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Daily Digest: Takings arguments bubble up as water rights are cut; Native American tribe using traditional methods to combat drought; Mercury’s rise creates competition for water, but July’s record-breaking rainfall may not be over yet, and more …

In California water news today, Takings arguments bubble up as California cuts water rights; Some farmers along Delta concerned with Governor’s twin tunnels plan; Native American tribe using traditional methods to combat drought; Mercury’s rise creates competition for water; July’s record-breaking rainfall may not be over yet; High-tech new water – next steps for sustainable water solutions in California; California Indian tribe pursues right to groundwater; Saving water adds up to rate hikes; In California drought, musicians find inspiration; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • BDCP/California Water Fix Public Meeting this afternoon from 3:00pm to 7:00pm in Sacramento at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J Street.

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Takings arguments bubble up as California cuts water rights:  “In drought-stricken California, lawyers are asking a simple question with a complicated answer.  Can the state take away water rights?  At issue: the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment, which says no property shall be taken without just compensation.  So if California gets more aggressive in requiring irrigation districts — and particularly so-called senior rights holders, whose claim to divert and use water dates back more than a century — to curtail water use, some property rights lawyers think they can sue the state. … ”  Read more from E&E Publishing here:  Takings arguments bubble up as California cuts water rights

Some farmers along Delta concerned with Governor’s twin tunnels plan:  “A project proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to build two massive tunnels in the Delta is raising questions from farmers.  ​In the small town of Courtland, known for it s pears, pear farmer Ryan Elliot isn’t sure what to make of the proposal.  “No one really knows what it will mean for the Delta,” Elliot told FOX40 Monday. … ”  Read more from Fox News here:  Some farmers along Delta concerned with Governor’s twin tunnels plan

Native American tribe using traditional methods to combat drought:  “In the Madera County foothills, above Oakhurst, Native American tribes and the Forest Service are working together on a solution to California’s drought. It doesn’t involve building dams, or digging wells. Instead, they’re chopping down trees. It’s an ancient practice producing more water.  On a July morning at the Progeny Meadow in the Sierra National Forest, the scent of burning sage filled the air. About a dozen people gathered in a circle to listen to a voice raised in prayer, asking for ancestors’ blessing before the day’s work began. That voice belongs to Ron Goode, tribal chairman of the North Fork Mono Indians. … ” Read more from ABC 30 here:  Native American tribe using traditional methods to combat drought

Mercury’s rise creates competition for water: The competition between gene pools is tightening as water levels drop behind Northern Sacramento Valley’s major reservoirs. This competition isn’t necessarily between cities or farms, or even among the same species. It’s between humans and fish.  Similar to the deep end temperature in a swimming pool, the coldest water in a reservoir lies at its bottom, devoid of sunlight. More than half of the sun’s rays are absorbed within the first three feet of penetrating the water surface, causing shivers after a ten foot dive. With snowmelt runoff practically non-existent in California, declining reservoir levels not only concern water managers about remaining water quantity, but also water quality. ... ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Mercury’s rise creates competition for water

July’s record-breaking rainfall may not be over yet:  “July — already one of the wettest in California’s history — is expected to go out with one more drenching.  Forecasters say a monsoonal flow could hit Southern California on Wednesday, bringing more rain, thunder, lightning and muggy conditions into the weekend.  The weather, which officials believe is tied to the El Niño system building in the Pacific, has been marked by contradictions.  The rain has helped contain some brush fires and brought a small respite from four years of drought. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  July’s record-breaking rainfall may not be over yet

High-tech new water – next steps for sustainable water solutions in California:  “On July 13, a working team was formed  between 12 California water officials and practitioners (led by former State Treasurer Kathleen Brown and State Bond Counsel Robert Feyer) and over 50 Israel experts that had designed Israel’s water solutions industry.  There was a quiet hope during the day-long session followed by 2 days of site visits that the force of observation could change circumstances in California and for the rest of world.  It’s beyond time for us to all be simply hot and bothered by the water crisis.  It’s not going away.  California is just like a growing part of the world where water demand exceeds supply for more 40% of the world’s population—a trend that will continue to encompass 60% of global population by the end of this decade. ... ”  Read more from the Jewish Journal here:  High-tech new water – next steps for sustainable water solutions in California

California Indian tribe pursues right to groundwater:  “As California implements a landmark law to balance demand for groundwater with available supplies, an Indian tribe’s lawsuit in federal court has the potential to add new layers of complexity to managing a prized resource that is in short supply during California’s worst ever drought.  The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians filed the suit on May 14, 2013 against the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, two water suppliers in the tribe’s southern California desert region near Palm Springs. The case, straightforward in its goals, addresses two primary concerns: halting groundwater levels that have declined at an average rate of more than one meter per year since 2000, and stemming pollution in the groundwater beneath the 12,545-hectare (31,000-acre) reservation. … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  California Indian tribe pursues right to groundwater

Saving water adds up to rate hikes:  “Whenever drought hits, Californians invariably do their part to save water. They cut back on watering lawns, shorten showers and fix leaks.  This conservation ethic has taken hold quickly during the current drought. Ratepayers in San Diego County and elsewhere in the state are meeting or often significantly exceeding their state-mandated reduction.  Now for the unpleasant but predictable sequel. As water use goes down, the rates charged are going up. And many of those good citizens, who are dutifully pitching in for the public good, are outraged. But the retail water agencies, who directly supply residential, business and agricultural customers, say they have little choice. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Saving water adds up to rate hikes

In California drought, musicians find inspiration:  “Historical movements, wars and disasters around the globe have created signature sounds in music. Think freedom songs like “We Shall Overcome” or even Prince’s “Baltimore.” California is in its fourth year of drought and songs about a drying state are now emerging. From Here & Now’s contributing station Valley Public Radio, Ezra David Romero reports.”  Listen to the show here:  In California drought, musicians find inspiration

In commentary today …

New plan erodes tunnel economics, says Steve Greenhut:  He writes, ” … The delta has long been ground zero in the fight over California water, with Southern Californians favoring anything that brings them more water — and Northern Californians opposing anything that sends more of “their” water down south.  The north-south battle was epitomized in the ballot fight over the Peripheral Canal in 1982. Voters rejected canals to take the water around the estuary. And now the twin-tunnel project — until recently known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan — is the modern iteration of that idea. The goal is to improve the reliability of the water supplies moving through the delta, given that water deliveries often are stopped for environmental reasons. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  New plan erodes tunnel economics

In regional news and commentary today …

In drought, BLM turns to fire tanks for water supply:The Bureau of Land Management has a vital new water source it can use to fight fires in areas hit hard by the drought. The agency has placed several 18,000 gallon water tanks in fire prone areas so firefighters don’t have to drive as far to refill their trucks with water. The move is part of the agencies ongoing mission to protect sage grouse habitat. … ”  Read more from KOLO here:  In drought, BLM turns to fire tanks for water supply

Water flow stops in 112-year old canal: On Neil Hopler’s property near Nimshew Road, trees are dying.  “I’m standing here looking at three of them that are dead right now,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.  The Upper Centerville Canal which helped water Hopler’s trees hasn’t had water in it for about a month. Hopler blamed the problem on the drought. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Water flow stops in 112-year old canal

Water cop slaps SF Muni for leaky fuel tanks:  “The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency repeatedly broke state underground storage-tank laws and has agreed to a $1.35 million settlement, California’s water regulator said Monday.  The three-year investigation cited the SFMTA – known in the area as Muni – for violations including failing to monitor underground-tank systems where hazardous substances are stored, a lack of adequate spill-containment response and for failing to perform monthly operator inspections. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Water cop slaps SF Muni for leaky fuel tanks

Drought results in Modesto’s ‘negative outlook’ for water service:  “The drought is one reason the City of Modesto has received a “negative outlook” for  water service. The city is using less water and that means less revenue.  Moody’s Investors Service didn’t lower the city’s bond rating, but basically said it’s not sure the city’s water enterprise is in the best shape to cover its debt. ... ”  More from Capital Public Radio here:  Drought results in Modesto’s ‘negative outlook’ for water service

Central Coast cities working to keep urban forests alive during drought: State water officials are concerned our historic drought could be killing millions of trees throughout California.  Central Coast cities are doing what they can to keep our urban forests as healthy as possible. It’s a tough balancing act for local city managers to meet the governor’s mandate on water rationing, while keeping trees alive. … ”  Read more from KCBX here: Central Coast cities working to keep urban forests alive during drought

Years later, 7 Tulare County towns still wait for clean drinking water: In 2011, folks in northern Tulare County were in an uproar about a project that seemed ready to get fresh Kings River water for seven communities where dangerous chemicals lurk in the well water.  The river water was made available — no small feat anywhere in California — yet the project was going nowhere. Foot-dragging state bureaucrats and technicalities were stopping it.  Four years later, there’s a different state agency handling the funding for drinking water projects. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Years later, 7 Tulare County towns still wait for clean drinking water

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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