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Daily Digest: Even in drought, CA water rights politically toxic; 2015 water year ends as hottest and driest on record; Poll says Californians willing to sacrifice in drought; and more …

In California water news today, Even in drought, California water rights politically toxic; Water, 2015, California: The no-good, very bad year — now, ‘pray for rain’; 2015 water year is hottest and driest on record; California drought will end, but it’s not the last; Poll: Californians willing to sacrifice in drought; Groundwater pumping could create problems; and more …

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Even in drought, California water rights politically toxic: It was the worst drought in California’s history.  Reservoirs hit new lows as a historically dry year was followed by the driest year ever recorded. Forty-seven of the state’s 58 counties declared drought emergencies, and officials urged Californians to flush their toilets less and let their lawns go brown. Central Valley farmers pumped more groundwater than usual to make up for lost rainfall.  Facing a crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown decided it might be time to tackle a thorny political subject: water rights. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Even in drought, California water rights politically toxic

Water, 2015, California: The no-good, very bad year — now, ‘pray for rain’:The year of the brown lawn and shortened showers concludes Wednesday, with water officials citing bleak statistics and expressing hope that the next few months will bring the heavy rains California so desperately needs.  “Water year” 2015 was hot, dry and fiery, compounding the misery brought on by a fourth year of drought.  “This is a real sobering period we’ve gone through,” Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson said. “We hope that a year from now we’re looking back at water year 2016 with a great deal of satisfaction to see the drought come down to a halt or at least slowed down in its intensity.”  “Pray for rain,” he added. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Water, 2015, California: The no-good, very bad year — now, ‘pray for rain’

2015 water year is hottest and driest on record:This probably comes as no surprise: California’s 2015 water year, which ends Wednesday, Sept. 30, was one of the warmest and driest on record.  The water year begins Oct. 1, the start of the rainy season, and ends Sept. 30. State hydrologists measure precipitation and runoff in key watersheds and forecast the supply for the spring and summer. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  2015 water year is hottest and driest on record

California drought will end, but it’s not the last:  “California’s drought will not be permanent. But the state needs to make changes to prepare for the next one.  So says Jay Lund, director of the Watershed Sciences Center at the University of California, Davis. Policymakers, businesses and others will have to prepare for the likelihood that droughts as severe as the current one are more likely to happen at least twice in people’s lifetime, Lund told CNBC. ... ”  Read more from CNBC here:  California drought will end, but it’s not the last

Poll: Californians willing to sacrifice in drought:  “The Hoover Institution’s Golden State Poll focused on how to address the state’s fourth year of drought. It found 54 percent of likely voters back current water cuts. An even higher percentage would support sharing groundwater or restricting its use.  A majority would also rather see people fined for using too much water rather than being forced to pay higher rates.  Carson Bruno, a research fellow with the Hoover Institution, says voters believe all measures should be taken to increase water supply in the state. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Poll: Californians willing to sacrifice in drought

Groundwater pumping could create problems:  “The California drought is tightening the noose on farmers, cities and homeowners as water supplies fall to near record levels.  “Most reservoirs in the state are at historic lows,” said Calvin Foster, area operations manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Success Lake. “[Lake] Isabella is down to 30,000 acre feet and we rarely see it below 100,000. It’s only been there a couple of times.” The lowest measurement for water in Success Lake was in 2007 at approximately 3,073 acre feet and Foster said the reservoir was “heading in that direction this year.” … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Groundwater pumping could create problems

And lastly … Reasons why Southern California will share with the north state in drought:Finally, we’ve found a use for Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels. They are going to be Northern California’s salvation. We’re going to fill it with Southern California water so we don’t dry away next summer. We are going to show those San Joaquin Valley farmers and those Angelenos what it’s like to be dependent.  Perhaps the folks south of the Delta missed the news a little more than a week ago. We certainly didn’t. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Reasons why Southern California will share with the north state in drought

In commentary today …

Westlands defends water deal in letter to LA Times: We disagree strenuously with Michael Hiltzik’s recent column on the Westlands Water District. (“Secret water deal sets an awful example,” Column, Sept. 20) As for any “secrecy,” the federal district court, Congress and interested nongovernmental organizations were regularly updated on the status of negotiations, and the terms of a potential settlement were shared in December 2013. We also disagree on the characterization of the terms of the settlement. Westlands is not immunized from cutbacks; the government may still impose environmental or drought restrictions as before. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here:  Westlands defends water deal in letter to LA Times

Column: Westlands Water District defends secret deal:  Michael Hiltzik writes, “The Westlands Water District, which reached a legal settlement with the federal government earlier this month after months of confidential negotiations, takes issue with my description of the deal as a secret arrangement that guarantees the district a permanent water supply while hamstringing policy-makers’ ability to plan for drought and climate change.   In a letter to the editor published Tuesday in The Times [the item above] …  Let’s take a closer look at Peracchi’s defense. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here:  Westlands Water District defends secret deal

In regional news and commentary today …

Butte County supervisors discuss whether to support Sites Reservoir: The Butte County Board of Supervisors discussed Tuesday whether to show support for the planned Sites Reservoir near Maxwell.  Chico-area Supervisor Larry Wahl suggested sending a letter to the state Water Commission supporting the project, which could store up to 1.8 million acre-feet of water by transferring water from the Sacramento River to an offstream site in Glenn and Colusa counties during the rainy season.  Chico-area Maureen Kirk indicated she wouldn’t sign the letter. Saying the project wasn’t a slam dunk, she said she wanted to wait until the county Water Commission adds its input. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Butte County supervisors discuss whether to support Sites Reservoir
Drought slows sudden oak death in Sonoma County: Four years of drought have slowed the spread of sudden oak death to its lowest level in a decade, but western Sonoma County remains one of the hot spots in the 15 infested counties from Monterey to Humboldt, and when rain comes again the tree-killer will resume its rampage through Northern and Central California woodlands.  Analysis of more than 2,100 bay laurel tree leaves sampled during an annual citizen-powered survey last spring found a 3.7 percent estimated rate of sudden oak death infection, down from 4.4 percent in 2014 and possibly the lowest level since the disease erupted in 1995. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Drought slows sudden oak death in Sonoma County

Folsom lake buoy measures water lost to air:State scientists have launched a probe onto the surface of Folsom Lake to try to figure out how much water is lost through evaporation.  The probe is a bathtub-sized buoy equipped with a half dozen scientific sensors to measure conditions such as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and water temperature at various depths. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Folsom lake buoy measures water lost to air

Lanes close as pipeline trenching begins in Davis:  “Now that pipes have been laid from Woodland to Davis to carry treated Sacramento River water south, trenching is underway in Davis to connect the new pipeline with city and UC Davis pipes.  The project will provide 10 million gallons a day to Davis water customers and 2 million gallons a day to UCD. The city is building 8 miles of pipeline to connect Davis to the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency’s pipes. ... ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Lanes close as pipeline trenching begins in Davis

Water rate structure finally approved in North Morada:  “The San Joaquin County Public Works Department received no protest votes from Morada residents on Tuesday opposing a proposed water rate, bringing to an end a months-long negotiation.  The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the water rate change for Community Service Area 46, also known as north Morada, to take effect Dec. 1.  “This has been a learning process,” board Vice Chairman Chuck Winn said. “I commend the community members of Morada, because I appreciate all of you being energized in this process. There’s been some outcome from all of this that we can definitely use as a reference for similar discussions in the future.” ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Water rate structure finally approved in north Morada

Stanislaus farm income reaches record high: Gross income for Stanislaus County farmers hit a record $4.4 billion in 2014, according to a report Tuesday that also noted increased production costs. High prices for almonds, milk and cattle accounted for most of the 20 percent jump in total income over the previous year, Agricultural Commissioner Milton O’Haire told the Board of Supervisors. Walnuts, chickens, turkeys, eggs, nursery plants and feed crops also had sizable gains. “We knew it was going to be good,” Supervisor Vito Chiesa said. “We didn’t know it would be that good.” … ” Read more here: Stanislaus farm income reaches record high

Rationing is rough in Central California town without water: California’s four year drought has the whole state in a water crisis, but no area has been harder hit than the state’s Central Valley, where the wells have run dry.  In the small town of Okieville, in Tulare County, residents are struggling to stay in their homes.  At Myra Marquez’s house, she checks the gauge on her 2500 gallon water tank before she touches a faucet. The tank gets filled every Monday. … ” Read more from CBS SF Bay Area here:  Rationing is rough in Central California town without water

Desal plant in Chula Vista expanding to 10 million gallons daily:  “The Sweetwater Authority broke ground Tuesday on a $42 million expansion of its groundwater desalination plant in Chula Vista that will double output to 10 million gallons daily.  The Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, which opened in 1999, turns brackish water from local wells into drinkable water. The expansion will include additional wells and more reverse-osmosis equipment to double the capacity.  “It’s local. It’s not subject to the drought. It doesn’t have to be imported from Colorado. Go Sweetwater!” said Chula Vista City Council Member Patricia Aguilar, in whose district the plant is located. … ”  Read more from the Times of San Diego here:  Desal plant in Chula Vista expanding to 10 million gallons daily

San Diego leaders to discuss water in DC:Leaders from San Diego and Baja are scheduled to participate in a “water roundtable” today as part of a four-day trip to Washington, D.C. led by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.  The trip, which runs through Wednesday, also includes meetings on trade, border issues, health care, cybersecurity and the economy. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego leaders to discuss water in DC

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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