Daily Digest: Sacto-area water agencies call state drought program illegal; Climate scientists see evidence drought will end next winter; Petition aims to shame lawmakers into finding new water sources, A century of droughts told through editorial cartoons, and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Sacramento-area water agencies call state drought program illegal; When city codes clash with state water rules, confusion reigns; Climate scientists see evidence drought will end next winter; Change.org petition aims to shame California lawmakers into finding new water sources; California says state agencies met water-saving goal; data has many falling short; Bill in Congress sets deadlines for water storage studies; California court undercuts drought plan, Water audits help homeowners meet water saving goals, California’s water problems just aren’t about drought, A century of droughts as told through editorial cartoons, and more …

On the calendar today …

The Delta Stewardship Council will meet on today beginning at 9am.  Agenda items include ongoing discussion on the Delta Levee Investment Strategy, a briefing on communicating the Council’s 2015 priorities, and an panel discussion on the current drought conditions with Karla Nemeth, Ellen Hanak, Jeanine Jones, and others.  Click here for the agenda and meeting materialsClick here for the webcast.

In the news today …

[pullquote]

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

[/pullquote]

Sacramento-area water agencies call state drought program illegal:  “Several suburban Sacramento water agencies on Wednesday challenged the state’s latest emergency water conservation plan, calling the proposed drought reductions an illegal water grab.  In letters delivered to the State Water Resources Control Board, local water officials argued that the board is misusing its authority to impose mandatory conservation, and took issue with the notion implicit in the state’s proposal that watering lawns is an unreasonable use of water. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Sacramento-area water agencies call state drought program illegal

When city codes clash with state water rules, confusion reigns:  “In some California cities, brown is not quite the new green. In fact, it’s downright illegal.  Take the Kings County city of Hanford, where we found Tim Atkinson taking a pickaxe to his lawn, sweating and huffing as he hacked away at a stubborn root. He was pulling out some grass and putting in a rock planter to help save water.  “Inside, we’re going to put blue rock,” says Atkinson, a retired paint store owner. “It’ll be decorative.”  The problem is that in Hanford, it’s against the law. ... ”  Read more from KQED Science here:  When city codes clash with state water rules, confusion reigns

Climate scientists see evidence drought will end next winter:The Blob is back – and this one is no joke.  Notwithstanding its silly name, this meteorological phenomenon could herald the impending end of California’s devestating drought, according to JPL’s Bill Patzert and other respected climate scientists.  The Blob refers to an amorphous mass of water warmer than what surrounds it off the coast of North America. Unusually cold or warm water masses have been linked to climate patterns onshore, notably the wet phenomenon dubbed El Nino, and its dry counterpart, La Nina. … ”  Read more from NBC LA here: Climate scientists see evidence drought will end next winter 

Change.org petition aims to shame California lawmakers into finding new water sources:  “There’s nothing subtle about the latest petition demanding that California politicians solve the state’s water crisis.  A campaign titled “Stop punishing California residents. The water problem is your fault!” demands that Governor Jerry Brown, Members of the California Legislature, mayors and directors “get to work” to find new ways to bring water to the state. ... ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Change.org petition aims to shame California lawmakers into finding new water sources

California says state agencies met water-saving goal; data has many falling short: California’s state government reported meeting its own overall water conservation goal for 2014, though data released Wednesday showed half the agencies fell short of the 20 percent target while the drought worsened.  Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown set the savings goal for homeowners, businesses and local governments — as well as state offices, prisons, parks and work crews.  Inmates began taking shorter showers, sprinklers at state buildings stopped, leaks were found and fixed, and vehicle fleets went unwashed. … ” Read more from the Digital Journal here:  California says state agencies met water-saving goal; data has many falling short

Bill in Congress sets deadlines for water storage studies: A House panel passed legislation Wednesday designed to speed up the federal government’s study of five major water-storage projects in California.  Government agencies have been studying the projects for nearly two decades. Meanwhile, the state’s water problems have only grown worse.  The amendment, part of a larger spending bill for the agencies overseeing energy and the environment, sets hard deadlines for each of the feasibility studies to be completed, with the last by 2017. It is aimed at ensuring the projects can compete for $2.7 billion in water-storage funding that voters approved last November. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Bill in Congress sets deadlines for water storage studies

California court undercuts drought plan:  “A California appellate court ruled Monday that San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water-rates — meant to encourage conservation — violate a voter-approved law that prohibits government agencies from charging more than the cost of a service.  A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that charging bigger water users incrementally higher rates violated Proposition 218, which voters approved in 1996 to limit service fees imposed by local agencies. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News here: California court undercuts drought plan

Drying up: The race to save California from drought:  “Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Control Resources Board, is trying really hard to convince me that the California dream isn’t dead.  We’re driving in my beat-up Volkswagen through the Central Valley, just south of Sacramento, and even here the effects of the drought are stunning: the hills to the west, usually soft and green, are burnt-crisp and yellowed. The fields spreading for miles in both directions are also toast; they look as if they would crumble under your feet. Here and there, crops still live, but they are hedged in on all sides by death. ... ”  Read more from Newsweek here:  Drying up: The race to save California from drought

Water audits help homeowners meet water saving goals: After four years of record drought, Bay Area residents already have made many steps to reduce water use part of their routine, whether it’s not watering every other day or leaving their car dirty. So with the governor now calling on residents to up their conservation game after another dry winter, many are left wondering what more they can do.  Enter a new drought-spawned calling: the water auditor. The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s free Water Wise House Call Program has a backlog of reservations, said Conservation Specialist Ashley Carter.”They were booked up a week in advance before,” Carter said. “And now it’s about three weeks.” ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Water audits help homeowners meet water saving goals

California’s water problems just aren’t about drought: As California’s drought pushes through its fourth year, the solutions being pitched for the state’s water shortage problem have become progressively more radical. In San Diego, self-styled water vigilantes scour the city for those who violate the city’s water restriction rules, and actor William Shatner started a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday for a $30 billion water pipeline from Seattle.  Despite the frenzy of activity to cut down on water consumption—whether it’s proposals of price hikes and desalinization, or demonizing almonds—the simple fix to California’s water problem remains in plain sight, and out of reach. ... ”  Read more from Epoch Times here:  California’s water problems just aren’t about drought

Droughtshaming: California drought vigilantes humiliate wasteful neighbors: Earlier this month on the streets of Orange County, Calif., there was little evidence the state was in the middle of a historic drought. Sure, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) had given a speech about a “different world” that demands conservation, but many a golf course was lush, and many a car was sparkling clean. At Disneyland, the “It’s a Small World” ride ferried visitors in its endless, cheery circle. In the center of the city of Orange, a fountain shot jets into the air. Sure, the occasional citizen might be taking advantage of programs that pay homeowners to rip up their lawns, but many lawns looked as watered as ever. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Droughtshaming: California drought vigilantes humiliate wasteful neighbors

California drought puts old features in new perspective:In July, when Santa Barbara’s new drought-influenced water prices go into effect, the cost of filling a typical 28,000-gallon in-ground swimming pool with city water will come to roughly $US 600.  That’s $US 200 more than it would cost under the old pricing schedule. As Santa Barbara homeowners respond to the higher price of water, one more consideration is likely to come into clearer focus: whether to fill the pool at all.  The drying power of a four-year drought is steadily shifting day-to-day expectations ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  California Drought Puts Old Features in New Perspective

ACWA-sponsored CEQA bill clears assembly appropriations, heads to Assembly floor:  “ACWA-sponsored AB 291 (Medina), a bill that would streamline current California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) noticing requirements for multi-county water projects, was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Wednesday on the consent calendar. The bill will now be sent to the Assembly floor for a vote as early as next week. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  ACWA-sponsored CEQA bill clears assembly appropriations, heads to Assembly floor

Amid California’s historic drought, a scientists digs for answers:  “When Guleed Ali hikes the nooks and crannies of stream-sculpted canyons that lead to Mono Lake in central California, he often pauses to marvel at the landscape that spreads out before him.  He ponders the smooth blue lake that reflects the snow-capped Sierra Nevada and the limestone spires that reach skyward like fingers beckoning the birds.  But the young scientist looks beyond the grandeur. He also seeks clues to California’s historic drought. … ”  Read more from Climate Central here: Amid California’s Historic Drought, a Scientist Digs for Answers

And lastly … A century of droughts as told through editorial cartoons:  “Flip through this selection of cartoons about drought that appeared in the Los Angeles Times between the 1890s and the 1990s.”  More here from the LA Times:  A century of droughts as told through editorial cartoons

In commentary today …

Little fish’s disappearance is a big problem, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “The little delta smelt is nearly extinct. You can almost hear the celebrations in the San Joaquin Valley from here.  Not so fast though.  As the drought worsens, the people vs. fish argument heats up south of the delta, whipped up by pandering valley politicians who say people shouldn’t suffer because of a little fish.  In the midst of this, the news about the delta smelt couldn’t have come at a more unfortunate time. ... ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Little fish’s disappearance is a big problem

Agriculture-drought complaints just don’t hold water, says Cary Blake:  He writes, “The California almond industry continues to be challenged by mainstream media and others for its water use in a state trying to keep its – uh – head above water during the fourth consecutive year of drought.  It’s not just almonds under public scrutiny but California agriculture as a whole.  Those wearing the ‘almond hat’ can certainly share ‘lids’ with the western alfalfa industry which gets regular jabs for water used to grow feed for dairy cows to produce milk, ice cream, and other dairy products. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Agriculture-drought complaints just don’t hold water

Liberal water czars create 2015 Dust Bowl in the Golden State, says Ernest Istook: He writes, “California’s liberals are seeking scapegoats to divert attention from how that entire state may soon become another Detroit, emptying out as people flee. Scapegoats like almonds, alfalfa and meat. Really. What Big Labor did to the Motor City the environmental extremists are doing to California, threatening to create a new Dust Bowl with their misguided water policies.  Even now, environmentalists don’t want solutions. ... ”  Read more from the Washington Times here:  Liberal water czars create 2015 Dust Bowl in the Golden State

Americans must become citizens of the watershed, say Shawn Dahr and Alexandria Icenhower: As drought continues to wreak havoc in California and the American west, the impact of climate change on our water is become increasingly apparent.  Pat Mulroy, a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and a senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West, discusses the water scarcity issues that have developed over the last few decades and the realistic future of water in the U.S. ... ”  Read more from the Newsweek here:  Americans must become citizens of the watershed

In regional news and commentary today …

Humboldt County and Hoopa Tribe seek promised dam water for Trinity:  “While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began releasing Lewiston Dam water into the Trinity River on Wednesday as part of an ongoing restoration project, Humboldt County and the Hoopa Valley Tribe are seeking for the agency to make another release later this year to prevent fish-kill conditions.  The option for the county to have the federal agency release the dam water was a contested issue for several years even though a 1955 Congressional act and subsequent contract between the county and the agency in 1959 promised the county 50,000 acre-feet of water annually in addition to fish protecting flows.  … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt County and Hoopa Tribe seek promised dam water for Trinity

American Canyon water supply at risk if drought continues:  “Aggressive water conservation enforcement is possible here if residents and businesses don’t voluntarily cut back even more than they already are, officials said Tuesday.  Though not yet imposing surcharges or resorting to rationing, city officials learned those actions are not off the table — if water use in the city doesn’t come down.  And city officials are asking residents to report water abuses they see. … ”  Read more from the Vallejo Times-Herald here:  American Canyon water supply at risk if drought continues

American Canyon water fixes:  Buy a lake?  Ditch the airport?  “To solve its water needs, American Canyon is talking about everything from the city buying its own lake to transferring some of its water customers to the city of Napa.  At a special City Council meeting Tuesday night, elected officials met with members of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Water Resources to discuss what options American Canyon should consider to handle its short- and long-term water needs, particularly in light of the ongoing drought and orders from the governor’s office for California to cut back on its water consumption. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  American Canyon water fixes: Buy a lake?  Ditch the airport?

Zone 7 has enough water, but urges conservation:  “Zone 7 Water Agency rescinded its Stage 2 Action Plan for the drought, because of its current ability to deliver 100 percent of the water requested by retailers. However, directors made it clear that they still want the public to conserve at a rate that water retailers set, as mandated this year by the state.  The directors took the action at their meeting April 15. The Stage 2 Action Plan, created in 2014, included a list of conservation measures for water users.  The Action Plan was begun after Zone 7 learned that it would not have enough water to fill Valley retailers’ requests in 2014. The State Water Project (SWP) could deliver only 5 percent of the normal annual water amount, and not before Sept. 1, 2014. ... ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here:  Zone 7 has enough water, but urges conservation

Davis must save more water under new state rules:If you’ve ripped up your lawn and timed your showers, you may become less unusual now that a new proposed set of state water conservation targets could be finalized as early as May.  The state wants to boost Davis’ water conservation level to 28 percent, surpassing a 25-percent goal under a previous proposal. Davis water customers reduced their use 16 percent between June 2014 and February 2015 over the same period in 2012-13.  City public works staff plan to come to the City Council in May with recommendations that may be necessary to comply with the proposal from the State Water Quality Control Board. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Davis must save more water under new state rules

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: