Daily Digest: Talks on drought bill underway on Capitol Hill, curtailment order lifted on Russian River, this week’s rain unlikely to dent drought, and more news …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Talks on drought bill underway on Capitol Hill, Curtailment order lifted on Russian River, This week’s rain unlikely to dent drought, Drought-stricken town so dry, residents shower in church parking lot, Truck explodes at Santa Paula waste water plant, sending dozens to area hospitals, State urged to avoid crisis at the Salton Sea, and more …

In the news today …

  • Talks on drought bill underway on Capitol Hill: In case you missed it, this was posted yesterday as a breaking news alert: “California’s water future is boiling below the surface this week.  Only the chosen few have a clue about details. Bill documents, currently about 50 pages, are stamped “confidential draft language, do not distribute.” Capitol Hill doors are shut, congressional timetables are opaque and negotiators are strictly mum.  “We’ve taken our vow of secrecy,” Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., said Tuesday. … ” Continue reading at McClatchy News here: Talks on drought bill underway on Capitol Hill
  • Curtailment order lifted on Russian River:  “State water regulators have lifted a nearly six-month freeze on certain water diversions from the upper Russian River, provoking relief among Sonoma and Mendocino county grape growers and others north of Healdsburg who are dependent on the river for crop irrigation and other uses.  Notice served over the weekend to 652 state permit holders whose claims to river water were suspended last May means they can once again pump from the river. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat here:  Curtailment order lifted on Russian River
  • This week’s rain unlikely to dent drought:  “Rain storms expected to blow through the Bay Area this week will likely have little impact on the statewide drought, now entering its fourth year.  The National Weather Service is forecasting only about a half-inch of precipitation to fall in most locations from three separate storm systems beginning mid-week and concluding sometime on Saturday.  All three storms look to be on the weak side, said NWS forecaster Roger Gaas, with the possible exception of the last storm arriving on Friday — if it swings far enough south to douse the Bay Area. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  This week’s rain unlikely to dent drought
  • Drought-stricken town so dry, residents shower in church parking lot:  “Hundreds of people living in a drought-stricken California farm town could soon be taking their first hot shower in months after county officials set up portable facilities in a church parking lot.  Residents of East Porterville in the agricultural Central Valley must bring their own towel and soap, but the hot shower is free. Until now, many have been forced to bathe from buckets and drink bottled water. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  Drought-stricken town so dry, residents shower in church parking lot
  • Truck explodes at Santa Paula waste water plant, sending dozens to area hospitals:  “A mysterious chemical mixture that burst into flames at a Southern California waste facility sent nearly 40 people to hospitals for decontamination and forced homes and businesses for a mile around to evacuate.  The flames and danger in Santa Paula, a city of around 30,000 about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, had mostly eased late Tuesday, Ventura County fire officials said. … ”  Read more from the Associated Press here: Truck Explodes At California Waste Water Plant, Sending Dozens To Area Hospitals
  • State urged to avoid crisis at the Salton Sea:  “Imperial Valley water officials on Tuesday urged the state to help “avert an emerging environmental and public health crisis at the Salton Sea,” or otherwise consider restricting a massive water transfer deal that benefits San Diego.  In a formal petition to the California Water Resources Control Board, the Imperial Irrigation District said the state has not lived up to its obligations to restore the inland lake, which straddles Imperial and Riverside counties. ... ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here: State urged to avert ‘crisis’ at Salton Sea

In commentary today …

  • Lois Henry:  Carrot or stick for groundwater management: She writes: “California’s groundwater hit the big time Sunday night, starring as the lead item in the “60 Minutes” television news program.  Upshot of the piece: Cali’s been in a prolonged drought and our groundwater is being tapped like never before.  Super cool time-lapsed satellite imagery from NASA showed the Central Valley as lush green in 2003, then turning deep red (indicating groundwater depletion) up to 2009, our last drought.  All due respect to “60 Minutes,” but tell us something we don’t know. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Lois Henry: Carrot or stick for groundwater management

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Humboldt County, tribes receive 2,400 donated drought kits for low-income households:In an effort to address the drought on the household level, California has teamed up with The Home Depot to distribute kits to low-income residents, with about 2,000 being given to North Coast tribes last month and now 400 more for drought-stricken communities in Humboldt County.  Coming to families in 5-gallon orange Home Depot buckets, the drought kits include a low-flow shower head, faucet aerators, a garden hose nozzle with shutoff valve, toilet leak detectors and a shower timer. The idea for the kits came through a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and The Home Depot. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Humboldt County, tribes receive 2,400 donated drought kits for low-income households
  • Napa expects to finish quake fixes by Thursday:  “Water officials are working toward restoring full service to residents dealing with pipe ruptures that have emerged nearly three months after the south Napa earthquake.  The city Water Division expects to complete fixes to mains in west Napa and south of Napa by about noon Thursday, General Manager Joy Eldredge said Tuesday afternoon. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Napa expects to finish quake fixes by Thursday
  • CalWater hit with $3 million penalty for fish-killing San Mateo pipe leak: State water regulators have slapped California Water Service Co. with a proposed record-setting $3 million penalty for an October 2013 leak of chemically treated drinking water that killed more than 270 fish in San Mateo and Polhemus creeks.  The San Francisco Bay division of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a civil complaint Monday over the San Jose-based water provider’s discharge of roughly 8.2 million gallons of potable water into the creeks. The water contained chloramine, which is safe for humans in small doses but deadly to fish. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  CalWater hit with $3 million penalty for fish-killing San Matero pipe leak
  • Drought cuts into Yuba City’s revenue:  “Yuba City is down $400,000 in water revenues since June due to the campaign urging residents to conserve water during the drought and subsequent water use reductions.  But the city is continuing to push for more conservation, despite the dip, as it moves forward on a water rates study plan that could restructure the way the city charges its customers and could possibly lessen the future revenue impacts of water conservation. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat there:  Drought cuts into Yuba City’s revenue
  • Officials: Sacramento water waste complaints ‘off the charts’: Even before the sun broke over the horizon Tuesday, Steve Upton was already busy writing his first water waste violation of the day in Sacramento.  “Compared to last year, the numbers are outrageous, off the charts,” said Upton, a city of Sacramento water conservation inspector. ... ”  Read more from KCRA here:  Officials: Sacramento water waste complaints ‘off the charts’
  • Turlock Irrigation District sets hearing for big rate hikes:  “The Turlock Irrigation District board voted Tuesday to launch a process that could end with sharply increased water rates for farmers.  Directors voted 5-0 without comment to set a Jan. 13 hearing on the proposal, which would raise the typical charge in normal years from $8.25 to $17.50 per acre-foot. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  TID sets hearing for big rate hikes
  • Oakdale Irrigation District plans to sell $3.9 million on water to outside buyers:The Oakdale Irrigation District plans to sell $3.9 million worth of water to out-of-area buyers in 2015, has begun negotiating potential sales, and is considering offering local farmers financial incentives to fallow their land so additional irrigation water can be marketed to others.  “These water transfers are necessary to the district meetings its goals,” OID General Manager Steve Knell told his district’s board of directors Tuesday. “Funding for our capital (infrastructure) projects comes from water transfers.” ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  OID plans to sell $3.9 million in water to outside buyers
  • San Bernardino Valley Water District approves additional water supply:  “The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District has signed on to a supplemental water supply at the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18.  Under the Yuba Accord Dry Year Water Purchase Program, participating state water contractors can buy water outside the State Water Project,and get it transported through the State Water Project facilities. … ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here:  San Bernardino Valley Water District approves additional water supply
  • San Diego seeks to get past ‘yuck factor’ with drought-driven plan to recycle wastewater: “Acknowledging California’s parched new reality, the city of San Diego has embraced a once-toxic idea: turning sewer water into drinking water.  The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a $2.5-billion plan to recycle wastewater, the latest example of how California cities are looking for new supplies amid a severe drought.  Each of the nine council members effusively praised the effort before the vote as a way to make San Diego less dependent on imported water and insulated from drought. ... ”  Read more from the AP via the Minneapolis Star Tribune here: San Diego seeks to get past ‘yuck factor’ with drought-driven plan to recycle wastewater

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Three weather systems on the way:  “The first of three weather systems will affect the region today with mainly light precipitation. A second system will move through the area on Thursday followed by a third, wetter and breezier, system on Friday night and Saturday. The higher elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada may see several inches of snowfall accumulation from these weather systems.

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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