California water news slider

Daily Digest: Welcome to Fairmead, where you have to walk a mile for a sip of water; Prisons restrict inmates shower and toilet use; Sacto County declares pot cultivation a form of water waste; plus El Nino, Temperance Flat, gray water and more …

In California water news today, Welcome to Fairmead, where you have to walk a mile for a sip of water; In the face of drought, California prisons are restricting inmates shower and toilet use; Sacramento County declares marijuana cultivation a form of water waste; Drought drives ranchers to thin herds; Strong El Nino likely, but no end of drought seen; An ecosystem with a long reach: The Bay Delta is California’s heart; Valley counties push for funds for Temperance Flat dam; How more lawn restrictions could remake the California landscape; Water Deeply sits down with Ralph Petroff, who aims to make household gray-water recycling as common as your refrigerator; Court order puts water cuts into question; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission will meet on Wednesday, July 15 beginning at 9:30 am.  Agenda items include consideration of the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance Regulations, presentation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act draft basin boundary regulation, a presentation by the Department of Fish and Wildlife on ecosystem priorities and relative environmental values for water storage projects, a presentation by the State Water Board on water quality priorities for water storage projects, and a working session as the Commission continues to develop the guidelines for funding public benefits through the Water Storage Investment Program.  Click here for the agenda and webcast link.
  • The Conservancy’s Program and Policy Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. at the Conservancy’s office in West Sacramento. The Subcommittee will receive an update on staffing, discuss preparation for Proposition 1 solicitation, and finalize the timeline. Click here for the agenda.
  • Webinar: Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: New Requirements and Tools: On July 15 from 10am to 11am, join the Union of Concerned Scientists for the second in a webinar series focusing on the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  Click here for more information and to register.
  • Brown Bag Seminar: Delta levees – radar based monitoring from 41,000 feet:  On July 15th, from 12 to 1pm, join Dr. Cathleen Jones from Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a seminar on remote sensing of Delta levees.  The seminar will be available via webex.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

[pullquote]
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
[/pullquote]

Welcome to Fairmead, where you have to walk a mile for a sip of water:The tiny, dusty town of Fairmead, California, feels a long way from anywhere. It’s the kind of place where people come to start anew, hoping to silence the ghosts of hard times past. There are the African-Americans whose families migrated out of the segregated Deep South more than half a century ago, looking for farmwork and a place where they could hold their heads high. There are the migrants from Mexico, who came in search of a slightly better life than the one they had left south of the border. There are the Anglo descendants of refugees from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. And there are elderly adventurers looking for something new—for a little land and a lot of quiet in which to live out their fixed-income retirements. ... ”  Read more from The Nation here:  Welcome to Fairmead, where you have to walk a mile for a sip of water

In the face of drought, California prisons are restricting inmates shower and toilet use: Everyone’s been asked to pitch in to help reduce California’s water consumption in the face of the state’s historic drought, but some are making bigger sacrifices than others.  As part of mandatory drought restrictions announced in April, Governor Jerry Brown ordered public agencies to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent. Officials at the 34 prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) have responded by restricting inmates’ shower privileges, ability to flush their cells’ toilets, and access to clean clothes, according to interviews with inmates. … ”  Oh boy, it’s getting tough out there folks …  Continue reading at VICE here:  In the face of drought, California prisons are restricting inmates shower and toilet use

Sacramento County declares marijuana cultivation a form of water waste:  “Sacramento County Supervisors voted Tuesday to revise the county’s water code to declare marijuana cultivation a form of water waste.  The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed with the proposal, set forth by Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, in light of the state’s years-long drought. … ”  Read more from KCRA here:  Sacramento County declares marijuana cultivation a form of water waste

Drought drives ranchers to thin herds:  “Rancher Gary Tarbell stands in the sale barn at the Tulare County Stockyard watching as cattle pass through a gate, into a ring and, one by one, are sold to the highest bidder.  “They’re going out of state, all these cattle,” Tarbell says. “There’s no water here.”  Just as farmers in the Central Valley are fallowing thousands of acres because of the drought, cattle ranchers are also cutting production. In fact, herd numbers nationwide are at their lowest since the 1950s, due in part to the Texas and California droughts. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Drought drives ranchers to thin herds

Strong El Nino likely, but no end of drought seen:  “It’s now almost certain that strong El Nino conditions will grace the West this winter, but forecasters still caution that resulting storms may not be enough to bust the drought.  Federal long-range forecasters say there’s a 90 percent chance that El Nino, which generally pushes storms from the equatorial Pacific Ocean into the Southwest, will continue in the Northern Hemisphere through winter 2015-16.  Further, they give it an 80 percent chance of sticking around into the spring, according to a bulletin from the National Weather Service. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Strong El Nino likely, but no end of drought seen

An ecosystem with a long reach: The Bay Delta is California’s heart:  “We have a tendency when we talk about an ecosystem to try and draw a bright and distinct boundary around it. We want to define our terms clearly. The desert is the desert and the redwood forest is the redwood forest, and we try to ignore the blurry areas around the edges.  It doesn’t usually work, of course. Even if the boundary you draw encompasses the whole planet, there are still the small matters of sunlight and tides to consider, the sun and moon stepping right across your boundaries like you didn’t even go to the trouble of drawing them. … ”  Read more from KCET here:  An ecosystem with a long reach: The Bay Delta is California’s heart

Valley counties push for funds for Temperance Flat dam:  “The drought has accelerated the call to build the massive dam on the San Joaquin River, above Friant Dam. It’s a priority for Valley farmers and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors wants to form an organization, a joint powers authority, with other counties and agencies to apply for the money to build it.  … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 30 here:  Valley counties push for fund for Temperance Flat dam

How more lawn restrictions could remake the California landscape: First it was existing lawns, with Gov. Jerry Brown leading the way in urging Californians to rip out swaths of green to save vast amounts of water.  Now state regulators have their sights set on grass that hasn’t even been planted.  The California Water Commission is scheduled to consider new rules Wednesday that would significantly slash the amount of water that can be used by landscapes surrounding newly built houses, businesses and schools. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  How more lawn restrictions could remake the California landscape

10 questions:  Water Deeply sits down with Ralph Petroff, who aims to make household gray-water recycling as common as your refrigerator:Ralph Petroff is changing the way California homes use water. As executive chairman of Nexus eWater, Petroff last week unveiled the first housing subdivision in the United States with on-site water recycling standard in every home.  At this groundbreaking neighborhood in San Deigo, the soapy water from showers and sinks — known as gray water — is cleaned, treated and stored to be reused in the home.  Nexus eWater is an Australian company, headquartered in California, that brought its residential water recycling technology to the United States. Petroff spoke with Water Deeply about how gray-water recycling is changing the way California thinks about drought. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here: 10 Questions: Ralph Petroff, gray-water recycling pioneer

Court order puts water cuts into question:  “A court ruling issued at the end of last week has called into question the state’s ability to directly regulate long-established water rights and to order peremptory and widespread water cutbacks.  A Sacramento judge granted a temporary restraining order to prevent curtailment of water to four Central California irrigation districts and allow review of the curtailment process for pre-1914 water right holders.  “It’s definitely a rebuke to the state water board,” said Chris Scheuring, California Farm Bureau Federation environmental attorney. “There are some who’d like the board’s enforcement authority to be more global and self-executing, but the court didn’t see it that way.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Court order puts water cuts into question

California hydraulic fracturing update: Over the past few years, California has taken strides to update the state’s oil and gas regulatory program to keep pace with new technological advances in resource extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing. One significant milestone was the passage of SB 4 in September 2013, a bill that demonstrated how California would be taking a different approach to hydraulic fracturing and unconventional shale gas development as compared to the approach taken by the State of New York.  While New York has opted for an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state, California’s SB 4 established interim regulations and laid out plans for a thorough scientific and environmental review of hydraulic fracturing, leading up to the promulgation of permanent regulations, which went into effect on July 1, 2015. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  California hydraulic fracturing update

Water fight revs up as majority of states slap EPA with lawsuits:  “Leaders from more than half the states in the country have now weighed in on lawsuits that seek to halt a recent federal clean water rule.  The latest of the suits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was filed last week by the attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, who said that the rule will make farm, industrial and private property owners “subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often Byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA.” ... ”  Read more from McClatchy News here:  Water fight revs up as majority of states slap EPA with lawsuits

And lastly … It’s raining spiders and other weird side effects of drought:  “Brown lawns, fallow fields and higher water bills are all the predictable outcomes of the California drought.  The Golden State is in the midst of its driest period on record. But all that warm, dry weather affects more than just lake levels and snowpack — it has some downright weird effects, too. From pipe-eating poop to more roadkill, here are some of the strangest results of the California drought. ... ”  Read more from Live Science here:  It’s raining spiders and other weird side effects of drought

In commentary today …

When it comes to water, California is not Australia, says Chris Schuering:  He writes, “There has certainly been a great deal of furious legislative and administrative activity in the halls of government in this season of drought—some of it essential and very timely, and some of it simply opportunistic. The Farm Bureau team in Sacramento has been front and center in many of those processes, calibrating its efforts constantly to serve the California farmers and ranchers who constitute our diverse membership.  But one of the frothiest debates, in response to the current extremely dry spell, has been not before either the legislative or the executive branch, but in various corners of the mainstream media. Spurred by a few law professors and other pundits who are not interested in policy change at the margins, we have heard various breathless calls for wholesale regime change in the allocation of water resources—direct attacks on our water rights system—at a time in which those legal rules are the least of our worries.  The worst of it is, incredibly, hyperventilation that asks us to believe that California is becoming the New Australia. … ”  Continue reading at Ag Alert here:  When it comes to water, California is not Australia

Rep. McCarthy rebuts LA Times editorial on fed drought legislation, says legislation benefits all Californians:  He writes, ” … The House’s bill responding to the drought accomplishes much more than the editorial board gives credit for, and the alternative solutions the board proposed would do little to solve our water problems. Below are a few points where the editorial board and I just don’t see eye to eye.  The Times said that this water bill — the Western Water and American Food Security Act — is longer than the ones that preceded it, but contains much of the same substance and offers little in the way of actual drought relief while also undermining environmental protections.  The reason this bill is longer is implied in the name — it applies to the entire area affected by the drought, not just California. ... ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: Water bill is no ‘big-government boondoggle’

California can still grow greater if we’re smart about water, says Rep. McCarthy:  “California is at a crossroads. A historic drought now into its fourth year confronts us with the choice of either measured decline or renewed prosperity.  Will we concede that we have reached our ecological and technological limits? Or will we face this challenge as generations of Californians have before us with the perseverance and innovation unique to the Golden State?  As a fourth generation Californian, I can say with confidence that it is against our nature to give up now. … ”  Continue reading at the USA Today here:  California can still grow greater if we’re smart about water

A solution for California’s water woes:  Will Parrish writes, “In a decision bursting with symbolism, the California State Water Resources Control Board recently announced its intention to draw down the main water supply reservoir for a half-million people to only 12 percent of capacity by September 30. Lake Folsom on the American River — the main water source for Roseville, Folsom, and other Sacramento suburbs — will plummet to 120,000 acre feet by that date, according to a forecast by the water board, which announced the plan at an unusually lively Sacramento workshop on June 24. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Express here:  A solution for California’s water woes

In regional news and commentary today …

Crews work to strengthen Feather River levees:  “Work is underway in Butte County to shore up Feather River levees that date back to the pioneer era.  Crews working for the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency are strengthening the levees along the river’s west bank to withstand a 200-year flood, according to the agency’s executive director Mike Inamine. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Crews work to strengthen Feather River levees

Yuba County: Mercury information posted at local lakes and reservoirs:Yuba-Sutter residents visiting the main reservoirs in Yuba County will now have information about how to avoid consuming mercury-infested fish, thanks to a local educational effort. Signs about which fish are safe to eat were posted at 28 lakes and reservoirs in Yuba and Nevada counties last Saturday, including Lake Englebright, Camp Far West and New Bullards Bar Reservoir. The effort was organized by the South Yuba River Citizens League, the Sierra Fund and the Wolf Creek Community Alliance. … ” Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Mercury information posted at local lakes and reservoirs

Nottoli, Garamendi criticize Brown’s ‘Water Fix’: “Elected Sacramento County and federal officials who represent the Delta were critical of a $15 billion plan to build tunnels that would carry water from the Delta to southern California.  Previously known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) costing $25 billion, the two tunnels are still part of a slimmed down plan now referred to as “California Water Fix” and “California Eco Restore.”  Unable to secure the necessary permits from fish and wildlife agencies to carry through with the BDCP, Gov. Jerry Brown’s new $15 billion plan calls for hastening restoration of the Delta’s ecosystem and fixing what he described as California’s “aging” water infrastructure. … ”  Read more from the Elk Grove Citizen here: Nottoli, Garamendi criticize Brown’s ‘Water Fix’

East Bay residents step up water savings: Drought-conscious East Bay residents conserved water at record levels during June as they braced for the onset of hot summer weather, higher drought rates and penalties for guzzlers.  Many East Bay areas were cool to conservation calls in winter and spring. But they are warming up as water districts statewide face state orders to cut back by an average 25 percent — with stricter limits in some areas and more lenient in others. ... ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here:  East Bay residents step up water savings

Turlock Irrigation District OKs sale of water to proposed treatment plant:  “The Turlock Irrigation District agreed Tuesday to sell some of its Tuolumne River water to a treatment plant proposed for three cities.  The 5-0 decision by the district board was a major milestone in a 28-year effort to reduce reliance on wells in Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto. Their leaders have not yet decided to go forward with the project, estimated at $150 million to $200 million, but it clearly has momentum. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Turlock Irrigation District OKs sale of water to proposed treatment plant

Fresno: Water in canals is bump from spring storms:  “More than a few of you have noticed water flowing in canals lately. Tuesday morning, the water flow in the San Joaquin River picked up.  All of a sudden, there’s water? What happened to the desperate drought?  The drought is still on. The extra water came from a few storms in May and June. ... ”  More from the Fresno Bee here:  Water in canals is bump from spring storms

$30 million plant would use the sun to recycle tainted irrigation water:WaterFX, a company using solar thermal energy to power a demonstration water-desalination plant western Fresno County, hopes to build a $30 million commercial-scale version and have it producing water by next summer.  A WaterFX subsidiary, HydroRevolution, announced its plans Wednesdayfor the new facility to be built on about 35 acres of land owned by Panoche Water District, west of Firebaugh. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  $30 million plant would use the sun to recycle tainted irrigation water

San Diego in reach of average yearly rainfall despite drought:  “California continues to be immersed in a drought, but oddly enough San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is a little more than one inch away from reaching its 10.15-inch annual rainfall average, which is measured between October 1 and Sept. 30.  “Unfortunately, it’s not as good as it sounds,” said Alex Tardy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, “because really what we’re facing is a four-year deficit, even at Lindbergh Field in downtown San Diego, of 15 inches of rain.” … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  San Diego in reach of average yearly rainfall despite drought

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: