Daily Digest: State pledges to protect groundwater from oilfield injections, Reservoirs still below average; salmon eggs, SoCal rationing and more …

In California water news today, State pledges changes to protect groundwater from oilfield injections, Storm not as big as expected; lakes rise but still below average, Storm not nearly enough to bust drought, How NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters are helping California’s drought, Northern California getting much more rain than Southern California, Jerry Brown & Interior Secretary announce new drought funding, Chinook salmon eggs didn’t hatch; hatchery fish come to the rescue, Water manager faces discipline for urinating in reservoir, and more …

In the news today …

State pledges changes to protect groundwater from oil-field injections:  “California is proposing broad changes in the way it protects underground water sources from oil and gas operations, after finding 2,500 instances in which the state authorized oil and gas operations in protected water aquifers.  State oil and gas regulators on Monday released a plan they sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week for bringing the state back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water requirements. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  State pledges changes to protect groundwater

Storm not as big as expected; lakes rise but still below average:  “The north state was drying out Monday after a pair of storms that swept in over the weekend, bringing a goodly amount of rain though not as much as expected. North state reservoirs rose, but were still below average for this time of year.  AccuWeather reported rainfall totals over the weekend of 3.04 inches in Chico, 2.11 inches at the Oroville airport, and 5.16 inches in Paradise. The Department of Water Resources reported 3.04 inches fell at Oroville Dam. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Storm not as big as expected; lakes rise but still below average

Storm not nearly enough to bust drought:The pair of wet and windy storms that pounded Northern California over the weekend, bringing as much as 13 inches of rain in some spots and knocking down trees all over, helped push state rainfall totals to just about average for the season.  That’s the good news.  But with the wet weather gone, and sunny skies in the forecast for at least the next week, the drought picture hasn’t brightened much. The big reservoirs that provide the bulk of the state’s drinking water remained much lower than normal on Monday, as did the Sierra snowpack that fills them. … ”  Read more from San Francisco Chronicle here:  Storm not nearly enough to bust drought

How NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters are helping California’s drought:  “The ice alarm sounds shortly after takeoff—an insistent beeping. Pilot Ron Moyers was expecting that. He taps a button to shut it off and peers at the rime caked around our Gulfstream IV’s windshield. If ice like this were building on the wings, they’d lose the ability to generate lift. “This would be very bad,” says Moyers. But the wings have a heating system that should keep them ice-free until the plane clears the clouds, so he’s not worried. ... ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here: How NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters Are Helping California Battle the Drought

Northern California getting much more rain than Southern California:  “Lots of issues divide Southern and Northern California: The Dodgers vs. the Giants. Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. Southern Californians say “the” before naming a freeway; northerners don’t.  Now, after this past weekend’s soaking storms, there’s a new difference emerging: the drought. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Northern California getting much more rain than Southern California

Jerry Brown, Interior Secretary announce new drought funding:Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Friday a $29-million plan to help California’s parched Central Valley cope with the ongoing drought.  The money is intended to upgrade scientific monitoring in the Delta, which helps officials gauge how to supply the water necessary to support crops and keep the environment healthy. There’s also money to restore watersheds that are important natural habitats and improve pumping operations. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Jerry Brown, Interior Secretary announce new drought funding

Chinook salmon eggs didn’t hatch; hatchery fish come to the rescue: The Bay Area’s weekend rainstorms gave a window of opportunity for a species that is really struggling to survive. Now, more than half a million salmon are riding a big wave down the Sacramento River. As the Bay Area clears toppled trees and downed power lines, there’s something else going on a little farther inland. A hatchery is going to release 200,000 individual fish. It will be the first load of 600,000 individual 4″ winter-run Chinook salmon that will be released in total. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Chinook salmon eggs didn’t hatch; hatchery fish come to the rescue

Water manager faces discipline for urinating in reservoir:  “A water manager is facing discipline after he was caught urinating in an empty reservoir that supplies drinking water for the San Francisco Bay Area.  San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue said Monday that the agency confirmed anonymous complaints that maintenance planner Martin Sanchez had urinated in the 674-million-gallon reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills early last month. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Water manager faces discipline for urinating in reservoir

California State Water Board Launches Investigation Into Claims of Senior Water Rights:On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) issued an order seeking information to substantiate water rights claimed by certain riparian and pre-1914 appropriative water rights holders. Exercising the authority granted to it under July 2014 emergency regulations, the Board issued Order WR 2015-0002-DWR (“Order”) directing 445 riparian and pre-1914 water rights holders with claimed rights to the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watershed to provide additional information on their claimed rights. ... ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  California State Water Board Launches Investigation Into Claims of Senior Water Rights

In commentary today …

Warm rains dictate new reservoirs, says Dan Walters:  “California’s winter storms come in two varieties – cold ones from the Gulf of Alaska and warm ones that pick up moisture from more tropical portions of the Pacific Ocean.  The cold ones dump lots of snow, while the warm ones bring rain, sometimes torrential rain. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Warm rains dictate new reservoirs

In regional news and commentary today …

Monterey County water committee prepare to pitch state regulators:  “Five county officials who have been quietly meeting about water issues will deliver a proposed action plan to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. They’re also preparing to pitch state regulators later this month.  County supervisors Simon Salinas and Dave Potter, along with Monterey County Water Management Agency board members Claude Hoover, Richard Ortiz and David Hart, have been meeting as an ad-hoc committee on water since January. … ”  Read more from Monterey County Weekly here:  County water committee preapres to pitch state regulators

Salinas Valley groundwater management plan seeks state funding:State water bond funding may not be the carrot that will get Salinas Valley private well owners to agree to release their data, but the state’s new attention devoted to groundwater management could be the stick that works.  Charged with asking private well owners to offer their groundwater extraction and levels data to help monitor the overdrafted Salinas Valley basin, Monterey County officials have argued there are millions of dollars in state funding available for water projects in areas that supply enough data to comply with the state Department of Water Resources’ California State Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) program. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Salinas Valley groundwater management plan seeks state funding

Modesto Irrigation District drought strategy pondered:That rain we just had? Don’t let it fool you.  Farms still are facing severe drought because the mountain snowpack on which they rely to feed thirsty crops in the summer is relatively small, for a fourth straight year. The weekend’s storm dropped 0.90 inches of rain on Modesto, bringing the seasonal total to 10.55 inches. But that’s well short of the average of 12.15 inches, though there are five months left in the season.  Modesto Irrigation District leaders Tuesday morning could revive last year’s drought-combating measures, which enjoyed only marginal success, for the coming season. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  MID drought strategy pondered

12 statistics for the Fresno water debate:The Fresno City Council’s big vote on water rates is slated for Feb. 26. The fate of Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s proposed $429 million upgrade to the city’s water system is in the hands of Thomas Esqueda.  Debate over the past two years has been full of statistics. New statistics will determine whether the council approves or rejects Swearengin’s project.  Esqueda as public utilities director has access to all the numbers. Here are a dozen statistics he needs to acquire and use if his boss is to avoid failure. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  12 statistics for the Fresno water debate

Metropolitan Water District outlines drought scenarios that could result in rationing this summer:  “In preparation for a fourth year of drought, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California today outlined scenarios for its board that may require the district to make wholesale cutbacks by July 1. MWD’s Board of Directors will consider its options in April, but if a supply allocation is adopted MWD says it could result in water rationing throughout Southern California this summer. The last time MWD allocated water supplies was in 2009-11. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Metropolitan Water District outlines drought scenarios that could result in rationing this summer

Southern California may face water cuts:  “Southern Californians may face water cutbacks this summer, the Metropolitan Water District warned Monday after outlining options for rationing amid the state’s fourth straight year of drought.  Water restrictions could trim the amount available to consumers by 5 percent to 10 percent, or perhaps more, according to the agency that serves as the wholesale water supplier to the region. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  Southern California may face water cuts

Precipitation watch …

  • Some isolated showers today; warm and dry weather returns. 🙁

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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