Daily Digest: Westlands leader says deal was no secret, legislators told California faces an “investment gap” in flood protection, tap water’s legacy is toxic for Latinos, Proposed water quality rules may limit ag activities, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Westlands leader says deal was no secret, legislators told California faces an “investment gap” in flood protection, tap water’s legacy is toxic for Latinos, Proposed water quality rules may limit ag activities, Congress gets another water bill to mull, NOAA says drought likely to linger through summer, January is too dry: Lack of rain raises fears of fourth year of drought, California still needs a ridiculous amount of rain to end its drought, Drought isn’t farmer’s only worry; it hasn’t been cold enough, either, Experts predict growing uncertainty for water supplies, and more …

In the news today …

 

Westlands leader says deal was no secret: Mark Grossi writes: “When I saw the headline “Westlands reaches secret deal” Monday in The Bee, I knew it was about the toxic irrigation drainage that caused a wildlife disaster in western Merced County more than three decades ago.  The “secret deal” story is talking about negotiations between Westlands and the federal government to settle three lawsuits over cleaning up land tainted by the brackish water trapped just below the surface of some west-side land. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee’s Earth Log here:  Westlands leader says deal was no secret

California faces an “investment gap” in flood protection, legislators told: “California needs to significantly increase its annual spending on flood protection infrastructure to help close an “investment gap” that places the state’s flood preparedness at risk, legislators were told during an informational hearing today.  Lawmakers were briefed on the state’s flood protection needs during a hearing on flood preparedness at the state Capitol that was hosted by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  California faces an “investment gap” in flood protection, legislators told

In California’s Poorest Towns, Tap Water’s Legacy Is Toxic for Latinos:Latino Americans suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity—especially children, who are 51 percent more likely to be obese than their white counterparts. Unhealthy advertising from food companies, a lack of access to safe and adequate recreational areas, and poor snack and beverage options at schools have all been cited as major contributors to this early-life epidemic. … ”  Read more from City Lab here: In California’s Poorest Towns, Tap Water’s Legacy Is Toxic for Latinos

Proposed water quality rules may limit ag activities:  “A new effort to regulate grazing and its potential impacts on water quality has California ranchers concerned new rules could limit their food production activities and yield little environmental benefits.  State water regulators launched a series of public listening sessions around the state during January to solicit public comments before developing a new “Grazing Regulatory Action Project.” The last session will take place Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon in Bishop. Advance reservation is required. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Proposed water quality rules may limit ag activities

Congress gets another water bill to mull: If they didn’t quite get it the first time, now members of Congress are getting another chance to consider ways for the federal government to regulate water in California.  It’s a repeat of legislation sponsored by Democrats that failed when Republicans controlled only the House of Representatives. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Congress gets another water bill to mull

NOAA says drought likely to linger through summer:  “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the drought that started in 2011 in California will linger into summer.  NOAA reports that after nearly four years of drought, the California water deficit can only be made up by “epic amounts of rain and snow” and that isn’t likely to happen.  In an article on NOAA’s Climate.gov website, “It poured in California in December. Can we stop talking about the drought,” the agency used graphics to explain how much rain and snow is needed to end the dry times in the Golden State.  ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  NOAA says drought likely to linger through summer

January is too dry: Lack of rain raises fears of fourth year of drought:  “The next six weeks will determine the severity of California’s fourth year of drought.  After an unusually wet December, the heavens have gone dry so far in January.  “The next six weeks are critical,” noted South San Joaquin Irrigation District General Manager Jeff Shields. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  January is too dry: Lack of rain raises fears of fourth year of drought

California still needs a ridiculous amount of rain to end its drought: “Over the last three years, California has been in the grips of the worst drought in at least 1,200 years. Reservoirs are shriveling. Crops are wilting in the fields. Cattle herds are thinning out.  Then, in December, the rain came: A weather phenomenon known as the “Pineapple Express” brought moisture all the way from Hawaii and dumped massive amounts of precipitation on the state. The San Francisco Bay Area got nearly 9 inches, and there were floods and landslides throughout northern California. ... ”  Read more from Vox here: California still needs a ridiculous amount of rain to end its drought

Drought isn’t farmer’s only worry; it hasn’t been cold enough, either:  “While California’s drought is causing concern for farmers for another year, the biggest concern for one farmer has been how cold it hasn’t been.  Farming for six generations, the Waltz family knows their crop lives and dies by what the weather does. … ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Drought isn’t farmer’s only worry; it hasn’t been cold enough, either

Experts predict growing uncertainty for water supplies:  “A combination of population growth, increasing environmental demands and climate change poses long-term questions for water availability, particularly in the western U.S. Speakers at a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show said that creativity and leadership will be needed to resolve those questions.  Robert Johnson, executive vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Water Resources Association, said current climate models suggest reduced water supplies in the West due to long-term droughts. ... ”  Read more from Ag Professional here:  Experts predict growing uncertainty for water supplies

Upper Colorado snowpack near normal:  Good news elsewhere in the west:  “After a dry start to the season, recent storms have brought Colorado’s snowpack up to near normal for this time of year – moderately good news for both skiers and water managers. However, the benefits of these storms have not been evenly distributed across the state.  As of Jan. 12, the Colorado, South Platte and Arkansas river basins all had above-normal amounts of water in the snow piling up in the mountains along the I-70 corridor and the central part of the state. According to snowpack.water-data.com, the Upper Colorado Basin was was about 97 percent of normal as of Tuesday. … ”  Read more from Sky-Hi news here:  Upper Colorado snowpack near normal

In commentary today …

Little fish could be Delta’s savior, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write: “It took all of, oh, a couple of minutes for big water districts in the San Joaquin Valley to criticize the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday for choosing fish over people. If only the question were that easy.  Farmers and cities in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California like to dumb down the argument to just that — the delta smelt vs. the thirsty masses.  But it’s not just about the 3-inch fish. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Editorial: Little fish could be delta’s savior

Congressman Garamendi: A watershed moment:  “With the beginning of the 114th Congress, we have a chance to figure out the best way forward on California water policy. The year ahead offers a fork in the legislative river. One fork is a repeat of the last several years: divisive plans that pit one part of the state against another. These are troubled waters, with controversial environmental policies, massive tunnels, huge costs, policy mandates and endless lawsuits tumbling over a cliff, benefiting no one and harming progress.  However, I am hopeful that we can choose the better fork in the policy river, charting a new course for federal policy by building on the success of Proposition 1 which united northern and southern California.  ... ”  Read more from The Hill here:  A watershed moment

California needs better data to build trust with voters, says Lois Kazakoff:  She writes:  “California has put a lot of energy into cutting spending but too little into measuring how effectively the government is spending. It has programs for collecting data but few metrics to determine if the numbers tell us what we need to know. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, asked Californians in a Monday op-ed piece to tell him what they expect from state government and how legislators can provide oversight to ensure we’re getting what we expect.  Here’s the top of my list: More transparency and better data collection. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California needs better data to build trust with voters

In regional news and commentary today …

EBMUD puts rate increase and emergency supply on hold until at least April: The East Bay’s largest water district will wait until April before deciding whether to take an emergency water supply that would trigger a rate increase.  The East Bay Municipal Utility District reported Tuesday that it has enough rain and snowfall this season to cancel plans for pumping in 16,000 acre feet of Sacramento River water by a Feb. 28 federal deadline. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  EBMUD puts rate increase and emergency supply on hold until at least April

Pajaro Valley farmer taps water saving sprinklers:  “A light drizzle fell from the sprinklers placed in Javier Zamora’s strawberry field Friday morning. … Last year, as drought gripped California, Zamora’s bills for water and the electricity that runs the pump at his well skyrocketed. But this year, he invested in a new irrigation system that’s dramatically cutting his costs and water consumption. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Pajaro Valley farmer taps water saving sprinklers

Turlock Irrigation District approves large water rate hike: A vote Tuesday more than doubled water rates for farmers in the Turlock Irrigation District.  The district board’s 5-0 decision, which came over objections from a few customers, still leaves TID among the lowest-cost suppliers in California. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  TID approves large water rate hike

Stanislaus approves deal to supply water to Monterey Park tract: “Stanislaus County leaders approved a water service agreement with Ceres on Tuesday, clearing the way for the city to supply water to residents of Monterey Park tract.  Signatures from Ceres and the state are needed before the Monterey Park Tract Community Services District can hire a contractor to build a water line from Ceres to the isolated subdivision with 200 residents, six miles south of Modesto. Armed with grant funding, the district plans to bid the project and construct the improvements in the summer. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Stanislaus approves deal to supply water to Monterey Park tract

Modesto Irrigation District rate structure in flux:A radical change in how farmers’ irrigation prices are structured was put in motion Tuesday by Modesto Irrigation District leaders, who will make a final decision in a few weeks.  Whether the change would lessen massive agricultural subsidies borne by customers of MID’s other core service – electricity – is in doubt, because the money to be paid by farmers would not change from the amount collected in 2014. But the board agreed to wrestle with questions of fairness in workshops scheduled for Jan. 27 and Feb. 10. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  MID rate structure in flux

Santa Barbara water rates going up: The cost of the drought will soon show up on water bills in Santa Barbara.  Rate increases proposed to be on bills starting in July will soon be in place.  The Santa Barbara City Council supported the increases based on use to be enough to fund the proposed ocean water desalination plant and an on going program to replace aging city water mains. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Santa Barbara water rates going up

Malibu approves sewage treatment plant:  “Taking a long-anticipated step to reduce coastal pollution, the Malibu City Council has voted to approve construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the Civic Center area.  The project’s roughly $40-million first phase, which is expected to be operating by June 2017, would provide sewage treatment for nearly 50 property owners, including the city itself. Others include the Los Angeles County public library and fire station, the Malibu Colony Plaza shopping center and the Malibu Country Mart. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Malibu approves sewage treatment plant

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Click here to read more editions of the Daily Digest.

Daily emailsGet the Notebook blog by email and never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!

—————————————-
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

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: