Daily Digest, early edition: Delta farmers propose voluntary cuts, Oil regulators could lose control over aquifer mess, Victorious San Juan Capistrano water users want a refund, and more, plus what’s on webcast today …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Delta farmers propose voluntary cuts, Tough choice for Delta farmers, Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals, California oil regulators could lose control over aquifer mess, Victorious San Juan Capistrano water users want a refund, New guidelines approved for emergency drought relief funds, Put water in the bank: a solution for drought-stricken California, Infographic: California urban water conservation standards, Millennium drought lessons, and more …

On webcast today …

  • State Water Board workshop on drought and the Delta:  The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public workshop this morning beginning at 9am to discuss the state and federal water projects’ Temporary Urgency Change Petition, the drought barrier in the Delta, and water curtailments.  Click here for the agendaClick here for the webcast.
  • California Water Commission Meeting: Water storage, drought funding, and more today starting at 9:30 amClick here for the agenda and webcast link.

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Delta farmers propose voluntary cuts:Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California’s oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues.  Under the deal expected to be presented to state officials Wednesday, farmers would either take less river water for irrigation or leave a quarter of their crops unplanted. If the state accepts the deal, Delta water managers say it may become a model for farmers throughout California, who also are facing curtailments. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Delta farmers propose voluntary cuts

Tough choice for Delta farmers:Delta farmers, fearful they will be cut off from their water supply for the first time this summer, have a decision to make.  And it may not be an easy one.  A plan under consideration by the state will allow farmers who claim senior riparian rights to continue taking water later this summer, if they will agree now to leave 25 percent of their land barren, or to conserve 25 percent of the water they would normally use. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Tough choice for Delta farmers

Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals:As California heads into a fourth year of drought, water agencies are scrambling for new ways to conserve.  Gov. Jerry Brown has mandated 25 percent water reductions and has called on resource managers to create new incentives for conservation. Tiered pricing – charging more per gallon to customers who use more – could be an effective mechanism. In fact, many water utilities in California and elsewhere already use tiered pricing structures. However, a recent court decision in a case brought by ratepayers in San Juan Capistrano may stymie such efforts. ... ”  Read more from the Stanford Report here:  Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals

California oil regulators could lose control over aquifer mess:Under fire for letting petroleum companies pump wastewater into aquifers, California oil-field regulators could see some of their responsibilities taken away — and handed to other agencies.  State Sen. Fran Pavley on Tuesday proposed launching an audit of California’s Divison of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to see whether some of its functions would be better handled by other government offices. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  California oil regulators could lose control over aquifer mess

Victorious San Juan Capistrano water users want a refund:  “Water customer Eric Krogius used to live in San Juan Capistrano, and he wants his money back.  The homeowner and securities specialist paid huge water bills under the steep tiers recently declared illegal by the 4th District Court of Appeal, and he recently filed a claim in Orange County Superior Court to try to recoup the thousands he once thought were gone for good.  “I think it’s got the makings of a great class action,” Krogius said. ... ”  read more from the OC Register here: Victorious San Juan Capistrano water users want a refund

New guidelines approved for emergency drought relief funds:Communities suffering from years of extremely dry conditions could receive their share of $19 million in funding to pay for bottled water supplies and drought-related projects under a new set of guidelines.  The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved guidelines for funding that will help community water systems, nonprofit organizations, tribal governments and public agencies address drinking water emergencies. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  New guidelines approved for emergency drought relief funds

Put water in the bank: a solution for drought-stricken California:  “Saguaros and palo verde trees flourish in the Sonoran Desert northwest of Phoenix along the road to Hieroglyphic Mountains Recharge, one of the Central Arizona Project’s groundwater banking sites. The shallow ponds, fed at one end by a burbling fountain, may look static, but the water is percolating down through the soil at a rate of about 3 feet a day, replenishing underground aquifers.  The 38-acre Hieroglyphic site is part of a statewide water-banking effort in Arizona that has stored around 9 million acre-feet of water underground as a hedge against population growth and possible cutbacks due to low Colorado River flows. ... ”  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  Put water in the bank: a solution for drought-stricken California

Infographic: California urban water conservation standards:On May 5, in response to an executive order from Governor Jerry Brown, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted California’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions for urban areas.  The state’s 411 urban water suppliers — those serving more than 3,000 connections — will be required, in total, to reduce water use by 25 percent between June 2015 and February 2016 compared to the same months in 2013-14. The target of the regulation is lawn watering, which accounts for roughly half of residential water use in California. ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Infographic: California urban water conservation standards

Millennium drought lessons:  “Australian Water Association president and OzWater conference guest speaker Graham Dooley was in California recently for the G’Day USA Water Dialogue and spoke about what worked in drought-proofing Australia that could be applicable to the current drought in California.  “The governor’s senior officials California were really after our analysis and intellect on how we managed the Murray Darling system and our urban systems during the millennium drought,” he said. “Our experience is very similar to the circumstances in California now – whether it’s climate change or a natural process, we found ourselves devoid of water in both our agricultural zone and in our cities simultaneously.” … ”  Read more from Stock Journal here:  Millennium drought lessons

California farms added workers in 2014, even amid drought:  “Despite the drought, the number of workers employed in California’s agricultural industry rose to its highest level in at least 24 years, as many farmers shifted toward labor-intensive, permanent crops, according to the latest state and federal statistics.  The employment figures paint a more complicated picture than the message from some state officials and agricultural employers who publicly lament the drought’s impact on farmworkers. For example, Gov. Jerry Brown last month told a national television audience that “farmworkers who are at the very low end of the economic scale here are out of work.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California farms added workers in 2014, even amid drought

Conservationists decry plan to retool endangered species rules:Conservationists decried a proposal on Monday by U.S. wildlife and marine animal managers to tweak rules tied to the federal Endangered Species Act, saying the plans would place “crippling” impediments to citizens petitioning to save imperiled creatures.  Under the proposal submitted for public comment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, those petitioning for such safeguards would have to use data from state wildlife agencies prior to submitting requests. … ”  Read more from Reuters here: Conservationists decry U.S. plan to retool endangered species rules

 

In commentary today …

The bipartisan opposition to the tunnels: Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “I cheered and chanted for Governor Jerry Brown when he called out US Senator Ted Cruz for his “ignorance” about climate change. As executive director of Restore the Delta, a grassroots organization of 20,000 Californians seeking to stop the Brown Administration’s $25 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels, I was heartened to hear the governor addressing climate change. Why? Because climate change must be dealt with to save the place I love — the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. If only the governor would listen to his own words. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Express here: The bipartisan opposition to the tunnels

Column: Goodbye lawns, hello money:  Michael Fitzgerald writes, “Remind me: why do we have lawns? Is it aesthetic? Something about affecting the wealth of an English estate? Or do we have lawns because we have lawns, though arguably they are outmoded and unimportant? Whatever the reason, cities up and down the state now offer popular “cash for grass” programs, paying residents to rip out thirsty lawns. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Goodbye lawns, hello money

In regional news and commentary today …

Eureka: Mixed outcomes for local Chinook salmon:While Chinook salmon in the Eel River are maintaining healthy population levels, juvenile Chinook in the Klamath River are struggling against a deadly parasite, according to annual monitoring of migration and spawning in the two rivers.  A parasite, Ceratomyxa shasta, is infecting and killing juvenile salmon before they complete their migration to the sea. The parasite is present in many rivers in the Pacific Northwest, but this year is causing the highest mortality rate among juvenile salmon in the Klamath since 2008, according to Jerri Bartholomew, a professor of microbiology at Oregon State University. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Mixed outcomes for local Chinook salmon

Silicon Valley faces sweeping water cuts:Nearly 1 million Silicon Valley residents will face strict water quotas — and pricey premiums for going over — under what will soon be the Bay Area’s most far-reaching rationing plan in four years of drought.  The private San Jose Water Co. is notifying customers by mail this week that they’ll be required to keep their water consumption beneath specific targets every other month, starting in mid-June. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Silicon Valley faces sweeping water cuts

Asphalt plant greenlit upstream from Calaveras water treatment plant:A proposed asphalt plant near the Calaveras River could lead to contaminated drinking water for people in the area.  The plant is proposed along the river, near New Hogan Dam in Valley Springs.  The county water district says the plant got the greenlight without its knowledge. A few feet downstream from the plant is the water treatment plant that takes in Calaveras River water. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Asphalt plant greenlit upstream from Calaveras water treatment plant

1.2 Million Gallons: Morada Skirts California Drought Restrictions Through Prop. 218:While many in California struggle with the severe drought, people in one upscale community in San Joaquin County are still paying a flat rate, and using as much water as they want.  Among the sprawling gated estates of Morada, surrounded by lush, green lawns, there are few signs of California’s four-year drought.  San Joaquin County installed water meters in Morada years ago, but homeowners aren’t using them, some argue by exploiting Proposition 218. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  1.2 million gallons: Morada Skirts California Drought Restrictions Through Prop. 218

Stockton: Water fee approved by San Joaquin County supervisors:  “A new fee on all county residents will take effect in July that is geared toward helping fund critical water conservation efforts in San Joaquin County. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted 5-0 to approve a county-wide property related fee for water investigation. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water fee approved by San Joaquin County supervisors

Stanislaus County properties limited to watering twice a week:  “With a two-acre lawn and a 12-foot-high water wheel, the landscaping around David Busby’s custom home outside Riverbank is a throwback to the days of “water wealth” in Stanislaus County.  Tuesday evening, the Board of Supervisors amended a water conservation ordinance that will make it difficult to maintain such landscaping this summer. The urgency action limits outdoor watering to two times a week in the county jurisdiction, with the rules taking affect immediately in unincorporated pockets of Modesto, towns such as Salida, Empire and Denair and the outskirts of Riverbank, Oakdale and other cities, where affluent people build their dream homes. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus County properties limited to watering twice a week

Turlock council enters into MOU for regional water project:The Turlock City Council convened for a special meeting Friday afternoon and unanimously approved to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Modesto, Del Puerto  Water District, and the Department of the Interior in order to have more input during the environmental review process for the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock Council enters into MOU for regional water project

Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought:The drought has worked a miracle in the Owens Valley, as environmental activists and ranchers have buried decades of enmity to forge a plan to save ranch land — at the expense of hard-fought environmental protections.  The two sides began talking after the DWP announced plans last month to slash irrigation allotments for half of Inyo County’s 50 ranches. The utility said the cuts are necessary because the Sierra snowpack, which typically provides a large share of DWP’s water for Los Angeles, is just 4% of normal — not enough to irrigate all ranches and meet DWP’s environmental obligations in the valley. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought

Long Beach: California State University cuts water use, but still has a long way to go:California State University has turned into a learning lab for water conservation.  During today’s meeting at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach, trustees for the 23-campus system learned about efforts to cut water use amid a record drought and Gov. Jerry Brown’s statewide directive to reduce water consumption by 25 percent compared to 2013. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  California State University cuts water use, but still has a long way to go

Lake Mission Viejo may soon be filled with purified recycled water: The group that operates a private lake in Orange County has proposed building a $5-million purification facility so it can begin using recycled water instead of the potable supplies it has relied on for decades.  As state regulators demand conservation in the fourth year of drought, the Lake Mission Viejo Assn. board of directors voted last week to put a proposal before its delegates for a plant that would send recycled water through additional purification processes and then into the lake. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  Lake Mission Viejo may soon be filled with purified recycled water

weatherPrecipitation watch …

Unsettled weather continues:A low pressure system along the California coast will bring cloudy, cool and unsettled weather to the north state today and the next couple of days. Showers or thunderstorms will be possible over the mountains and northern Sacramento valley with light showers or variable cloud cover elsewhere.”

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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