California water news slider

Daily Digest: State plans taking land for Delta tunnels; Officials say Gov.’s water cutbacks likely to be extended; Tribes call on Bureau to release fish-kill prevention flows; and more plus tunnel hearing on webcast and late night comics on El Nino and drought

In California water news today, California Plans Taking Land for Huge Water Tunnels; Officials say Jerry Brown’s water cutbacks likely to be extended; Drought panel visits Salinas but says very little publicly; Tribes call on Bureau to release fish-kill prevention flows this week; California’s Central Valley is sinking – here’s why;  Drought makes being a shorebird more difficult; Mysterious fish with bite discovered in the Delta; Climate change could bring twice as many big El Ninos; What will happen when floods hit drought-parched California?; Feds project less chance of shortage for states using Colorado River water; and more, plus late night comics take on El Nino and the Drought

On the calendar today …

 

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will meet beginning at 9am.  Agenda items include an update on the ongoing drought emergency, an item regarding once-through cooling, and a discussion of board member priorities and organizational issues.  Click here for more informationClick here for the webcast.
  • Informational Hearing: Are the tunnels good for California?  Today at 9:30am, the Senate Select Committee on the Delta will hold an informational hearing on the Delta tunnels project.  Dr. Jeff Michael, Don Nottoli, Craig Wilson, and Dr. Christina Swanson to speak.  No agenda posted as of the weekend.  Hearing will be livestreamed on Senator Wolk’s website and on the California Channel.
  • Catalyst California: Adapting to new normals:  Join Circle of Blue for an interactive town hall with Climatologist Michael Anderson, Sandra Postel, Richard Luthy and others this morning at 10amClick here for more information.

In the news today …

[pullquote]

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

[/pullquote]

Records: California Plans Taking Land for Huge Water Tunnels:State contractors have readied plans to acquire as many as 300 farms in the California delta by eminent domain to make room for a pair of massive, still-unapproved water tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to documents obtained by opponents of the tunnels.  Farmers whose parcels were listed and mapped in the 160-page property-acquisition plan expressed dismay at the advanced planning for the project, which would build 30-mile-long tunnels in the delta formed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.  “What really shocks is we’re fighting this and we’re hoping to win,” said Richard Elliot, who grows cherries, pears and other crops on delta land farmed by his family since the 1860s. “To find out they’re sitting in a room figuring out this eminent domain makes it sound like they’re going to bully us … and take what they want.” … ”  Read more from ABC News here: Records: California Plans Taking Land for Huge Water Tunnels

Officials: Jerry Brown’s water cutbacks likely to be extended: Two state officials with local ties predicted Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic drought-spurred mandatory water restrictions aimed at achieving a 25-percent reduction in usage would be extended into future years — even with a wet winter.  Anna Caballero, secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, and John Laird, the state secretary of natural resources, said during a visit of the governor’s interagency drought task force to Salinas on Monday they expect the restrictions to be extended. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Officials: Jerry Brown’s water cutbacks likely to be extended

Drought panel visits Salinas but says very little publicly:  “The Governor’s Drought Task Force met with local government officials and other stakeholder leaders in Salinas on Monday.  All but the final 20 minutes of the meeting were held behind closed doors in a meeting room above Giorgio’s restaurant in Oldtown Salinas. Members of the media were allowed in at the conclusion of the meeting to talk with state and local officials.  The Governor’s Drought Task Force is holding meetings around the state to find out what water conservation efforts are working in various areas. Monday’s meeting was the first time the task force has met in Monterey County. … ”  Read more from the Salinas Californian here:  Drought panel visits Salinas but says very little publicly

Tribes call on Bureau to release fish-kill prevention flows this week:  “With ceremonial dam release flows expected to reach the Trinity River waters near Hoopa this evening, federal and tribal officials are still working out the details and timeline on another set of dam releases proposed to protect salmonids on the lower Klamath River from deadly infections caused by warm, low-flowing waters.  Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Director Mike Orcutt said he and other fisheries officials met with members of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region at the end of last week to discuss concerns and alternatives to a dam release plan released by the bureau in late July. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Tribes call on Bureau to release fish-kill prevention flows this week

California’s Central Valley is sinking – here’s why:  “California’s drought emergency is creating a crisis in one of the world’s most important farming regions, the San Joaquin Valley — the land is becoming as unstable as its water supply.  Every six weeks, Michelle Sneed visits a white shed, checking the pulley system and recording a measurement. The numbers show that the ground beneath her feet is sinking, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.  “We’re measuring the highest rates we’ve ever measured here, among the highest rates ever measured in the entire world,” said Sneed, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. … ”  Read more from CBS News here:  California’s Central Valley is sinking – here’s why

Drought makes being a shorebird more difficult:  “This is one of the riskiest times of life for migratory shorebirds like willets, dunlin, marbled godwits and others. As these birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway, they normally stop to rest and refuel at marshes, lakes and other waterways — after migrating thousands of miles from the north. Some come from as far as the Arctic circle with migration paths established for thousands of years, particular to their species.  But this year, birds migrating through northern California’s coast range and the Central Valley are finding dry areas where they expected lush wetlands. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Drought makes being a shorebird more difficult

Mysterious fish with bite discovered in the Delta:  “A Stockton woman reeled in a mysterious fish from the Delta last week.  Cathy Blanc thought she caught a piranha, but state wildlife officials confirmed it was a relative of the piranha, the pacu.  “I go ‘this looks like a piranha, sorta, something’s not right!'” said Blanc. “It was like a big pan-sized perch.” ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Mysterious fish with bite discovered in the Delta

Climate change could bring twice as many big El Ninos: Scientists have long wondered whether rising global temperatures will lead to an increase in intense El Niño events, like the one that could bring major storms to Southern California this winter. According to a groundbreaking study published Monday, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”  If human beings don’t slow their emission of planet-warming greenhouse gases, extreme El Niños could nearly double in frequency — from once every 28 years to once every 16 years on average, the new study found. That could spell trouble for California, which experienced mudslides, flooding and $500 million in damage during an intense El Niño in the late 1990s. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Climate change could bring twice as many big El Ninos

What will happen when floods hit drought-parched California?  “After four years of a near-biblical dry spell, it’s hard to think of California ever getting wet again. The entire state is scorching — literally, in the 118,000 acres engulfed in flames. But just last week climatologists announced that the “Godzilla El Niño” could drench California this winter. Droughts often end in floods. That may sound like a welcome respite, but it will almost certainly hurt: Going from drought to flood is one of the toughest switches to make.  Californians shouldn’t count on El Niño to cure the drought: It doesn’t reliably deliver rain to the state. But sooner or later the water will come. Then the only thing we’ll need to worry about more than figuring how to drive in anything resembling an actual “winter” is whether our state will sink and wash away. ... ”  Read more from The Grist here:  What will happen when floods hit drought-parched California?

Officials: Feds project less chance of shortage for states using Colorado River water:  “Wet weather in May and June brought good news Monday from federal water managers keeping close tabs on the Colorado River water supply for about 40 million residents in seven Southwest U.S. states.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projected normal water deliveries to residents, farms, tribes and businesses at least through 2016 and possibly through 2017, water agency officials in Arizona, Nevada and California said.  “We may have dodged a bullet for the next few years,” said William Hasencamp, Colorado River resources chief for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. … ”  Read more from FOX News here:  Feds project less chance of shortage for states using Colorado River water

In commentary today …

Brown’s new Delta fix makes all sorts of economic sense:  Betty Jo Toccoli writes, “Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Department of Water Resources recently released a revised environmental document detailing an updated approach for the California WaterFix – the plan to improve the statewide water distribution system that supplies water to two-thirds of California’s homes, farms and businesses.  The California Small Business Association supports the plan because the availability of a reliable water supply is of great importance to all of our members. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Brown’s new Detla fix makes all sorts of economic sense

Why California’s droughts are only going to get worse:  Jeremy Proville writes, “California is now well into its fourth consecutive year of drought. This is not without consequences. Tensions in the state have mounted as urban and agricultural water users become increasingly stressed by water shortages — but we can’t blame the almond farmers. There are many factors at play here, notably a complex water cycle and conveyance network, as well as a somewhat archaic legal landscape. One thing that all Californians can agree upon is that we need to find solutions, because the drought is affecting livelihoods and the environment in a serious way. ... ”  Read more from Live Science here:  Why California’s droughts are only going to get worse

A California water mystery: the vital spring-fed streams of the Shasta Region: Andrew Braugh writes, “The winter of 2015 was the driest winter in California’s recorded history. But despite the great drought – and perhaps the worst arid spell for California in 1,200 years – spring-fed water flows steadily in parts of Northern California.  You read that correctly. Even with a fourth consecutive summer of record-setting drought, water from the depths of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen and the Medicine Lake Volcano rises insistently to the surface, providing life for people, fish and wildlife, agriculture and hydropower.  … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  A California water mystery: the vital spring-fed streams of the Shasta Region

In regional news and commentary today …

Second time around for Glenn County talk on moratorium on new wells: Time will tell when enough rain and snow returns to Northern California to refill aquifers. Wells have dropped over the past four years of drought. Until things are back to normal, some folks in Glenn County want to see a halt to new well drilling.  Tuesday, the issue will be before the Glenn County Board of Supervisors, at the request of farmer Sharron Ellis.  Ellis is joined by several people from the group Save Our Water Resources, which rallied in 2009 in opposition of a proposed Crystal Geyser water bottling plant near Orland. Crystal Geyser backed out of the plans after several challenges by SOWR. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Second time around for Glenn County talk on moratorium on new wells

Barge part of plan to keep water flowing from Folsom Lake during drought:  “Crews at Folsom Lake are working on a project to keep the water flowing to the community and prison, both of which are in danger of running dry during California’s drought.  A barge made up of a few large floating platforms linked together with pumps links to the city of Folsom are part of a plan they hope to not use. ... ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Barge part of plan to keep water flowing from Folsom Lake during drought

Santa Cruz: Beach lagoon breached to alleviate flooding:  “About a quarter of Main Beach was fenced off from sunbathers Monday as workers bulldozed a massive diagonal trench from the San Lorenzo River’s mouth to the Monterey Bay.  To alleviate flooding in the area, the city of Santa Cruz is stepping in to help nature along, while remaining careful not to damage the local habitat, said Scott Collins, assistant to the city manager. The 7-foot-deep river has been seeping below the levies that are meant to contain a river up to 5 feet deep, sending water into low-lying properties nearby, Collins said. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Beach lagoon breached to alleviate flooding

Valley growers ripping out, selling trees in hopes of saving water: The drought continues to hurt the Valley citrus industry as more groves are being bulldozed.  It’s easy to spot the impacts of the drought on citrus. The California Citrus Mutual estimates up to 15,000 acres will be bulldozed this year. Across the Valley, growers are ripping out trees and planting new ones — hoping to save water. … ”  Read more from ABC 30 here:  Valley growers ripping out, selling trees in hopes of saving water

Firebaugh, Fowler, and Huron approve program to conserve water and energy:  “The City Councils of Firebaugh, Fowler and Huron have voted to make the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program available to local residents.  HERO PACE financing enables homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and pay for them over time through their property tax bill. Interest is tax-deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on utility bills. Residents may begin submitting applications for HERO later this year. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Business Journal here:  Firebaugh, Fowler, and Huron approve program to conserve water and energy

Overcharged DWP customers would get tens of millions of dollars back under settlement:  “It was hailed as a modern makeover of an aging, inefficient way to bill customers. Instead, the new system at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power became a nightmare, spewing out thousands of faulty bills, some wildly inflated.  When upset customers called the utility for help, many languished on hold for a half-hour or more.  Nearly two years later, the utility announced Monday that it would credit or refund tens of millions of dollars to customers who were overbilled during the botched rollout, under a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement between the utility and aggrieved customers. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Overcharged DWP customers would get tens of millions of dollars back under settlement

Expert panel says subsurface intakes for Poseidon Huntington Beach desal plant too costly: The fate of a proposed water desalination plant in Huntington Beach remains uncertain after a panel of experts has concluded that it would be too expensive to build it using intake pipes under the sea floor. That was the approach favored by the California Coastal Commission, whose approval is needed to begin construction.   A report released Monday by the Independent Scientific Technical Advisory Panel found that although a subsurface intake system could be constructed to produce 50 million gallons a day, the economic viability is “highly uncertain” and faces financing risks that could keep the desalination plant from being built. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Expert panel says subsurface intakes for Poseidon Huntington Beach desal plant too costly

And lastly …

Late night comics take on the El Nino, the drought, and the Animas mine spill: Vote for your favorite at USA Today here:  Punchlines: It may take El Niño to save California

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: