In California water news this weekend, Sierra Nevada snowpack ‘off to a good start, How much rain to end the drought, Impressive California storms not a harbinger of El Nino, Forecasts of a wet winter, Obama threatens veto on California drought bill, Feather River derailment raises new concerns, Hmong farmers losing battle against the drought, and Drought, water supply to be topics for Western governors, Colorado River states in Las Vegas, plus more news and commentary …
Are we there yet? How much rain to end the drought? “As another rainstorm moved into Northern California on Friday evening, state water managers warned that it would still likely not bring enough precipitation to end the drought. The Sacramento River has risen 3 feet this week at the measuring point near the I Street Bridge. … ” Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: ‘Are we there yet?’: How much more rain will end drought?
Impressive California storms not a harbinger of El Nino: “Despite an impressive accumulation of rain in some parts of California so far in December, it’s still not a certainty that the much-anticipated El Nino will materialize later this winter, forecasters say. The federal Climate Prediction Center estimates there’s still about a 65 percent chance that El Nino, the oceanic weather phenomenon that can push storms into central and southern California, will develop in January and February. ... ” Read more from the Capital Press here: Impressive California storms not a harbinger of El Nino
California’s holiday gift: Forecasts of a wet winter: “The storms that socked the Bay Area this week might just be the start of something beautiful — a wet winter. Meteorologists say periodic showers are likely through the middle of December, while new federal climate models, including a bumped-up forecast for El Niño, hint at definitively soggier months ahead. While much of California still needs at least 50 percent more rain and snow than average this winter to make up for three dry years, climate experts are optimistic that the state won’t fall deeper into drought — and could very well close some of its rainfall deficit by summer. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California’s holiday gift: Forecasts of a wet winter
Obama threatens veto on California drought bill: “After golfing on some of California’s biggest water-guzzling courses, President Obama has issued a veto threat against drought-relief legislation for California. The White House said Friday night that Mr. Obama would likely veto the bill because it makes “operational determinations regarding the use of limited water resources during the ongoing drought” and contains other provisions that could lead to litigation over environmental protection issues. … ” Continue reading at the Washington Times here: Obama threatens veto on California drought bill
Valadao introduces last-minute drought bill: “Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, has introduced a new, scaled-down water bill that could free up more water for drought-impacted farms, cities, factories and wildlife refuges through the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. The bill, introduced Tuesday as HR 5781, is a last-ditch effort to get something done before the end of the year after negotiations with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., collapsed last week amid pressure from environmental groups who said they were cut out of the process. … ” Continue reading from the Hanford Sentinel here: Valadao introduces last-minute drought bill
Feather River derailment raises new concerns: “The Feather River north of Sacramento serves as a life source for California, providing drinking water to millions of residents as far south as Los Angeles and helping irrigate nearly 1 million acres of farmland. To accomplish its task, the river first runs a gantlet – snaking through a steep canyon in the shadows of a busy freight rail line with a history of derailments. The river’s precarious position was highlighted again last month when nearly a dozen cars from a derailed corn train tumbled down the mountain, splitting open and spilling kernels and husks into the river. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Feather River train derailment raises new concerns
Hmong farmers losing battle against the drought: “Groups of California farmers have been struggling to survive the state’s epic drought, and this year one group has started to lose the fight. Fresno County’s Hmong refugee producers are some of the state’s newest and most disadvantaged farmers — and they cannot afford the water necessary to keep their businesses going. Emergency loans are available from the government but, as many are discovering, the help is often too little too late. ... ” Read more from KQED here: Hmong farmers losing battle against drought
Drought, water supply to be topics for Western governors, Colorado River states in Las Vegas: “Facing dwindling water supplies, Western states are struggling to capture every drop with dam and diversion projects that some think could erode regional cooperation crucial to managing the scarce resource. Against that backdrop, eight Western governors meeting in Las Vegas this weekend will address regional water issues, and water managers from seven states arrive next week to work on ways to ensure 40 million people in the parched Colorado River basin don’t go thirsty. … ” Read more from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune here: Drought, water supply to be topics for Western governors, Colorado River states in Las Vegas
In commentary this weekend …
Emergency drought bill deserves to die, says the Sacramento Bee: They write: “House Republicans intend to jam through a California drought-relief bill early next week that would suspend some state water rights and environmental law to maximize water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This is no way to address an issue as important to California as water. It is doomed to fail in the Senate and deserves to die. California’s congressional delegation should be working on a compromise that involves all interested parties, not ramming through a bill during the final days of the lame-duck session. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Emergency drought bill deserves to die
Facts support passage of drought relief legislation: “One of the oldest rules in politics is, when the facts are on your side, you cite the facts; when the facts aren’t on your side, you pound the table. Over the last few days, opponents of The California Emergency Drought Relief Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, have been yelling about water grabs, protesting the timing of the bill’s introduction and doing all they can to divert attention from the facts — both pertaining to this legislation and to the cruel realities of our state’s prolonged drought. So, let’s start with the facts. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: EDITORIAL: Facts support passage of drought relief legislation
Rain can’t extinguish hot talk about water, says Mike Dunbar: He writes: “It used to be that when it rained, concerns about drought began to dry up. But this drought is so severe that those who want part of the state’s limited water supply are still working furiously to get it. The battle was waged on two fronts last week. We thought the federal drought-relief bill was dead last month when Sen. Dianne Feinstein walked away from negotiations as editorial pages – including The Modesto Bee – decried secret negotiations. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Rain can’t extinguish hot talk about water
Jared Blumfield on lessons from the Australian drought: He writes: “Recent winter storms delivered more than 3 inches of precious rain to Sacramento and much of our state. By capturing the rainwater from our rooftops and the torrent running down our urban storm drains, we could lessen the impact of California’s drought. It might sound impractical to accomplish this on the massive scale required, but it’s happening in Australia right now. As with California, no one had a clue when Australia’s millennium drought (1998-2010) would end. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Lessons from the Australian drought
Los Angeles: City of Water: Jacques Leslie writes: “Los Angeles is the nation’s water archvillain, according to public perception, notorious for its usurpation of water hundreds of miles away to slake the thirst of its ever-expanding population. As a character in “Chinatown,” the noirish 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson that churns through the city’s water history, puts it, “Either you bring the water to L.A., or you bring L.A. to the water.” Recently, however, Los Angeles has reduced its reliance on outside sources of water. It has become, of all things, a leader in sustainable water management … ” Continue reading from the New York Times here: Los Angeles: City of Water
In regional news and commentary this weekend …
Facing closure deadline, Drakes Bay oyster farm harvests final crop: “By New Year’s Day, there should be no more oysters in Drakes Estero, a placid estuary in the Point Reyes National Seashore that has been, for the better part of eight years, the setting for a tempest of epic proportions. Ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, food lovers and famous chefs, members of Congress and a bevy of lawyers have been embroiled in the conflict over a family-owned farm that planted millions of tiny oysters in the estero’s cold, clear waters and harvested $1.5 million worth of table-ready bivalves a year, continuing an aquaculture operation dating back to the 1930s. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Facing closure deadline, Drakes Bay oyster farm harvests final crop
Woodland-Davis water intake facility gets $2 million grant: “The Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency has received another grant for its water project. The $2 million grant to help construct the screened water intake facility was approved by the California Wildlife Conservation Board. “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to secure and leverage state and federal funding from multiple agencies,” said WDCWA Chairman and Woodland Mayor Pro Tempore Bill Marble. … ” Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Woodland-Davis water intake facility gets $2 million grant
A historic step towards replenishing groundwater, says the Lodi Sentinel: They write: “Last week we ran a small story about water politics that deserved a big headline. Giant East Bay Municipal Utility District has agreed to work with several local water agencies to build an underground water recharge and storage project in this area. … ” Read more from the Lodi News-Sentinel here: A historic step towards replenishing groundwater
Calaveras Public Utilities District study less costly than expected: “It won’t be as expensive as initially feared to meet a state deadline for doing a study on how to solve a water supply problem for San Andreas and Mokelumne Hill. But whether that study can find a resolution to the legal and logistical problems that triggered a ban on any new water connections in those communities is not clear. ... ” Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here: Calaveras Public Utilities District study less costly than expected
State starts to remove hyacinth in the Delta: “The California State parks Division of Boating and Waterways is finally starting to perform mechanical harvesting of the water hyacinth in the Delta, and they’re beginning with a section of the Stockton Deep Water Channel from Weber Point to Buckley Cove, according to a news release. They are starting about two month after the more proactive Port of Stockton, which had already hired a mechanical harvester. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: State starts to remove hyacinth in the Delta
Chomp! Chomp! Harvester to go after weed menace:“They’ve tried weed killer but the water hyacinth laughs at man’s puny chemical efforts as it turns the once-clear waters of the California Delta into vistas of green leaves and the occasional flower. Now the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways will begin mechanical harvesting of the pervasive plant pest. A contract was finalized this week with Clean Lakes Inc. of Martinez, and harvesting will take place in areas most impacted by the hyacinth. … ” Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here: Chomp! Chomp! Harvester to go after weed menace
Watsonville appeals for aid to meet water quality rule: “Facing a $26 million bill to achieve new state water quality standards, Watsonville officials are seeking help from Sacramento. Friday, they made a plea for financial assistance and more time to comply with the new chromium 6 standard during an annual legislative meeting with their elected state representatives at City Hall. Both state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Assemblymember Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, pledged their support. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Watsonville appeals for aid to meet water quality rule
Rulings handed down in two lawsuits affecting the Paso Robles groundwater basin: “Two separate Superior Courts on Friday handed down rulings both for and against efforts by the county to manage the Paso Robles groundwater basin. In one ruling, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman tentatively denied a request by a group of property owners in the basin to invalidate the county’s two-year emergency ordinance, which forbids new pumping from the basin unless it is offset by an equal amount of conservation. In the other ruling, Santa Clara County Superior Court denied a request by the City of Paso Robles to dismiss a quiet title lawsuit filed by a similar group of basin property owners against the county, Paso Robles and other water providers in the basin. This means the case will continue. ... ” Read more about both cases from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Rulings handed down in two lawsuits affecting Paso Robles groundwater basin
San Luis Obispo County seeks $2 million from Nacimiento pipeline contractor: “San Luis Obispo County will be seeking more than $2 million in reimbursements and possible litigation for work spent addressing why its largest public works project ever has failed. The money is tied to leaks in the $176.1 million Nacimiento Water Project pipeline — the county’s supplementary water delivery system that’s been shut down for more than five months. … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: San Luis Obispo County seeks $2 million from Nacimiento pipeline contractor
Precipitation watch …
Major storm on track for Thursday & Friday: From the National Weather Service: “A major storm is still on track to impact Northern California Thursday and Friday of this upcoming week, and has the potential to be the strongest storm we’ve seen in several years. This graphic summarizes the impacts we may see later this week, along an early look at the rain, wind, and snow forecast with this system. These specific numbers are likely to change in the upcoming days.”
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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.