Daily Digest, early edition: Water rights’ cost draw scrutiny, Second drought nightmare to become official after fed water forecast, Series of western storms to deliver fraction of much needed rain, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Water rights’ cost draw scrutiny, Second drought nightmare to become official after fed water forecast, Series of western storms to deliver fraction of much needed rain, Lawmakers will examine ways to capture stormwater. 600,000 baby salmon head to the Pacific with a little help, Climate change will hit America in the breadbasket, scientists say, Water Commission Launches Survey on Potential Storage Projects Eligible for Prop. 1 Bond Funds, and more …

It’s an early edition today as I’m headed out the door to the NWRI Drought Conference, so anything I missed will be included tomorrow.  If you’re attending the conference, I’ll see you there!  And for those of you who aren’t, look for coverage in the upcoming weeks  …

On the calendar today …

At the state capitol …

  • Oversight hearing: Strategies and Innovations in Financing Local Stormwater and Dry Weather Runoff Improvements: The Senate Natural Resources and Water and Senate Governance and Finance will hold a joint oversight hearing titled Strategies and Innovations in Financing Local Stormwater and Dry Weather Runoff Improvements on February 25th beginning at 2:00pm.  Click here for more informationGo here for webcast.

It’s webinar Wednesday!

  • Webinar: “Community Outreach and Consumer Technology for Municipal Water Use” On February 25, this free webinar will highlight how utilities, technology developers, NGOs, and citizens are teaming up to reduce municipal consumption of water. Panel moderator will be Dave McGimpsey, Host of the Water Values Podcast and Special Counsel, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP. Panelists will be Robb Barnit, Founder & CEO, Dropcountr; Jeff Tejral, Manager of Water Conservation at Denver Water. Click here for more information.
  • Webinar: Impacts of Climate Change on Waterbirds of the Central Valley:  On February 25th from 11am to 12pm, speakers Dr. Joe Fleskes and Elliott Matchett, USGS Western Ecological Research Center, will discuss their CA LCC supported project that is investigating the projected impacts of climate, urbanization, and water supply management on the habitats and ecology of waterbirds in California’s Central Valley.  Click here for more information.
  • Webinar: Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Part 3:  On Wednesday, February 25, at 12pm, join the Groundwater Resources Association for a webinar highlighting successful groundwater management examples.  Click here for more information.  

In the news today …

Water rights’ cost draw scrutiny:  “A provision in California’s landmark 2014 Water Bond Act, Proposition 1, could lead California into overspending on water — and that has sparked concern  from the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser.  The voter-approved, $7.54 billion bond provides, among other things, watershed protection and restoration. The bond offers “$1.5 billion for various projects intended to protect and restore watersheds and habitat throughout the state.” Of that $1.5 billion, $200 million is put aside to enhance stream flows, of which $39 million is proposed to be spent in the governor’s budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Water rights’ cost draw scrutiny

Second drought nightmare to become official after fed water forecast:  “We’re late in another desperately dry winter, waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s February forecast of irrigation deliveries for this summer in the San Joaquin Valley.  Federal officials were expected to say something last week, but they’re taking a few extra days to consider. You can understand why. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Second drought nightmare to become official after fed water forecast

Series of western storms to deliver fraction of much needed rain:  “Storms will continue to affect the West through this weekend and into next week with rounds of precipitation for some needy areas as well as delays for travelers.  The pattern change that began last weekend will allow progressively colder conditions over the West and moderating temperatures in the eastern half of the nation next week. ... ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Series of western storms to deliver fraction of much needed rain

Lawmakers will examine ways to capture stormwater:  “Recycling stormwater runoff could help provide more water during the drought.   Democratic Senator Bob Hertzberg says he believes such projects are more affordable than importing water from state and federal water projects.  “We spend so much money and have such environmental impact by moving water around the state, when right in front of our noses there’s a lot of opportunity to capture it,” says Hertzberg. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Lawmakers will examine ways to capture stormwater

600,000 baby salmon head to the Pacific with a little help:  “Thigh-deep inside a holding tank, wearing his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform and waders, Beau Hopkins had to bend over to scoop each netful of squiggling baby salmon. One tank held 40,000 babies. By midafternoon Hopkins had been at it for two and a half hours: three tanks emptied, one more to go.  In the background rose the slope of Shasta Dam, the massive concrete construction that restrains the Sacramento River on its course to the Pacific Ocean. But the hurried campaign for which Hopkins had been pressed into service was remarkably rudimentary: a sort of bucket brigade of men and women passing salmon-heavy scooping nets, one by one, up to the trucks that would give the baby salmon—about 600,000 before the job was done—a lifesaving ride into town. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  600,000 baby salmon head to the Pacific with a little help

Climate change will hit America in the breadbasket, scientists say: Climate experts have seen the future of America’s breadbasket — and from their perspective, it doesn’t look pretty.  “I don’t want to be a wheat farmer in Kansas in the future,” said Harold Brooks, a senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma.  Brooks isn’t a wheat farmer. He’s a researcher who has analyzed how climate change could affect the weather in America’s midsection, based on historical data and computer modeling. Last year, he and his colleagues found that tornado patterns are becoming more variable — with severe storms coming in bunches or not at all. … ”  Read more from NBC News here:  Climate change will hit America in the breadbasket, scientists say

Water Commission Launches Survey on Potential Storage Projects Eligible for Prop. 1 Bond Funds: “As the California Water Commission gears up to develop a process to allocate Proposition 1 bond funds for storage projects, it has launched an initial scoping survey to collect information about potential water storage projects from project proponents that may request bond funding. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Water Commission launches survey on potential storage eligible for Prop 1 bond funds

In commentary today …

Delta’s health should take priority over pumping, says the San Jose Mercury News: They write, “California needs to get serious about protecting the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable water sources. The short-term needs of Central Valley farmers are significant. But they pale in comparison with preserving the long-term water quality of the estuary that provides water for two-thirds of the state’s residents.  California took a significant risk when it waived some environmental protections last year for the Delta in order to pump additional water south to save acres of almond orchards. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Delta’s health should take priority over pumping

A thirsty, violent world: Michael Specter writes: “Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and religious violence.  But last week’s protests had nothing to do with freedom of expression, drone wars, or Americans. They were about access to water. When Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of Defense, Power, and Water (yes, that is one ministry), warned that the country’s chronic water shortages could soon become uncontrollable, he was looking on the bright side. The meagre allotment of water available to each Pakistani is a third of what it was in 1950. As the country’s population rises, that amount is falling fast. … ”  Continue reading at the New Yorker here:  A thirsty, violent world

In regional news and commentary today …

Willows: Museum event looks at water history:  “It’s been more than 20 years since Cynthia Davis wrote “Where Water is King,” a 100-year history of modern irrigation in California and the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District.  The title was once the slogan for Colusa County and was once part of Glenn County’s official seal.  It also represented what was once an abundance of a resource vital to the area’s agricultural economy. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Museum event looks at water history

Sacramento: Meter Program Accelerated While Backyard Water Mains Wait:Tuesday night the City Council approved a request from the City to install about  51,000 meters by 2020.  The department of Utilities will spend $250 million that was previously approved for water meter and backyard water main installations.  Bill Busath with the Department of Utilities says  this is $65 million less than the City had budgeted between now and 2024. … ”  Read more from the Capital Public Radio here:  Meter Program Accelerated While Backyard Water Mains Wait

Tahoe: More work needed as water conservation sees positive results:  “While residents’ efforts to conserve water are helping, officials say locals must continue such practices as a multi-year drought grips California and other western states with no immediate relief in sight.  In 2014, the Tahoe City Public Utility District pumped 413.3 million gallons of water, slightly above the lowest production amount on record — 408.4 million gallons in 1980. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  More work needed as conservation sees positive results

Lake Tulloch, prized Mother Lode reservoir, may be drained:It is one of the most beautiful reservoirs in the Mother Lode, glistening blue and often filled to the brim, its waters plied by boats and its shores lined with million-dollar homes.  But come summer, Lake Tulloch could be little more than a puddle.  Water managers may drain the lake to save water farther upstream for farmers and fish. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Lake Tulloch, prized Mother Lode reservoir, may be drained

Supervisors vote to create new ordinance for Paso Robles basin:  “After a fourth contentious hearing on the subject, San Luis Obispo County supervisors Tuesday voted 3-2 to begin drafting a long-term agricultural water offset program for the depleted Paso Robles groundwater basin.  The proposed ordinance would replace an emergency ordinance that requires a 1-to-1 water conservation offset for any new agricultural planting in the basin. The two-year emergency ordinance is set to expire Aug. 27. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Supervisors vote to create new ordinance for Paso Robles basin

Owens Valley Committee cites concerns about the Lower Owens River Project:  “The Owens Valley Committee has been working for over thirty years to protect our valley. OVC has legal standing, along with six other parties, for oversight of the Lower Owens River Project (LORP).  The LORP is mitigation for the seeps, springs, plants and animals destroyed or harmed when LADWP put in a second aqueduct and pumped ground water to fill it. As part of the LORP, LADWP should “adaptively manage” to meet the goal of a healthy river.  For the past few years, the LORP consultants that study the river have suggested an experiment to change the water flows of the river and in doing so hope that oxygen levels will improve. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Owens Valley Committee cites concerns about the Lower Owens River Project

Revitalization of lower portion of Los Angeles River is targeted in new Assembly bill: “A bill that would empower a local working group to update the almost 20-year-old Los Angeles River Master Plan with a strategy to revitalize the lower portion of the river was introduced in the Assembly Monday night.  AB 530 would authorize the Secretary of Natural Resources, in coordination with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, to appoint the local working group. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press-Telegram here: Revitalization of lower portion of Los Angeles River is targeted in new Assembly bill

weatherPrecipitation watch …

Mild storm expected at the end of the week.

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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