Daily Digest: storms and muddy Delta water lead to voluntary cutback as more rain heads to drought-stricken west, Agencies release Drought Strategy draft, Desalination out of desperation, storm of the century for Healdsburg and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, storms and muddy Delta water lead to voluntary cutback as more rain heads to drought-stricken west, Heavy rains with warmer temperatures not diminishing California’s drought worries, Federal and state agencies ‘prepare for the worst’, release 2015 Interagency Drought Strategy draft, Desalination out of desperation: Severe droughts are forcing researchers to rethink how technology can increase the supply of fresh water, Storm of the century for Healdsburg,and more  …… 

In the news today …

  • Storms and muddy Delta water lead to voluntary cutback:  “The recent storms that have hit northern and Central California have much brought needed rain and snow to the state. But they also created a new problem for the operators of the massive pumps in the Delta that supply users in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – too much water.  … ”  Continue reading at Valley Public Radio here:  Storms and muddy water lead to voluntary cutback
  • More rain heads to drought-stricken west:  “The parade of storms will continue for the West Coast through this week, bringing even more drought relief to California.  Several storms are lined up to deliver rain to the region through the middle of December before the weather pattern changes and storms begin to take a more northerly path towards Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  More rain heads to drought-stricken west
  • Heavy rains with warmer temperatures not diminishing California’s drought worries: This week has gotten off to a rainy start with some areas receiving more than an inch—a nice addition to last week’s heavy rain. Despite that, it may not be delivering exactly what California needs to get out of this drought.  Reservoirs and ground water are being replenished by our recent rain. But for the Bay Area, the snow pack in the Sierra is vital.  “That snow lasts through the spring and sometimes, if we get enough, even into the summer and that helps provide the runoff that we need, the storage capacity that we need, to get us through the long, hot dry summer months,” Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute in Oakland told KCBS. ... ”  Read more from KCBS and listen to the full interview here:  Heavy rains with warmer temperatures not diminishing California’s drought worries
  • It’s raining, so how do those reservoir levels look?  “It’s raining again, and if you believe weather forecasters and the computer models on which they rely, we’re in for wet weather for most of this week.  That comes on top of an outlandish volume of water that fell across the state last week, variously computed as between 17 million and 100 million gallons per square mile to 10 trillion gallons statewide.  That’s great news in our parched state, for sure. By now you know, though, that there always has to be a “but,” or in this case, several. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  It’s raining, so how do those reservoir levels look?
  • Federal and state agencies ‘prepare for the worst’, release 2015 Interagency Drought Strategy draft:  “The five federal and state agencies primarily involved in the operation and regulation of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project have jointly released a draft Interagency 2015 Drought Strategy. The draft outlines anticipated drought response actions that have been planned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, the California Department of Water Resources, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife should the drought stretch into its fourth year. ... ”  Read more from ACWA here:  Federal and state agencies ‘prepare for the worst’, release 2015 Interagency Drought Strategy draft
  • Desalination out of desperation: Severe droughts are forcing researchers to rethink how technology can increase the supply of fresh water: Even in drought-stricken California, San Diego stands out. It gets less rain than parched Los Angeles or Fresno. The region has less groundwater than many other parts of the state. And more than 80 percent of water for homes and businesses is imported from sources that are increasingly stressed. The Colorado River is so overtaxed that it rarely reaches the sea; water originating in the Sacramento River delta, more than 400 miles north, was rationed by state officials this year, cutting off some farmers in California’s Central Valley from their main source of irrigation. San Diego County, hot, dry, and increasingly populous, offers a preview of where much of the world is headed. So too does a recent decision by the county government: it is building the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, at a cost of $1 billion. ... ”  Read more from the MIT Technology Review here:  Desalination out of desperation: Severe droughts are forcing researchers to rethink how technology can increase the supply of fresh water

In regional news and commentary today …

  • Northern California looks to beat past Decembers:  “There’s no way of predicting if Mother Nature will continue to shower the Bay Area when we turn the calendar to 2015, but this month is shaping up to be one of the wettest Decembers in decades — at least in some parts of the region.  On Monday as of 5 p.m., San Jose received 0.59 inches of rain, making it the city’s rainiest December in almost 60 years. And even more rain is forecast through Friday. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Northern California looks to beat past Decembers
  • Storm of the century for Healdsburg: Healdsburg has seen periodic flooding in the past, but the deluge that hit downtown last week and overwhelmed Foss Creek occurs less frequently than once in 100 years, city officials said Monday.  “I can’t ever remember this much water in this amount of time,” said Councilman Gary Plass, a 58-year resident of Healdsburg. “It’s something really unprecedented for our community.” … ”  Read more from the Press Democrat here:  Storm of the century for Healdsburg
  • After all the rain, Marin reservoirs way above normal:  “The recent deluge hasn’t put an end to the drought.  California is still way below average. Statewide reservoirs are about 60 percent of where they should be at this time of year, but in one part of the Bay Area, the numbers are way above normal.  The Marin Municipal Water District won’t say the drought is over, but judging by the water running over the spillways on more than half of the county’s reservoirs, there is certainly no sign of it. ... ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  After all the rain, Marin reservoirs way above normal
  • Delta: As hyacinth clears out, focus turns to next year:Recent storms have mostly cleared Stockton waterways that were hijacked by hyacinth the past two months, but officials at a standing-room-only town hall meeting Monday said it’s important to stay focused on the future.  “Don’t forget about it just because the water hyacinth goes away,” said Jeff Wingfield, environmental manager at the Port of Stockton. “That’s what we tend to do every year. Our memories don’t last that long — as soon as it’s gone we don’t notice it again until the entire Delta is full.” … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Delta: As hyacinth clears out, focus turns to next year
  • Monterey County: Officials keeping an eye on the Carmel River:  “This week’s storm deposited a hefty helping of water onto the county’s parched plate. The question now is what to do with it.  Rain and runoff are swelling local rivers, including the lagoon at the mouth of the Carmel River. Monterey County officials are preparing to breach the lagoon, if necessary, to protect nearby homes. Their plans are part of ongoing efforts to balance residential and environmental concerns along the lagoon and manage the watershed in a more sustainable manner. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here: Officials keeping eyes on Carmel River
  • Santa Cruz: Biologists restore parched ponds to aid endangered, threatened amphibians:To parched amphibians, the recent rain is a welcomed relief from the drought.  Lack of water combined with development and pollution are driving amphibians into extinction. California has lost 90 percent of its wetlands, a home to the slick critters. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Biologists restore parched ponds to aid endangered, threatened amphibians:
  • Video details Stanislaus River restoration effort: Fishbio, an Oakdale firm that does fisheries research and conservation projects, has created an 11-minute video detailing recent efforts to help salmon and steelhead trout on the Stanislaus River.  “Replenishing a River: Stanislaus River Honolulu Bar Restoration” documents how biologists, engineers, technicians and volunteers spent about two years creating fish habitat along the river between Oakdale and Knights Ferry.  The Honolulu Bar project focused on a 21/2-acre site that was part of a larger gravel dredge bar in the river near Orange Blossom Road. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Video details Stanislaus River restoration effort
  • Merced supervisors to discuss emergency groundwater moratorium: ““Moratorium” is a word no one wants to hear amid the third year of a crippling drought, but it’s going to come up Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors considers temporarily stopping groundwater exports and the construction of new wells.  The idea of a groundwater moratorium was introduced by District 4 Supervisor Deidre Kelsey last week after the supervisors voted unanimously to put off the adoption of a groundwater ordinance. The ordinance would use a permitting process to oversee groundwater transfers and exports – water being pumped from Merced County and moved outside county boundaries – in addition to new well construction. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Merced supervisors to discuss emergency groundwater moratorium
  • Earthquake could imperil Los Angeles’ water:  “Los Angeles gets 88% of its water from three major aqueducts, flowing from the Colorado River, Owens Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  But as they make their way into the region, the aqueducts cross the San Andreas fault a total of 32 times.  Officials have long warned that a massive temblor on the San Andreas could destroy key sections of the aqueducts, cutting off the water supply for more than 22 million people in Southern California. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Earthquake could imperil L.A.’s water
  • Pasadena: Devil’s Gate Dam project challenged by area environmentalists:  “Two local environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the Board of Supervisors’ recent approval of the controversial Devil’s Gate Reservoir Sediment Removal Project.  The lawsuit, filed by lawyers representing the Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Pasadena Audubon Society, alleges the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act and the city of Pasadena’s General Plan and Land Use ordinances in approving the project that will remove 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment accumulated behind the Devil’s Gate Dam due to the 2009 Station Fire. ... ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star-News here:  Devil’s Gate Dam project challenged by area environmentalists
  • Inland Empire: Lake levels rising: December storms have given a much-needed boost to some Inland lakes, but it will take much more rain to bring reservoirs back to pre-drought levels, water suppliers said.  As of Monday, Canyon Lake was full. With the inch to 1½ inches of rain predicted for today and Wednesday, the lake is expected to spill over, said Greg Morrison, director of legislative and community affairs for the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, which owns the lake. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Inland lake levels rising

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Snow lingers:  From the National Weather Service:  “Lingering showers will bring additional snowfall to the northern Sierra this morning with chain requirements and travel delays likely across Interstate 80 and Highway 50.”

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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