Daily Digest: State to release per-capita water use to show how California cities are adapting to drought, Do non-native fish have a place in the Delta?, plus drought, dolphins, avocados, fracking and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, State to release per-capita water use to show how California cities are adapting to drought, Do non-native fish have a place in the Delta?, The Chinook salmon’s journey, New research predicts California droughts will worsen, Another downhill season for California’s ski resorts?, Kiss your guacamole goodbye:  Drought-stricken farmers stop growing avocados, Warmer ocean temperatures luring dolphins, rare turtle to Northern California coastline, and fracking yields tainted water that could be reused, plus Media mischaracterize Westside farmers over water, says the California Farm Water Coalition, and more …       

In the news today …

  • State to release per-capita water use to show how California cities are adapting to drought:  “Data to be released Tuesday will show per-capita water use in communities across California that are facing pressure, including the threat of fines, to cut back during the third year of a drought.  The state agency tasked with monitoring conservation efforts will release per-person, per-day water use. The figures come as government officials examine where to target conservation efforts.  “It allows us to identify those areas that maybe aren’t doing as much as they could and leaving alone the folks already squeezing blood from the turnip,” Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, said last month. … ”  Read more from the Daily Journal here:  State to release per-capita water use to show how California cities are adapting to drought
  • Do non-native fish have a place in the Delta? Speeding down a channel of the Cache Slough, an appendage of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, biologist Matthew Young deftly navigates our small research boat, which is sitting rather low in the water. Dressed in construction worker orange waders and a jacket, his curly brown hair protruding from under this green knit hat, Young, a marine biologist and a Delta Stewardship Council science fellow, is full of excited energy, which is remarkable considering both that it’s 4 a.m., and he and his team of researchers have three 12-hour days of fish sampling in the Delta ahead of them.  … ”  Continue reading from the Earth Island Journal here:  Do non-native fish have a place in the Delta?
  • The Chinook salmon’s journey:  Spawning at the Feather River fish hatchery:  “Where do California’s chinook salmon come from?  We’ve all heard the story about the salmon’s migration — how young fish just a few inches long travel from the streams and rivers where they were born out through the Delta, San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. And we know how, usually after a few years of voracious feeding out there in the Pacific Ocean, the big strapping salmon — the largest chinook ever caught in California was 88 pounds and about four feet long — return to their natal streams. There, they spawn in cold water and clean gravel. Then they die, but the age-old cycle is renewed. ... ”  Continue reading at KQED here:  The Chinook salmon’s journey
  • New research predicts California droughts will worsen:  “Future droughts in California are likely to bite deeper and last longer than the one now gripping the state, according to new research into the potential effects of climate change.  Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey used computer climate modeling tools to estimate the effects of warmer temperatures in future decades. In particular, they studied the effect on California’s mountain snowpack, the largest source of fresh water in the state, which refills thousands of water-storage reservoirs each spring via snowmelt. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New research predicts California droughts will worsen
  • Another downhill season for California’s ski resorts?  “November and the approach of winter are welcome times at the nation’s ski resorts and their surrounding communities.  Those resorts bring in between $4 billion and $6 billion in revenues annually, while factoring in retail sales for skiing equipment, clothing and apparel those estimated overall sales could be closer to $11 billion. Which is why the ski industry is closely monitoring weather conditions for this upcoming season in Far West and particularly in California, which was been suffering through an historic drought. ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Another downhill season for California’s ski resorts
  • Kiss your guacamole goodbye:  Drought-stricken farmers stop growing avocados:  “When Chipotle warned investors back in March that it might suspend serving guacamole at its restaurants if avocado prices rose because of the California drought, climate change hit home for chip-and-dip lovers, who took to Twitter in distress.  Things have not gotten better since then.  It takes 74 gallons of water to produce one pound of avocados—and drought-stricken California produces 95 percent of the avocados grown in the United States. No wonder Chipotle’s bean counters are worried. … ”  Read more from Take Part here:  Kiss your guacamole goodbye:  Drought-stricken farmers stop growing avocados
  • Warmer ocean temperatures luring dolphins, rare turtle to Northern California coastline:  “It’s no bathtub, but Northern California’s warm water is attracting visitors from as far as Ecuador and Alaska.  Scientists and researchers alike have documented tiny species of ocean snails and fur seals, typically found off Baja California in Mexico, roaming the waters of Northern California. Last September, one fisherman off the coast of San Francisco even caught and released an endangered green turtle that usually lives off in the waters of Mexico and the Galapagos Islands. … ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Warmer ocean temperatures luring dolphins, rare turtle to Northern California coastline
  • Operation H2O: Fracking yields tainted water that could be reused:  “A scientist, perennially questioning, John Webley has the classic entrepreneur’s urge to create new ventures, take risks and explore virgin scientific terrain. After more than two decades of ferreting out telecommunication mysteries in a climate of exploding broadband, Mr. Webley had enough of telecom technology.  He has turned his attention from telecommunications to wastewater treatment with forward osmosis using his “secret sauce” draw solution.  His new urgency: in the midst of California’s persistent drought, find ways to purify wastewater from businesses such as breweries, frackers and manufacturers. … ”  Read more from the North Bay Business Journal here:  Operation H2O: Fracking yields tainted water that could be reused
  • Drying Wells May Lead to Conflict, Food Shortages:For thousands of years, irrigation has enabled farmers to grow crops that feed the world’s population, and about 40 percent of that water comes from wells dug into the ground, rather than rivers and other bodies of open water. And that could mean that we’re in big trouble.  A new article in Nature Climate Change by James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, warns that most of the world’s major aquifers in arid and semi-arid zones — the ones that rely the most on groundwater — are rapidly vanishing. The most worrisome fact: “Nearly all of these underlie the word’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.” … ”  Read more from Discovery here: Drying Wells May Lead to Conflict, Food Shortages

In commentary today …

  • Media mischaracterize Westside farmers over water, says the California Farm Water Coalition: Mike Wade writes: “A recent L.A. Times article on Westlands Water District misses the full story and instead portrays Westside farmers as bad actors in their struggle to grow food.  The article begins by repeating the myth that agriculture uses three-quarters of the water in our state. A recent example of this by The Hamilton Project titled “Nine Economic Facts About Water in the United States” displayed a large graphic showing agriculture consuming 80 percent of California’s water.  In fact, the report included a footnote that echoed long-published information by the Department of Water Resources that on-farm use of developed water is only 41 percent when environmental water is taken into account. Why is it so hard for writers to admit that reality? … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Media mischaracterize Westside farmers over water

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Davis experiences water problems during drought:  “At around 10 p.m. last Wednesday, Carmelo Lane experienced a water main leak due to erosion in old pipes. The leak caused street damage and required immediate attention from the Davis Police Department and the Public Works Department. The Public works department worked on fixing the leaks from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.  The City of Davis is no exception when it comes to California’s drought, making water problems a constant issue on the minds of both citizens and the city workers.  “The Carmelo Lane break last week was the only one that is considered larger than normal, [it even] lifted the street up a little. Probably because of the time that it happened, people noticed it more. They’re not used to having construction in the middle of the night,” said Gary Wells, the public works water division manager. … ”  Read more from the California Aggie here:  Davis experiences water problems during drought
  • Removing hyacinth clogging Port of Stockton a slow process as dry year has plant thriving:  “Stockton’s water hyacinth is not a new problem, but it appears to be getting worse every year.  The only vessels getting through the waterfront with ease are Rick Hatton’s fleet of hyacinth harvesters.  The invasive plant choking up the Port of Stockton is the worst Hatton has ever seen. His company Aquatic Harvesting Inc travels from Arizona to Washington clearing out waterways. Hatton and the State Park’s Division of Boating and Waterways share the same theory on why the hyacinth seems to be multiplying and it has to do with California’s drought. ... ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Removing hyacinth clogging Port of Stockton a slow process as dry year has plant thriving
  • Oakdale Irrigation District to discuss selling water to outside agencies during closed door meeting:  “Oakdale Irrigation District directors will discuss options for selling water to out-of-county agencies Tuesday morning during a closed-door session.  OID will discuss the “price and terms” of water sales to the Westlands Water District, Stockton East Water District and “federal and state water contractors.”  How much water OID will have available to sell isn’t known, said General Manager Steve Knell. The feds will give the district a forecast in February based on the Sierra snowpack, he said. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  OID to discuss selling water to outside agencies during closed door meeting
  • Monterey: Coastal Commission staff backs Cal Am test well appeal:  “Coastal Commission staff has recommended upholding California American Water’s appeal of its desalination slant test well project with conditions, arguing Marina city officials failed to provide any support for denying the project permit.  At the same time, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and others are being asked to formally support the Cal Am appeal. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Coastal Commission staff backs Cal Am test well appeal
  • In Cambria, rift over water treatment plant is a drain on parched town:They’re the trees that gave this quaint Central Coast village its nickname: Cambria Pines by the Sea.  But the towering Monterey pines — one of only three such native forests in the United States — are being ravaged by the drought. Most are brown and brittle. Weakened by lack of water, some have toppled. Others were cut down to prevent them from falling on cars and houses.  “The town lost 25% of its trees last year, and half of those that are standing are brown and dead,” said Rick Hawley, a founder of the preservation group Greenspace, who waters some of the younger, more vulnerable trees. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here: In Cambria, rift over water treatment plant is a drain on parched town
  • Column:  There’s no drought of rebukes, lectures, and guilt: Sandy Banks writes:  “I don’t have crops at stake or a well that needs replenishing, but that doesn’t diminish the glee I felt when I woke up in the middle of the night last weekend to the sound of rain pounding my roof and soaking my parched yard.  I know it’s just a drop in the bucket — a near-empty bucket in our drought-stricken state. But I wanted to celebrate: to run outside as I had as a kid, when we’d greet the season’s first snowfall with heads back and mouths open, catching snowflakes on our tongues.  That was before acid rain and global warming and all the other man-made calamities that have soured our relationship with nature. … ”  Continue reading at the LA times here: There’s no drought of rebukes, lectures and guilt

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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