Daily Digest: Judge backs California drought regulators; Great variability to groundwater issues; Workshops look at water bond storage spending; Tree collapses not likely drought related, say experts; and more …

In California water news today, Judge backs California drought regulators; Great variability to groundwater issues; Workshops look at water bond storage spending; Madera County supervisors support Temperance Flat group; Tree collapses not likely drought related, say experts; Researchers: Replenish aquifers by flooding farm fields; Drought relief by rail; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Judge backs California drought regulators:  “A judge has cleared the way for California’s drought police to go after water districts accused of illegally diverting water.  In a closely-watched case, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shellyanne Chang late Monday declined a Delta water district’s request for a preliminary injunction against the State Water Resources Control Board. The board is pursuing administrative enforcement actions against a handful of water districts for allegedly taking water to which they had no legal right.  … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Judge backs California drought regulators

Setback for Delta farmers:  “A judge has sided with state water cops over a small group of Delta farmers in the latest salvo over diversions during the drought.  Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang denied the farmers’ attempt to block the state from taking action against what it considers to be illegal water pumping.  The ruling, issued late Monday, came less than a month after the same judge rebuked the state for issuing “curtailment letters” that warned thousands of water users up and down the state to stop diverting or face fines. Those letters, sent before a formal hearing was held, were a violation of due process, the judge found then. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Setback for Delta farmers

Great variability to groundwater issues:  “People are learning: The groundwater issue is not one-size-fits-all.  While the drought brings renewed attention to the water stored beneath the ground and heightened concern about over-pumping the resource, there is great variability in groundwater quantities and levels in the Sacramento Valley.  And some areas are in more trouble than others.  But pinning down a broad statement that encompasses the entire issue is difficult, as groundwater levels can vary depending on soil type, the presence of surface water and proximity to rivers and streams. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Great variability to groundwater issues

Workshops look at water bond storage spending:  “Nine months after California voters passed the Proposition 1 water bond, the California Water Commission is conducting public workshops to discuss how bond money for water storage projects might be spent. The $7.12 billion bond measure includes $2.7 billion set aside for the public benefit of water storage projects.  At a workshop in Davis last week, commission officials indicated it will be several years before regulations and programs are finalized, and storage project proposals can be submitted. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Workshops look at water bond storage spending

Madera County supervisors support Temperance Flat group:Madera County supervisors joined a growing group of government leaders seeking money from the state’s water bond to build Temperance Flat Dam east of Millerton Lake.  On Tuesday, supervisors voted 5-0 to back the concept of a joint powers authority, an idea supported last month by Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Madera County supervisors support Temperance Flat group

Tree collapses not likely drought related, say experts:  “A 75-year-old pine tree collapsed outside a children’s museum in Pasadena last week, injuring eight children and hospitalizing two.  The incident stoked fears that the current California drought could lead to more tree collapses.  But local experts told NBC Bay Area that the factors leading to a tree collapse take time, so despite cutbacks in water usage statewide, it’s unlikely that recent collapses are due to thirsty trees. ... ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Tree collapses not likely drought related, say experts

Researchers: Replenish aquifers by flooding farm fields:  “A pair of researchers suggests replenishing vastly depleted groundwater supplies by flooding farm fields when the rains return.  Scientists Anthony O’Geen and Helen Dahlke of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources propose using some of the state’s 3.6 million acres of farms and ranches with suitable topography and soil conditions to recharge aquifers during winter months.  Already, many water agencies recharge groundwater by spreading water on open land and allowing it to percolate into aquifers, but dedicated sites for this type of recharge are scarce, UC experts say. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Researchers: Replenish aquifers by flooding farm fields

Drought relief by rail: Wait long enough at the roadside pull-off in southeastern Washington’s Wallula Gap, overlooking the nearly mile-wide Columbia River, and you’ll see one: A unit train of Bakken crude heading west. The string of 100-plus tank cars stretches more than a mile, yet it looks like a mere millipede in a landscape dominated by water and wide open spaces.  Knowing that some of these oil trains turn left near Wishram, Wash., and head south through Oregon to reach terminals in California makes you wonder. Could such trains be filled with water that could be delivered to some of the severely drought-stricken areas along the West Coast? … ”  Read more from Railway Age here:  Drought relief by rail

 

In commentary today …

Drought requires real solutions, not rollback of protections, says Kate Poole:  She writes, “Orange County Republican Rep. Mimi Walters recently wrote in these pages in support of – H.R. 2898, a bill sponsored by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, that purports to address California’s drought by slashing environmental protections and overriding state and federal laws that provide the foundation for water management in California.  In truth, this bill has little to do with California’s drought, as recognized by the bill’s many critics – from the White House to numerous elected officials to a long list of tribes and conservation and fishing groups. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Drought requires real solutions, not rollback of protections

The complicated subject of California groundwater issues: The Appeal-Democrat writes, “It’s a complicated subject, groundwater. If you don’t think so, try to pump it, buy it, transfer or sell it in California.  We asked reporter Andrew Creasey to give us a sort of groundwater issue primer; he wrote a story for the Monday issue. Some take-aways:  • You can know all about the groundwater in Yuba County, but have no clear picture of the groundwater situation in neighboring counties, let alone other areas and regions. As Creasey wrote, it is clearly not a “one-size-fits-all” sort of issue. Levels, quantities, depths and all sorts of dynamics, including soil types, surface water proximity, and, of course, demand — vary from one area to the next. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  The complicated subject of California groundwater issues

Australia can teach us about drought, says Carson Bruno:  He writes, “Just as students across California are working through their required summer reading lists, California’s officials should add a piece to theirs: “Water Markets in Australia: A Short History,” published by Australia’s National Water Commission.  Providing a snapshot into how Australia’s dysfunctional water trading system evolved into an efficient one, Australia’s experience, in many ways, provides a blueprint for reform.  Australia and California share many attributes that make water reform both challenging and necessary. Both have Mediterranean coasts and arid interiors coupled with precipitation patterns where water naturally occurs miles from the often-at-odds agricultural, municipal and environmental water demands. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Australia can teach us about drought, says Carson Bruno

In regional news and commentary today …

State warden thwarts theft of water from the Yuba River: Two men were caught by a state Fish and Wildlife warden over the weekend drawing water out of the Yuba River for what the officer said was likely for irrigation of marijuana plants.  The men had backed up a truck with a 500-gallon to 1,000-gallon tank to the river just below the Parks Bar Bridge on Highway 20, said Sean Pirtle, the state warden for Yuba County. Fish and Wildlife was alerted to the incident by a witness who reported that water was illegally being removed from the river.  “They had apparently done it on multiple occasions,” said Pirtle, who responded at about 10 a.m. Saturday.  … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  State warden thwarts theft of water from the Yuba River

Stockton: Port calls on property owners in hyacinth war:  “It’s summer in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and that’s when it arrives — thick floating, leafy islands of water hyacinth. The roots reach out to clutch the shore and then spread like the weed it is, engulfing the Delta’s waterways.  It’s also a threat to business in the Delta. About a quarter of boaters and anglers in California visit the Delta every year. Recreational fishing and boating generate more than 15,000 jobs in the area.  “Boaters are spending over half a billion dollars and fishers about a third of a billion,” said UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension economist George Goldman. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Journal here:  Port calls on property owners in hyacinth war

Oakdale Irrigation District agrees – again – to give farmers more water:  “Despite the drought, local farmers this year will get 44 inches of water per parcel instead of 40, Oakdale irrigation leaders decided Tuesday, because customers so far have used much less than expected.  “Who would have thought at the beginning (of the season) that people would just decide not to irrigate this year?” said Steve Knell, Oakdale Irrigation District general manager, at Tuesday’s meeting. The board in April set a 30-inch cap, later bumping it to 36 inches, and then to 40. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Oakdale Irrigation District agrees – again – to give farmers more water

Morada irrigation ban postponed:  “North Morada residents will not be subjected to an outdoor irrigation ban in the immediate future.  The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to postpone Stage III water emergency procedures for 113 homes in the north Morada area until results from a new rate proposal are determined.  A public hearing to consider a new water rate increase schedule is set for Sept. 29. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Morada irrigation ban postponed

San Clemente Dam teardown begins; completion expected by the end of the month:  “After 94 years, the San Clemente Dam is actually, finally coming down.  Last week, Granite Construction workers began tearing down the old dam on the Carmel River using a hoe ram, a kind of giant jackhammer chipping away at the concrete and reinforced steel structure. The rubble is being dumped into massive trucks and hauled off. The steel will be carted off to be disposed of, while the concrete will be buried elsewhere on the project site. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  San Clemente Dam teardown begins; completion expected by the end of the month

Bill puts Cambria on list for possible federal drought funding:  “Cambria’s emergency water-supply project has been included on a roster of 13 water-recycling projects that could qualify for federal funding under the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, a bill introduced July 29 by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.  A relentless drought for the past four years has turned most areas of the state to dust and fire tinder. Officials of the state, San Luis Obispo County and the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) — along with those from many other counties, cities and communities — have declared their areas to be in drought emergency status. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Bill puts Cambria on list for possible federal drought funding

Names and addresses of MWD lawn rebate recipients could be made public:  “The city of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Water District disagree over whether the names and addresses of people and companies who received turf removal rebates from the MWD should be made public. The skirmish points to a growing debate state wide about whether water-related data should be more transparent.  The Metropolitan Water District spent more than $340 million on its popular turf removal program. After initially withholding the information, Metropolitan told the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power it intended to release first and last names of applicants and recipients of turf rebates, as well as specific street addresses, in response to requests made under the California Public Records Act. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Names and addresses of MWD lawn rebate recipients could be made public

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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