Daily Digest: CA needs more rain, any way you count it and El Nino is not expected to help, competing perspectives on ag water use, drought legislation to be debated Monday, and more news, plus the storm door is still open!

Daily DigestIn California water news today, California needs more rain, any way you count it, El Niño not expected to help California Drought, Want the facts on ag water use?  Join the debate as competing perspectives clash over definitions, Stranded salmon put back on course to spawning grounds, Drought makes for lighter almond harvest, California drought the worst in 1200 years, new study says, Texas tries to figure out California water law with mixed results, Marc Levine appointed Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, 7 ways California’s drought affects you, and more, plus the storm door is still open!     

In the news today …

  • California needs more rain, any way you count it:  “So how many more storms like the ones California experienced this week would it take to end the drought?  The easy answer is: a lot. But the more complex answer involves looking at historic rain patterns and reservoir levels in different parts of the state, and making a series of calculations.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 18 to 21 more inches of rain over six months would do the trick for most of the state. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California needs more rain, any way you count it
  • El Niño Not Expected To Help California Drought:The recent storms in California are part of the typical wet December-February weather pattern and not from El Niño conditions.  “This was a slow-moving Pacific weather system that was able to tap into some subtropical moisture, or what folks most commonly know as an atmospheric river or ‘Pineapple Express,'” said Michelle Mead, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: El Niño Not Expected To Help California Drought
  • Want the facts on ag water use?  Join the debate: Competing perspectives clash over definitions:It seems like a simple, verifiable fact necessary to inform drought discussions: How much of California’s water supply goes to agriculture?  Trying to answer that tidy little question leads straight into controversy. California’s age-old water wars are heating up amid punishing drought, and that bubbles all the way down to the definition of what “applied water” really means. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Want the facts on ag water use?  Join the debate
  • Stranded salmon put back on course to spawning grounds:On a wet and somewhat cold Wednesday, researchers were out in the Yolo Bypass rescuing salmon that had lost their way.  It turns out that hundreds of large salmon had taken a wrong turn into dead-end drainage ditches in the Yolo Bypass where they would perish if not rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. ... ”  Continue reading at the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Stranded salmon put back on course to spawning grounds
  • Drought: All This Rain Is Confusing NorCal Salmon — They Keep Getting Lost:With all the rain we’ve been having, one would think it would be good thing for the imperiled salmon population. It would be if all that new fresh water wasn’t so confusing. The salmon keep getting lost. Instead of migrating to their spawning ground, they wind up swimming up a ditch and ultimately into a death trap. Fortunately, Department of Fish and Wildlife is working to save them. ... ” Read more from the CBS News here: Drought: All This Rain Is Confusing NorCal Salmon — They Keep Getting Lost
  • Drought makes for lighter almond harvest: Almond growers in California have mostly wrapped up their harvest of a crop that yielded smaller kernels and more rejects than normal because of the drought.  “We started early and finished early,” said Dave Baker, Blue Diamond Growers’ director of member relations. “It came out a very dry harvest and a fairly clean harvest. We had a higher reject percentage than last year, which was surprising because we didn’t see a lot of shriveled kernels.” … ”  Read more from the Capitol Press here: Drought makes for lighter almond crop
  • California drought the worst in 1200 years, new study says:  “The last three years of drought were the most severe that California has experienced in at least 1,200 years, according to a new scientific study published Thursday.  The study provides the state with breathtaking new historical context for its low reservoirs and sinking water tables, even as California celebrated its first good soaking of the season. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California drought the worst in 1200 years, new study says
  • Drought legislation introduced in Congress:  “While the recent rain across the state has somewhat eased local farmers’ and citizens’ minds, legislators are still fighting for more short term relief for Californians in the nation’s capital. On Tuesday Central Valley Congressman David Valadao (CA-21) introduced legislation to enact temporary measures to maximize water resources during the ongoing drought plaguing California. ... ”  Continue reading at the Turlock Journal here:  Drought legislation introduced in Congress
  • Texas tries to figure out California water law with mixed results/drought bill to be debated Monday, voted on Tuesday: Carolyn Lochhead reports from the House Rules Committee: “Watch as a pair of Californians, Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman of San Rafael and Republican Rep. David Valadao of Hanford (Kings County), try to explain to [Rep. Pete] Sessions [R-Texas] how water law works in California. Good luck. … The committee ultimately decided that the GOP water bill will get an hour of debate on Monday with no amendments and go to a floor vote Tuesday. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said Wednesday that she strongly opposes the bill, all but ensuring it will die in the other chamber. ... ”  Watch the video and read more here: Texan tries to figure out California water law, with mixed results
  • Marc Levine appointed Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee:  “When it comes to state politics, few issues are as contentious as water and parks.  North Coast Assemblyman Marc Levine will be navigating those treacherous waters next year after he assumes the chair of the state Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.  Reached at home Thursday, the San Rafael Democrat called his appointment to the committee by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins an “honor.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Marc Levine appointed Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee
  • 7 ways California’s drought affects you:  “The three-year-long drought in California isn’t about to end anytime soon, and the effects—both negative and positive—will spread well beyond the state’s borders, reaching most Americans. Among the negatives: higher prices for some fruits and vegetables grown in California, the nation’s largest agricultural state. But some positives to come from the drought include changes in recycling and conservation practices, as well as technological advances in purifying polluted groundwater and converting saltwater into freshwater in energy efficient ways. … ”  Continue reading from Kiplinger here:  7 ways California’s drought affects you

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Roseville hits high water conservation mark for 2014:  “The City of Roseville posted its best water conservation rate of the year in November.  The City is close to its yearly goal as well.  People, businesses and government reduced water consumption by 29 percent -or 205 million gallons- compared to November of last year. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Roseville hits high water conservation mark for 2014
  • Rain combined with sewage spill closes some Southland beaches:  “Officials in Orange and San Diego counties Wednesday warned residents to steer clear of the ocean as a double whammy of rain runoff and sewage contamination hit beaches along the Southern California coast.  In Newport Bay, Orange County environmental health officials closed the dock areas at Balboa Bay Club due to a sewage spill. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  Rain combined with sewage spill closes some Southland beaches
  • Flash flooding strands drivers in Southern California:  “Heavy downpours took a parting shot Thursday at California, triggering flash floods that temporarily stranded more than three dozen people in their cars in inland Riverside County as the state took stock of the effects of days of steady downpours.  The stranded drivers and city employees in San Jacinto Valley spent the day digging their cars out of mud and cleaning up after the deluge. No one was injured. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Flash flooding strands drivers in California
  • Water official has H.B. desalination project conflict of interest, complaint alleges: “Former Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook has filed a complaint with the state’s political watchdog, alleging that an Orange County Water District board member has a conflict of interest regarding a proposal to build an ocean desalination plant in the city.  Cook says in the complaint, filed Nov. 18 with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, that Stephen Sheldon should be prevented from voting on any decisions regarding Poseidon Water, which has been trying since 2006 to build a nearly $1-billion facility next to the AES power plant at Pacific Coast Highway and Newland Street.  … ”  Read more from the Huntington Beach Independent here: Water official has H.B. desalination project conflict of interest, complaint alleges
  • Arizona tribe secures water rights:  “A northwestern Arizona tribe has secured water rights to a Colorado River tributary and is hoping to use a federal settlement as a springboard to pursue other claims.  A settlement approved this week in Congress gives the Hualapai Tribe hundreds of acre-feet per year from the Bill Williams River watershed. It also includes funding for water and infrastructure studies on the reservation, where tribal officials have struggled to provide running water for tourists at the Grand Canyon Skywalk. … ”  Read more from the Mohave Valley News here:  Tribe secures water rights

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • The storm door is still open:  From the National Weather Service:  “The December storm door hasn’t closed yet. Another, less intense storm will drop out of the Gulf of Alaska late Friday into Saturday. This storm will bring rain to the valley and snow above 7,000 feet. Precipitation values range from just above half an inch in the Northern Sacramento Valley, tapering to near a quarter inch in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. A second storm is on track for late Sunday into Monday. A third storm is possible a week out on next Thursday. Stay tuned for updates on timing and precipitation amounts.

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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