Daily Digest: Fire, flood and drought: ‘El Nino is a cruel system’; A trip to the water-wise California city of 2040; Water cuts threaten bird’s rice field habitat; Delta rock barrier ruling; and more …

In California water news today, Fire, flood and drought: ‘El Nino is a cruel system’; El Nino DNA seen in Southern California storm as Northern California continues to burn; A trip to the water-wise California city of 2040; Water cuts threaten rice field habitat for birds; Judge rules too late to fight Delta rock barrier; Scientists release report on groundwater; The last time California was this dry, people thought the sun revolved around the earth; Westlands agrees to clean up contaminated water; Welcome rain reaches West Coast: Rain to last through Thursday; and more …

On the calendar today …

 

 

  • The California Water Commission will meet beginning at 9:30 am.  Agenda items include an update on State Water Project critical issues, a briefing on comments received during the public comment period for the Basin Boundary Regulation, and continuing work on the Water Storage Investment Program.  Click here for the agendaClick here for the webcast.
  • The Delta Independent Science Board will meet on this morning from 9 am to 12:15pm.  Click here for more information.
  • The Delta Conservancy Program and Policy Subcommittee will meet on this afternoon from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm at the Conservancy’s office in West Sacramento. The meeting will include a discussion of the Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Grant Program and Eco Restore Regional Planning efforts. The full agenda can be found here.

 

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Fire, flood and drought: In Calif., ‘El Nino is a cruel system’:Vast swaths of forest are so brittle and bone-dry they burn up in an instant. A vicious wildfire, whipped up by hot, arid winds and moving faster than anything in recent memory, consumed tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours. Hundreds of homes and at least one person have been lost in the inferno that’s still barely contained.  That’s in California’s north.  Drive south on Tuesday, and you would have found darkened skies and heavy sheets of rain pounding the parched earth around Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Fire, flood and drought: In Calif., ‘El Nino is a cruel system’

El Nino DNA seen in Southern California storm as Northern California continues to burn: While Northern California continued to go up in flames Tuesday, a record rainfall was sweeping across the southern part of the state — a reminder written in fire and rain that California is never far from the precipice of disaster.  The hellish glow illuminating the night skies in fire-stricken towns like Middletown and Hidden Valley was 450 miles from the parts of Los Angeles County that were inundated Tuesday morning with more than 2½ inches of rain. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  El Nino DNA seen in Southern California storm as Northern California continues to burn

Future of Water: A trip to the water-wise California city of 2040:  “Cities are already being asked to cut back water use in the face of the crippling four-year drought. But as droughts become more frequent and more prolonged in the future, cities will be asked to cut back even more.   So let’s take a look at how the relationship between water and urban dwellers might change by the year 2040.  Neighborhoods may be interlinked with rainwater capture systems that collect water through such methods as towering inverted umbrella-like structures. Community “bladder houses” would store rainwater and household graywater for later use. ... ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Future of Water: A trip to the water-wise California city of 2040

Water cuts threaten rice field habitat for birds:  “With rice harvest underway, Sacramento Valley farmers say they’re concerned about getting autumn water on fields for crop decomposition and habitat for migrating birds. Officials have not announced final decisions about if or how much fall and winter water will be available this year.  Waiting in the wings are an estimated 4 million to 6 million migratory birds that winter in the Central Valley each year. Wildlife refuge managers say 80,000 pintail ducks—typically among the first birds to arrive in the valley—are already settling into wetlands. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Water cuts threaten rice field habitat for birds

Judge rules too late to fight Delta rock barrier:  “A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing California of damaging protected fish by completing an emergency drought project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill ruled the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought by the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability, which claimed state and federal agencies violated the Endangered Species Act by building a 750-foot-wide rock barrier across a channel of the Delta in May. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service:  Judge rules too late to fight Delta rock barrier

Scientists release report on groundwater:  “The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report last week that looks to setting measurable objectives to achieve sustainable groundwater management in California.  The report comes after the California legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 due to the record drought and unprecedented amount of groundwater pumping.  This was the first ever statewide effort to comprehensively measure and manage groundwater, according to the State Water Board. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Scientists release report on groundwater

The last time California was this dry, people thought the sun revolved around the earth: California’s historic drought may be even more exceptional than we thought. In a study published yesterday, scientists made a startling discovery about the severity of California’s dry spell: They estimated that the Sierra Nevada mountain range’s snowpack levels this year are the lowest they’ve been for 500 years. That’s right, since roughly the year 1500. … ”  Read more from Mother Jones here:  The last time California was this dry, people thought the sun revolved around the earth

Westlands agrees to clean up contaminated water: The nation’s largest irrigation district agreed to clean up contaminated water in California’s fertile Central Valley in a tentative deal announced Tuesday, settling a decades-old dispute with the federal government.  Westlands Water District will clean up water tainted by salt that has accumulated in soil from years of irrigation, General Manager Thomas Birmingham said. Federal officials have failed for more than half a century to do the work that the district will undertake, he said. The Department of the Interior said the deal will save taxpayers $3.5 billion. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Westlands agrees to clean up contaminated water

Welcome rain reaches West Coast: Rain to last through Thursday:  “The arrival of rainfall across the West Coast will bring some relief for firefighters battling wildfires as well as the ongoing drought.  According to Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde, “As one area of low pressure exited the Northwest, another will move in on Wednesday with rain spreading from San Francisco to Seattle.”  Welcome rainfall will fall in cities such as Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; Portland, Salem and Medford, Oregon; and Eureka and Redding, California. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Welcome rain reaches West Coast

In regional news and commentary today …

Yurok Tribe withdraws from Klamath Basin agreements:  “The following was issued by the Yurok Tribe:  Over the past decade, the Yurok Tribe has worked diligently to bring together diverse irrigation, environmental, tribal, power industry, federal, and state parties to develop a workable solution for the Klamath River that would remove the Klamath River dams, restore the fishery, and protect tribal water rights. These efforts, along with the efforts of others, resulted in the historic Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and related Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), collectively called the Klamath Agreements. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Yurok Tribe withdraws from Klamath Basin agreements

Oroville: Families, fish flock to opening of fish ladder:  “Salmon weren’t the only creatures waiting for Monday’s opening of the fish ladder at the Feather River Fish Hatchery.  The opening of the ladder for the fall run brought people of all ages to witness the chinook salmon leap their way up a narrow, stepped concrete channel to the hatchery. Once the fish arrive at the facility off Table Mountain Boulevard, their eggs will be harvested and fertilized. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Families, fish flock to opening of fish ladder

Bay Area: Vision for future needs to account for rising sea levels:  “A powerful state agency on Wednesday will kick off what is described as a multiyear effort to convince us that it’s high time the Bay Area begins to focus on how we’ll cope with rising sea levels in the decades ahead.  Good luck with that.  While the consensus of credible scientific forecasters is that the water levels in San Francisco Bay will rise at least 3 feet by 2100, distant threats are no match for topical dramas. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Vision for future needs to account for the rising waters all around us

East Bay: Tri-Valley water rates likely headed higher because customers used less:  “Drought-conscious residents in some East Bay communities have outdone the rest of the state, slashing their water use even more than they were asked.  But their success is causing trouble for a local water provider that has watched its sales dry up — and now plans to charge more for water to make up the difference.   ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here:  Tri-Valley water rates likely headed higher because customers used less

Southland rain could be preview of El Nino to come:  “It swamped streets, spilled into buildings, sent mud in motion and roiled rivers where rescue crews aided those swept up in the water overflow.  Then the downpour that stunned the drought-weary Southland with its intensity slunk off in the sun.  But if experts are right, the deluge offered a preview for the wet El Niño winter ahead. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Southland rain could be preview of El Nino to come

November vote for San Diego rate hike:  “The San Diego City Council on Tuesday scheduled a Nov. 17 public hearing to vote on a 17 percent water rate hike for next year.  Council members directed staff to send out detailed public notices to the city’s 275,000 customers about how they would be affected by the proposed hikes, but also expressed concerns that the proposal would increase rates for customers who have sharply cut back this summer.  The proposed increases — 9.8 percent on Jan. 1 and 6.9 percent on July 1 — have been endorsed by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst, multiple environmental groups and the public policy committee of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  November vote for San Diego rate hike

Southern Nevada Water Authority could lease water to Southern California: The Southern Nevada Water Authority would dip into its reserves to lease water to drought-stricken California under a plan slated for a vote by the agency’s board Thursday.  Under the deal, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would pay the authority almost $44.4 million for 150,000 acre-feet of water, half of Nevada’s annual share of the Colorado River.  To free up that much water for California this year, the authority plans to withdraw about 75,000 acre-feet of unused Colorado River water from its virtual bank account in Lake Mead and send it downstream through Hoover Dam. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Southern Nevada Water Authority here:  Southern Nevada Water Authority could lease water to Southern California

weatherPrecipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service:  “A fall weather system will move across the region today spreading precipitation south and east to around the Interstate 80 corridor. Precipitation amounts of a quarter to half and inch will be possible in the Coast Range with much lighter amounts expected further inland. Snow levels will lower to around 7000 feet bringing some light accumulations to the peaks of the southern Cascade Range and far northern Sierra.”

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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