Daily Digest: Protests planned at State Water Board today – watch the action on webcast, plus Officials eye new restrictions as valley farms face second year with no river water, Weather Service predicts wet March, paying for water projects, and more news and commentary …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Push comes to shove in Delta water emergency, Avenal, county leaders protest pumping restrictions, California officials eye new restrictions in drought, Valley farms face second year with no river water, Weather service predicts wet March, Greens claim pesticides are hurting fish, Testimony lists public benefits of water storage, Bill aims to add more protections for groundwater from oil and gas drilling, Farmers bring key issues to Congress, Is climate change driving the brutal winter? and more …

On the calendar today …

 

  • All eyes on the State Water Board today: Public workshop on Temporary Urgency Change Petitions submitted for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project:  Today, beginning at 9am, the State Water Resources Control Board will hold a workshop to receive public input on the TUCP, the Executive Director’s order, and a Drought Contingency Plan that DWR and Reclamation have prepared.  Busloads of folks coming from the Central Valley and the Delta are expected. This will be an informational workshop only. Click here for the agenda.  Click here for the webcast.
  • The California Water Commission will meet today beginning at 9:30 am.  On the agenda this month, a briefing on a report on integrating storage into the state’s water system, a review of the draft ecosystem priorities for water storage projects submitted by DFW and a draft of the water quality priorities as submitted by SWRCB, and consideration of a revised SWP encroachment permit.  Click here for the agenda and webcast link.
  • The Delta Conservancy Policy and Program Subcommittee will meet today from 3-5 p.m. in the Conservancy offices at 1450 Halyard Drive, Suite 6. Items for discussion include the revised draft Proposition 1 Grant Guidelines and Application Packet, website translation, and program updates. Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Push comes to shove in Delta water emergency: Conservation and sport-fishing groups filed protests Tuesday against the California State Water Resources Control Board, demanding it forgo a proposal to increase the amount of water pumped from the drought-stricken Delta.  A Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) filed by the Department of Water Resources and The United States Bureau of Reclamation on Jan. 23 asks the state water board to modify water flow restrictions for 180 days due to California’s historic drought.  The environmental group Restore the Delta and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance announced the protests Tuesday on the eve of the water board’s public hearing, where it will discuss the TUCP that could increase the amount of water pumped out of the Delta for sale to users south. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News here:  Push comes to shove in Delta water emergency

Avenal, county leaders protest pumping restrictions:  “A protest bus went to Sacramento this morning from Harris Ranch just west of the Kings County line, and it wasn’t full of liberal activists.  It was organized by the ag-funded California Latino Water Coalition, and it was expected to include three Avenal City Council members, a Kings County supervisor and others with a direct stake in how much the federal Central Valley Project sucks out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta to supply water to Avenal, Huron, Coalinga and Westside farms — including the greenbelt around Naval Air Station Lemoore. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Avenal, county leaders protest pumping restriction

California officials eye new restrictions in drought:  “As the California drought drags on, water officials are considering expanding mandatory outdoor water restrictions on homeowners and adding new limits on restaurants, hotels and decorative fountains.  At an informational meeting Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board also appeared ready to extend existing rules imposed last summer to boost water supplies.  That would mean Californians still won’t be able to wash cars with hoses that don’t shut off and must limit watering their lawns. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  California officials eye new restrictions in drought

Valley farms face second year with no river water:  “The next train wreck in California’s drought is headed for the San Joaquin Valley this week when federal leaders forecast how much river water farmers can expect to irrigate nearly 3 million acres this summer.  Most folks in farm country are expecting the same number as last year — zero for both east and west sides of the Valley. Consecutive years of no river water would be another unprecedented body punch from a drought dating back to the winter of 2011-12. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Farms face second year with no river water

Weather service predicts wet March:After a fierce mid-February storm system kept most areas near or above their normal seasonal rainfall totals, Northern California could be in for a wet March.  A weak system coming down from Canada this weekend could provide some mountain rain while helping to break down the high-pressure ridge over the region, setting up a possible barrage of storms from the Pacific, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Kurth said. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Weather Service predicts wet March

Greens claim pesticides are hurting fish:The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing pesticides to threaten the imperiled Delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake, the Center for Biological Diversity claims in court.  The environmental group claims Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to complete interagency consultation on the effects of three pesticides on the two endangered species in the California Bay Delta. The pesticides named are atrazine, alachlor and 2,4-D. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News here: Greens claim pesticides are hurting fish

Stanford examines how best to fund water projects in times of financial uncertainty:A new analysis produced by Stanford’s Water in the West Program provides a blueprint for overhauling the way California funds water infrastructure and innovation projects.  The paper offers straightforward prescriptions, including a relatively small per-usage fee on customer utility bills. The fee, known as a public goods charge (PGC), could be a powerful tool for funding water needs despite obstacles such as the state’s restrictive fiscal regulations and a lack of dedicated funding for “orphan” water projects such as household efficiency initiatives and new technology investments. … ”  Read more from Stanford University here:  Stanford examines how best to fund water projects in times of financial uncertainty

Testimony lists public benefits of water storage:  “With no end in sight to the multiyear drought affecting California, state officials have begun the steps to develop water infrastructure projects that could be funded by Proposition 1, the $7.1 billion water bond approved by voters last November. At a legislative hearing last week, leaders of state water and natural-resource agencies, and representatives of agricultural, water and environmental organizations, discussed the status of that work.  Proposition 1 represents an investment in improving the state’s water quality, supply and infrastructure, and specified that $2.7 billion be spent on the public benefits related to improved water supply and reliability. ... ”  Read more from the California Farm Bureau Federation here:  Testimony lists public benefits of water storage

Bill aims to add more protections for groundwater from oil and gas drilling:  “A new bill up for consideration in Sacramento is aimed at protecting groundwater from oil and gas drilling operations.  Central Coast Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) introduced AB-356 on Tuesday. It would require monitoring near Class II injection wells. … ”  Read more from KCBX here:  Bill aims to add more protections for groundwater from oil and gas drilling

Farmers bring key issues to Congress:With a new, Republican-led Congress now in place, California Farm Bureau Federation directors visited Washington, D.C., last week to encourage action on key issues affecting the state’s farmers and ranchers.  In meetings with House leaders, members of the state’s congressional delegation and administration officials, the Farm Bureau representatives stressed goals including reform of immigration and tax policy. They called for actions to address the immediate impact of the California drought and the long-term need for water security. They described how a labor dispute at West Coast ports has affected rural economies, and encouraged ongoing efforts to reduce regulatory barriers to agricultural trade. … ”  Read more from the California Farm Bureau Federation here:  Farmers bring key issues to Congress

Is climate change driving the brutal winter?  “Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that’s  taken to meandering all over North America.  Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth’s middle latitudes.   A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country. … ”  Read more from Rutgers University here:  Climate change driving brutal winter?

In commentary today …

After ‘progress’ fails fish, science steps up, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:Humankind didn’t do fish and wildlife any favors when it went on a dam-building spree a half-century ago. Now science it trying to help with a small bit of payback.  The impacts the massive structures would have on fish and critters were barely considered in the name of progress as society sought modern solutions to the problems of supplying water and electricity for a growing population.  It only took a few years to figure out the stunning negative impact dams would have on rivers that contained spawning anadromous fish, however. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  After ‘progress’ fails fish, science steps up

In regional news and commentary today …

Assemblyman Frazier announces schedule for aquatic weed abatement in the Delta:  “Waterways in Contra Costa County will be among the first to be treated for aquatic weeds this year, said Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, commenting on the California Division of Boating and Waterways treatment schedule released Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.  Rock Slough, Indian Slough, Coney Island and the San Joaquin River will be among the first locations where herbicides will be used to treat Water Hyacinth and Spongeplant, beginning March 4. … ”  Read more from the Antioch Herald here:  Assemblyman Frazier announces schedule for aquatic weed abatement in the Delta

San Luis Obispo County to create water resources division:  “With California entering its fourth year of drought and San Luis Obispo County taking on several major water management projects, the county Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a new water resources division Tuesday.  The proposal entails reorganizing the county Public Works Department to create the new water resources division. The county will hire a manager for the division, which is expected to have about 10 full-time employees. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  San Luis Obispo County to create water resources division

Southern California: Water districts issue no fines through first six months of restrictions:  “Water districts threatened harsh penalties last August when mandatory water restrictions were issued by the state, but have they been following up on those threats?  It might surprise you to learn that so far, no fines have been handed out by any of the four water districts serving the Coachella Valley.  Even bigger water districts in San Diego and Los Angeles have yet to issue fines. The districts say customers have all complied so far when given notices about fixing water waste on their property. … ”  Read more from KESQ here:  Water districts issue no fines through first six months of restrictions

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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