Daily Digest: Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution, Despite drought, not time for drastic measures, Surplus water buy for Bay Area communities stirs controversy, and more, plus today’s webinars, workshops, and events

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution, Despite drought, not time for drastic measures, Small fish may derail plans to implode old Bay Bridge, Risk of 8.0 earthquake in California rises, Surplus water buy for Dublin and San Ramon buys relief but stirs controversy, Property rights debate bogs down Modesto Irrigation District, and more …

On the calendar today …

Loads of events today:

  • Webinar:Tip of the Spear: The Horizon for Drought Data, Modelling, and Mapping Technology” Today at 10am PST, the Western Governor’s Assocation will host a free webinar to examine how scientists use data to understand drought and help policymakers anticipate dry conditions. Click here for more information.
  • Army Corps public meeting on Central Valley long-term water resource management: Today from 10AM to noon in Colusa, the Army Corps will hold a meeting to discuss its study looking at long-term, sustainable integrated water resource management in the Sacramento River watershed, including flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and water supply.  Click here for more information.
  • WEBCAST: Delta Levees Investment Strategy Technical / Policy Public Workshop: Today, the Delta Stewardship Council will hold a half-day workshop beginning at 10AM on that will focus on levees and risk management strategies for State investments to reduce risk while meeting multiple objectives and issues related to liability. Technical experts from this region, as well as from around the country, have been invited to attend and engage the Council, its staff, and consultants, in a dialog related to these topics. There will be an opportunity for public comment.  Click here for more information.  Click here for the webcast.
  • Brown Bag Seminar:  Managing Environmental Degradation Issues: The St. Lucie Estuary story:  Today from 12pm to 1pm, Delta Lead Scientist candidate Dr. Jawed Hameedi will present a brown bag seminar on The presentation will highlighting a NOAA study on sediment toxicity that was one of several environmental studies that were funded in the aftermath of the 1997-98 El Nino-Southern Oscillation event, which caused heavy rainfall and an extremely large release of water from Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.  Click here for more information.
  • Tales of Two Rivers: Running California’s Two Longest and Significantly Imperiled Rivers: Tonight at 5:30 pm, join the Bay Institute for an evening with Glen Martin and John Sutter, two reporters who kayaked down California rivers and mesmerized their readers with insightful and hard-hitting reports about the state’s most valuable water assets, the people who depend on them, and the resources that suffer when these rivers are neglected. Click here for more information.

Click here to view the full calendar.

In the news today …

Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollutionAgencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution:  “The agencies charged with overseeing oil production and protecting California’s ever-dwindling water sources from the industry’s pollution all fell down on the job, one state official told a panel of peeved lawmakers Tuesday.  During a testy two-hour oversight hearing, officials from the California Department of Conservation, the department’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the state Water Resources Control Board promised senators a top-down overhaul of their regulation of the disposal of oil field wastewater. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution

California oil regulator under fire for aquifer injections:The California office that for years let oil companies inject their wastewater into potentially drinkable aquifers needs a new culture more focused on protecting public health, state officials said Tuesday.  “Here we are in the fourth year of a serious drought, and the actions of the oil and gas regulator are threatening the state’s precious groundwater supply,” said Sen. Fran Pavley, chairwoman of the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. “We cannot allow our precious groundwater resources to be contaminated by negligence.” … ”  Read mroe from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California oil regulator under fire for aquifer injections

Despite drought, not time for drastic measures:  “Here in California it can be frustrating to see the East Coast and Midwest buried in snow while the west remains bone dry. But the news can be hard to avoid. Snow piling up so high, cities are struggling to get rid of it, while the west remains stormless. Seems like a waste. Surely there’s a way some of that extra snow can be moved to where it’s needed. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Despite drought, not time for drastic measures

Small fish may derail plans to implode old Bay Bridge: The latest bump in the road to remove the old Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge is something so small, you can hold it in your hand.  Caltrans’ plan was to save money and protect the environment by bringing down the old bridge piers with explosives. But once again, the agency finds itself taking a detour, for one specific fish. … ”  Read more from CBS here:  Small fish may derail plans to implode old Bay Bridge

Risk of 8.0 earthquake in California rises, USGS says: “Estimates of the chance of a magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake hitting California in the next three decades have been raised from about 4.7% to 7%, the U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday.  Scientists said the reason for the increased estimate was because of the growing understanding that earthquakes aren’t limited to separate faults, but can start on one fault and jump to others. The result could be multiple faults rupturing in a simultaneous mega-quake.  … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here: Risk of 8.0 earthquake in California rises, USGS says

In commentary today …

Tap California’s innovators to develop water policies, says George Miller:  He writes, “After 40 years of working on California water issues, it sometimes feels to me as if we haven’t learned anything.  When I began my congressional career in 1975, powerful San Joaquin Valley agricultural interests were planning new dams and a new water facility in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Environmental needs were ignored, and enormous subsidies encouraged wasteful and environmentally damaging water use. As I left the Congress in January, despite some important steps forward — including enactment of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act — all of these challenges continued.  Federal water priorities are still being set in response to the demands of politically connected irrigators. … ”  Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Tap California’s innovators to develop water policies

In regional news and commentary today …

Surplus water buy for Dublin and San Ramon buys relief but stirs controversy:A tug of war is taking place over a plan to deliver an emergency water supply to 80,000 people in Dublin and San Ramon.  The Dublin San Ramon Services District plans to buy the water from Yuba County to ease its severe shortage — which has resulted in some of the most severe penalties in the Bay Area.  In the fourth year of drought, customers have been paying higher rates aimed at curbing use 25 percent, and homes have a weekly cap on use…. ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Surplus water buy for Dublin and San Ramon buy relief but stirs controversy

Reservoirs for East Bay water users near 38-year low:  “Levels at Sierra reservoirs that supply water for 1.3 million East Bay customers are as low as they’ve been in nearly 40 years, and it could take a miracle to make them better before the onset of the long dry season, officials were told Tuesday.  The East Bay Municipal Utility District reservoirs contain less than half the water they usually do at this time of year. By summer, levels are expected to be about what they were during 1977, when back-to-back nearly dry winters had restaurants serving water by request only and backyard gardens resembling the Mojave. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Reservoirs for East Bay water users near 38-year low

EBMUD sounds alarm on drought:  “East Bay MUD is sounding the alarm on the California drought, the worst outlook in 40 years. The water supply hasn’t been this bad since the late 1970s and conservation efforts are dismal, just 4 percent.  Voluntary conservation could become mandatory.  … ”  Read more from ABC 7 here:  EBMUD sounds alarm on drought

Big water rate hike plan reduced by Santa Clara Valley Water District:  “Facing a public outcry and some skepticism from their board of directors, the top staff of the Silicon Valley’s largest drinking water provider on Tuesday suggested reducing a proposed drought-related water rate hike this year from 31 percent to 19 percent.  The Santa Clara Valley Water District officials introduced the idea Tuesday night at a public meeting of the agency’s seven-member elected board. Staff making the presentation told board members that some reductions could be made through staffing vacancies, while high-priority projects such as seismic retrofits and dam improvements would have to remain in the budget. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Big water rate hike plan reduced by Santa Clara Valley Water District

South San Joaquin Irrigation District caps water deliveries for the first time:  “For the first time ever, drought has forced the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to cap water deliveries.  Its board voted 5-0 Tuesday for a 36-inch limit for farmers who irrigate about 55,000 acres around Escalon, Ripon and Manteca with water from the Stanislaus River.  The allotment is far better than in many areas – the Merced Irrigation District and parts of the West Side expect zero river water this year – but it still could mean challenges for SSJID growers accustomed to plenty. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: SSJID caps water deliveries for the first time

Property rights debate bogs down Modesto Irrigation District:  “Unusually warm temperatures the past few days have made the four-year drought worse for crops, so Modesto Irrigation District leaders said Tuesday they’re inclined to start farmers’ water season April 12 instead of two weeks later.  The MID board also waded through tricky dialogue with several growers and attorneys who object to proposed rule changes granting ditch tenders carte-blanche access to private property under threat of losing water rights. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Property rights debate bogs down Modesto Irrigation District

Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District plans for drought: “Good news kicked off a Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District drought management meeting on March 2 when the State Water Project announced an increase in allocations for 2015.  According to General Manager John Martin, the State Water Project raised its allocation to 20 percent to agricultural and municipal contractors in Central and Southern California.  The Department of Water Resources increased the allocation after storms in December and February brought much-needed water to the state. ... ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District plans for drought

weatherPrecipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service: “A weak Pacific cold front moving through Northern California will bring light precipitation to the north state today. Only minor rain and snowfall accumulations are expected. This system will move east of the region tonight with clearing skies and much warmer temperatures expected going into the weekend.”

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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