Daily Digest: UC Professor says wildfires an opportunity to increase water supply, Drought leaves Metropolitan with tightening reserves as water shortages are expected to worsen, plus land subsidence, West Nile, Governor signs water bills and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, UC Berkeley Professor Says Wildfires Create Opportunity for California to Increase Water Supply, drought and climate change force re-evaluation of wildfire-fighting priorities, Drought leaves Metropolitan with tightening reserves with cuts possible in 2015, water shortage expected to worsen across much of the state, UC Davis study says land subsidence speeding up in the Central Valley, less water means more West Nile virus, heat and drought cited in massive Mount Shasta mudslide, Delta Protection Advisory Committee selects Mark Pruner as its chair, Delta branding project stalled as grant money awaits, Governor signs Wolk bill to better manage water resources, Governor Issues Executive Order to Assist Households with Water Shortages, Governor Signs Various ACWA-Supported Legislation Focused on Planning and Conservation, and more …

In the news today …

  • UC Berkeley Professor Says Wildfires Create Opportunity for California to Increase Water Supply: “An environmental expert said the wildfires ravaging California are creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the state to increase its water supply.  Dr. Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley professor of fire science, said he sees a silver lining in all the smoke from the many wildfires raging in the state.  “We need forest restoration on these lands,” he said. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: UC Berkeley Professor Says Wildfires Create Opportunity for California to Increase Water Supply
  • Drought, climate change force re-evaluation of wildfire-fighting priorities:  “California’s ongoing drought continues to aggravate wildfires across the state. The Boles Fire in Siskiyou County has damaged or destroyed 100 structures in Weed, and the King Fire in El Dorado County northeast of Sacramento has already burned more than 128 square miles – and is costing taxpayers $5 million a day to fight.  An overabundance of young trees and what some dismiss as “brush” are often made the culprits of these large fires, as was the case in last year’s Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. But biologist Rick Halsey, director of the California Chaparral Institute, says the state’s current wildfires have causes other than simply a legacy of fire suppression. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here:  Drought, climate change force re-evaluation of wildfire-fighting priorities 
  • Drought leaves Metropolitan with tightening reserves; cuts possible in 2015:  “The giant wholesaler that provides drinking water for half the California population has drained two-thirds of its stored supplies as the state contends with a punishing drought, officials said Monday.  Without plentiful rain and snow in coming months, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California could consider cutbacks to its regional distributors next year. If such limits are approved, that could lead to rationing or cuts for households in portions of Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Daily Journal here: Drought leaves huge California water wholesaler with tightening reserves; 2015 cuts possible  See also:  Metropolitan Water District: Two-thirds of reserves are gone, from Southern California Public Radio
  • Drought: Water shortage expected to worsen across much of the state:  “Parts of Southern California could see some relief from the drought over the next several months, but dry conditions are expected to continue – or worsen – in the rest of the state, meteorologists said Monday.  According to a seasonal outlook for October, November and December, the drought situation will improve in the counties of Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Imperial and the southern half of San Bernardino County. ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Drought: Water shortage expected to worsen across much of the state
  • UC Davis study says land subsidence speeding up in the Central Valley:  “A new study from UC Davis says land subsidence, or sinking ground is speeding up in the Central Valley. The land is sinking at the rate of about one foot per day, [year] primarily because of the reliance on well water by farms. Groundwater pumping has accelerated because of the drought and a resulting lack in surface water supplies  … ”  Read more from ABC 30 here: Sinking land is a growing problem in the San Joaquin Valley
  • Less water means more West Nile virus:  “California’s historic drought is partly to blame for the recent rise in West Nile virus infections, public health officials say. There have been 311 cases reported so far, double the number of the same time last year, and the most of any state in the country.  West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. They contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread it to the birds they bite next. A shortage of water can accelerate this cycle. ... ”  Read more from NPR here: In California, Less Water Means More West Nile Virus
  • Heat, drought cited in massive Mount Shasta mudslide:  “Glaciers are not known as fast-moving objects. Yet on Saturday, things started happening very quickly at a glacier high on the slopes of Mount Shasta.  At about 3 p.m. Saturday, wilderness rangers working for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest reported what they thought was a debris flow on the south side of the iconic mountain 220 miles north of Sacramento. Within three hours, Pilgrim Creek Road and Forest Service Road 31 were both buried in mud and rendered impassable. No structures were damaged, and no one was hurt. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Heat, drought cited in massive Mount Shasta mudslide
  • Delta Protection Advisory Committee selects Mark Pruner as its chair:  “The Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) is one that had basically died out over the last few years. Now it’s back, in a big way.  With representatives from various regions of the Delta and state agencies – the DPAC’s purpose is to provide recommendations to the Delta Protection Commission (DPC) on the diverse interests within the Delta. … ”  Read more from the River News-Herald here:  Delta Protection Advisory Committee selects Mark Pruner as its chair
  • Delta branding project stalled as grant money awaits:  “It is estimated that 78 percent of Californians don’t know where the Delta is.  Hence, the Delta Conservancy and the Delta Protection Commission (DPC) got a $95,000 grant to create a “Delta brand” – a symbol that is universally recognized as the Delta.  “We have to make people care,” said DPC Public Information Officer Nicole Bert. “Right now people don’t even know it’s there. People in Sacramento don’t know it’s there.” … ”  Read more from the River News-Herald here:  Delta branding project stalled as grant money awaits
  • Governor signs Wolk bill to better manage water resources: Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law legislation Friday that strengthens requirements for urban water districts report to the state their water losses through leaks in their water systems.  “The water coming out of taps in California’s urban communities moves through thousands of miles of pipes. Many of these water systems are in need of repair. In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 10 percent of water supplied statewide is lost to leaks,” said bill author Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, in a statement. “We need to know how much water is lost in transit through these urban water systems in order to take cost-effective steps to reduce water loss and better manage our state’s water resources.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Governor signs Wolk bill to better manage water resources
  • Governor Issues Executive Order to Assist Households with Water Shortages:Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order last week aimed at streamlining assistance to households that rely on domestic wells or very small water systems and are currently without drinking water due to declining groundwater supplies as the drought continues. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Governor Issues Executive Order to Assist Households with Water Shortages
  • Governor Signs Various ACWA-Supported Legislation Focused on Planning and Conservation: Gov. Jerry Brown has signed several ACWA-supported bills including AB 2067 (Weber) and SB 1420 (Wolk), related to Urban Water Management Plans, as well as AB 2104 (Gonzales) and SB 922 (Nielsen), related to homeowners associations’ landscape rules.  These bills are expected to help California achieve its goal of a 20% reduction in water-use statewide by 2020. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Governor Signs Various ACWA-Supported Legislation Focused on Planning and Conservation

In commentary today …

  • The big reason the water bond will pass: It should, says Thomas Elias: He writes: “The outcome is rarely certain when state government asks voter permission to spend $7.5 billion of the taxpayers’ money, but it’s also unusual for a ballot proposition to win as wide a range of support as Prop. 1 already had more than a month before the Nov. 4 Election Day.  Every poll shows the measure winning by a wide margin among voters who know anything about it; in fact, the more voters know, the more likely they are to back this. … ”  Read more at the Appeal Democrat here: Thomas Elias: Big reason water bond will pass: It should

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Stanislaus County preparing for water shortage emergencies:  “Stanislaus County leaders could approve a plan Tuesday for responding to water shortage emergencies.  In late July, supervisors said they wanted to see an emergency plan for assisting residents in case an unincorporated community or an entire rural neighborhood were to lose access to well water. In the past year, many domestic wells on residential properties have gone dry, and conditions could be far worse in 2015 if the drought continues. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus County preparing for water shortage emergencies
  • Santa Barbara to look at future water supply alternatives:  “The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has directed the County Water Agency to undertake a study of local water supply options available now and into the future. The scope of the report will include evaluation of the feasibility, reliability, and cost of multiple water supply options including recycled water, desalination, reservoir desilting or modification, additional surface water storage, groundwater recharge or banking, non-local supplies, State Water Project options, and water transfers, among others.  The study is not intended to solve the current drought but to provide a tool to evaluate local and regional alternatives to ensure adequate water for the future. ... ”  Read more from Edhat here:  Future water supply alternatives
  • Inland Empire: Drought drains color at some Inland parks:Call it the “yellowing” of Inland parks.  As California slogs through the third year of a punishing drought, park operators throughout the Inland area are using a multitude of strategies – less watering, waterless toilets, high-tech irrigation systems, drought-tolerant plantings and artificial turf – to conserve water.  So far, most parks still sport green grass, but if conditions worsen the question may become: Should officials keep parks green or let the grass die? … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here: Drought drains color at some Inland parks
  • The Thirsty San Diegan’s Guide to New Water Projects:  ““Diversify” has become San Diego’s regional battle cry in tackling our water woes.  Nearly 80 percent of our water comes from non-local sources, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that won’t be sustainable much longer. We’re using less water, sure, but the need to think big-picture remains. Some major water infrastructure projects coming together try to do just that.  The bottom line: The journey your water travels as it makes its way to your home and workplace could look very different down the road. Here’s a rundown of the water projects planned for San Diego in the coming decades. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  The Thirsty San Diegan’s Guide to New Water Projects

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Some rain in the forecast for Northern California: From the National Weather Service Sacramento: “Low pressure system in the eastern Pacific will bring cooler, wet weather to Interior Northern California beyond midweek. Ahead of the storm, breezy conditions and low humidity Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday evening will increase the potential for fires to develop and spread rapidly. Precipitation potential for Interior Northern California increases in the Coastal mountains Wednesday, spreading over much of the forecast area into Thursday. Scattered showers and mountain thunderstorms possible Friday.

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

One Response

  1. Lowell Ashbaugh

    The land subsidence in the UC Davis story is one for per year, not one foot per day. It’s reported incorrectly in the first paragraph and correctly toward the end.

    Reply

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