down the idea while attending a meeting of seismologists at UC Berkeley. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Governor Brown opposes tapping water bond for earthquake warning system
  • California drought snapshot: Snowless Mount Shasta: ” … “Go where you will within a radius of from fifty to a hundred miles, there stands the colossal cone of Shasta, clad in perpetual snow, the one grand landmark that never sets.”  That’s John Muir, writing in 1877. The pioneering conservationist, who looked at California’s mountains and always saw poetry, was describing a harrowing day and night spent stranded near the summit of Mount Shasta in a spring blizzard. He and a companion, who had been caught in the open with only the clothes they were wearing, survived the night by sleeping near steam vents high on the mountain.  You wonder what Muir would say today, when drought has all but stripped the mountain of its “perpetual” snow. … ”  Continue reading at KQED here:  California drought snapshot: Snowless Mount Shasta
  • California’s Drought Wipes Out Nearly One Quarter Of State’s $5 Billion Rice Crop: California’s drought has wiped out nearly a quarter of the state’s $5 billion rice crop.  California is the sole source of sushi rice in America and it is one of the largest producers of rice as a whole. About 97 percent of that crop is grown in Sacramento alone. The industry provides about 25,000 jobs. ... ”  Read more from CBS 2 here: California’s Drought Wipes Out Nearly One Quarter Of State’s $5 Billion Rice Crop
  • Drought reshaping cattle map:  “Drought is reshaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Colorado and from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.  The U.S. may be on the front end of a significant geographic shakeout of the beef industry. Herd numbers have been sliding nationwide for more than a decade. Now, as drought grips major beef and dairy producing areas, a cattle migration is emerging and it’s altering where cattle are raised, fed, and slaughtered. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Drought reshaping cattle map
  • Water wars: Californians stealing from fire hydrants amid drought:  “The worsening drought in California is taking a toll on citizens, some of whom are stealing water in the middle of the night from fire hydrants, officials said.  The city of Lemoore says at least four fire hydrants have been tampered with and, in one case, the perpetrator didn’t even bother to clean up the evidence.  “There was a hydrant that had a hose on it and whoever was there was left the hose,” Lemoore Public Works Director Dave Wlaschin told ABC station KFSN-TV in Fresno. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Water wars: Californians stealing from fire hydrants amid drought
  • Drought not a concern for just humans; wildlife affected too: The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south flyway for migratory birds in America, extending from Alaska to the Patagonia in South America.  The Central Valley is a really important rest stop along that super highway and if birds don’t have enough water when they stop here, they don’t have enough nourishment to continue and it breaks the migratory chain.  That is what Mike Sutton, vice president of the National Audubon Society, said Wednesday on “First Look with Scott Cox.” … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Drought not a concern for just humans; wildlife affected too
  • Growers donate fruit to families going hungry in the drought:  “Despite suffering drought-related hardship of its own, a coalition of Central Valley growers and businesses has donated more than $100,000 in produce to food banks assisting families affected by the drought.  The group is called California Water Feeds Our Communities, and on Wednesday it delivered 15 truckloads of locally-grown fresh fruits to 10 cities throughout the state, including Bakersfield through Community Action Partnership of Kern, or CAPK. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Growers donate fruit to families going hungry in the drought
  • Groundwater bills stirring concerns:  “Rod Burkett hasn’t seen the trio of California Assembly and Senate bills establishing a system to control the amount of groundwater that farmers across the state can draw from their wells.  But Burkett, who grows olives and citrus on his 130-acres of farmland north of Porterville, said the state government regulating his groundwater is a recipe for problems.“First of all, we’ve always had water rights. It’s my water down there. It’s not the state’s. It doesn’t belong to them,” he said. ... ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Groundwater bills stirring concerns
  • California’s groundwater dilemma: A California bill regulating the use of the state’s ground water from the natural aquifers is awaiting the approval of Governor Jerry Brown. In the midst of the most severe drought the U.S. has seen in years, the drilling of wells has increased, depleting the natural resource.  Experts say groundwater was never meant to be used for primary source of consumption, but as surface water dries, farmers and municipalities are going underground.  Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Thomas Harter, a professor and groundwater specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the University of California, Davis, about the use of groundwater in California and why it should not be used as a primary source.”  Listen to the show:
  • Data center to help desalinate sea water for California:  “The seriousness of the current drought in California was evident during a recent visit to the Salinas Valley. In fact, it’s believed that ocean water is seeping into the coastal fresh-water aquifersDesalination is a working technology used throughout the world to combat the shortage of fresh water. If it works, why aren’t there more desalination plants dotting the California coastline? Because desalination plants are expensive, use an inordinate amount of electricity, and are fraught with environmental concerns. DeepWater Desal has spent three years looking at the challenges overshadowing desalination plants, and the company believes it has viable answers for every concern.… ”  Read more from Tech Republic here:  Data center to help desalinate sea water for California
  • Ignoring Salton Sea could cost billions:  “As state voters consider a $7.5 billion water bond that could pour millions into restoration of the Salton Sea, a report by the nonprofit Pacific Institute warns of the costs of not saving the salty inland lake.  Created in 1905 when a Colorado River diversion failed, flooding an ancient lake bed, the Salton Sea is a wildlife haven, but also an environmental hazard. With no outlet, it has become 50 percent saltier than sea water. Toxic dusts drifts from its exposed shores as water flows into the lake have declined. … ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here:  Ignoring Salton Sea could cost billions
  • LakeMeadWaterLevelWestern drought brings Lake Mead to lowest level since it was built: On July 11, the day these photos were taken, the Lake Mead reservoir reached its lowest water level since the lake was first filled during the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. The lake’s elevation was 1,081.77 feet—147.23 feet below capacity and 133.99 feet below its last peak in 1998. Similar to how the rings in the cross-section of a tree trunk can tell a story about that tree’s past, the high points and low points of Lake Mead’s water history can be glimpsed from observing recent photos taken at the Hoover Dam. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here: Western drought brings Lake Mead to lowest level since it was built
  • Think the Southwestern drought is bad now?  It could last a generation or more:  “Late-summer 2014 has brought uncomfortable news for residents of the US Southwest—and I’m not talking about 109-degree heat in population centers like Phoenix.  A new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the US Geological Survey researchers looked at the deep historical record (tree rings, etc.) and the latest climate change models to estimate the likelihood of major droughts in the Southwest over the next century. The results are as soothing as a thick wool sweater on a midsummer desert hike.  … ”  Read more from Mother Jones here: Think the Southwest’s Drought Is Bad Now? It Could Last a Generation or More

In commentary today …

  • Migratory birds and refuges need consideration in a drought, says commentary:  Brigid McCormack and Mark Biddlecomb write:  “As we endure the third year of a severe drought, California is confronting serious threats to many animal species and critical habitats. And like the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, California’s birds provide us with a clear warning about the need to plan wisely for drought’s impact on people, agriculture, wildlife and recreation.  Thousands of birds have died in the past few weeks as the result of a suspected avian botulism epidemic sweeping through a wildlife refuge in Northern California. A hundred birds a day are dying at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the Oregon border. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Viewpoints: Migratory birds and refuges need consideration in a drought
  • Drought not just a California problem, says the USA Today:  They write:  ““It never rains in California,” Albert Hammond sang in the chorus of his 1972 hit single. In recent winters, it doesn’t snow much, either. And that’s a big problem, not just for the Golden State but for the whole nation.  California is in the third year of one of its worst droughts of the past century. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 82% of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, up from 28% at the beginning of the year.  Beyond the obvious risks of wildfires and crop losses, this drought carries lessons about the need for states and localities to prepare for extreme weather and to invest in water resources, just as they need to spend money on roads, bridges, airports and other basic public works. … ”  Read more from the USA Today here: Our view: Drought not just a California problem

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Sebastopol must cut water use by 20%: “Residents of Sebastopol — so far spared some of the pressure placed on neighboring cities to conserve water — are now officially operating under a mandatory water shortage plan requiring a 20 percent reduction in water use.  Measures adopted by the City Council on Tuesday night mirror those in place elsewhere in Sonoma County and around the state, aimed at preserving California’s precious water supplies as a third year of drought persists. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Sebastopol must cut water use by 20%
  • Sacramento utility says water consumption of the trees is worth the benefits:  “Shade is a hot commodity for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The utility spends $1.2 million every year to plant 10,000 shade trees with the help of the Sacramento Tree Foundation and another 5,000 trees for schools, parks, and streets.  In 25 years of existence, SMUD’s shade tree program has planted 500,000 trees in the city of Sacramento. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Utility says trees water consumption worth the benefits
  • Water wasting notices issued routinely in Ceres:  “Concerns about the wasting of water during the drought that has gripped California are what prompted the city of Ceres over and over during July to keep a watchful eye on residents negligent about water conservation.  The city received 34 calls about specific instances of water wasting by neighbors in July. City personnel issued 182 warnings about water wasting and issued 20 fines. … ”  Read more from The Ceres Courier here:  Water wasting notices issued routinely in Ceres
  • Monterey Peninsula: Los Padres gravel project gives drought-stressed steelhead more places to spawn: Carmel River steelhead are picky about their rocks. They can’t be too big or too small. So Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is trying to get them just right.  MPWMD is in the process of stockpiling 1,500 tons of Central Valley quarried rock for its latest steelhead spawning gravel enhancement project. ... ”  Read more from Monterey County Weekly here: Los Padres gravel project gives drought-stressed steelhead more places to spawn.
  • Paso Robles: Council approves emergency water to rural residents: The Paso Robles City Council voted Tuesday night to allow city water to be sold to rural residents. Paso Robles Water Resources Manager Christopher Alakel presented a proposal to the councilmen that would aid homeowners who live outside the city limits but are facing wells running dry.  “We’re limited to our city borders for service,” Alakel said. “We’ve got some residential rural communities on our periphery … all those that don’t live in a city with municipal water, rely on their own wells. Many of those wells are running dry.” … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News:  Paso Robles: Council approves emergency water to rural residents
  • Water conservation urged at Bakersfield forum: A chemistry professor, an industrial drawing major, and elected officials called on students to save water, and their fellow politicians to put people before fish, at a Bakersfield College forum Wednesday.  The men spoke during an informal half-hour public comment period that opened the three-hour event, aimed at drawing attention to California’s historic drought.  They were followed by dire news from a farming official who warned the drought could require fallowing nearly a quarter of Kern County’s farm land and cost thousands of jobs if it continues next year. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Water conservation urged at BC forum

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.

hard_working_on_computer_anim_150_clr_7364Maven’s Notebook
The diary of a confessed obsessive-compulsive California water news junkie

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