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Daily Digest: Feinstein, Boxer hopeful for compromise to increase water; Why the state’s poorest towns still can’t connect to water systems; Massive El Nino is now ‘too big to fail”; and more …

In California water news today, Senators drill into water bill; Feinstein, Boxer hopeful for compromise to increase state water; Why California’s poorest towns still can’t connect to water systems; Massive El Nino is now ‘too big to fail”; El Nino: When will it start raining?; New forecast says El Nino could help Northern California, ease drought; Sacramento Valley birds impacted by post-harvest drought; Deadly Toxic Algae Blooming On Sacramento County Waterways During Drought; Manteca:  Levee upgrade scaring off home builders

In the news today …

Senators drill into water bill:  “Ever-hopeful lawmakers on Thursday conjured the vision of a compromise California water bill that succeeds instead of fails.  It may be a mirage.  But in a long-awaited hearing, the chairwoman of a key Senate committee zeroed in on some specific, concrete details that could be the basis for real-world legislation. Water storage, recycling and desalination projects could be the foundation for a deal, some believe.  “We’ve got some things we can be building on,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “Clearly, we’ve got some real differences. The way we’re going to work this out is to work together.” … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Senators drill into water bill”

Feinstein, Boxer hopeful for compromise to increase state water:Four years into California’s epic drought, a Senate committee heard Thursday from California lawmakers proposing two wildly conflicting approaches to water shortages, hoping to meld a compromise that could come together by the time El Niño arrives in the state.  Led by two Western women — Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell — the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee may be the most promising arena yet for a compromise on water between House Republicans, representing the state’s farming interests, and California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Feinstein, Boxer hopeful for compromise to increase state water

Panel seeks to craft foundation for broad drought bill:Senate efforts to pass drought relief legislation for California and the West will hinge on key negotiators’ ability to come closer to agreement, Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) signaled yesterday.  During a legislative hearing that offered the first major public discussion of issues that have been the focus of backroom negotiations for months, she repeatedly pressed witnesses for areas of common ground.  “We could talk about Goldilocks here, and which one is too big, too small, which one is just right,” Murkowski said, referring to the pair of California measures before the committee — H.R. 2898 from Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and S. 1894 from California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. ... ” Read more from E&E Publishing here: Panel seeks to craft foundation for broad drought bill

No easy path to drought relief:  “A Senate committee hearing Thursday on legislation to provide drought relief in the West showed why passing anything on this issue is so difficult.  The hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee focused on two bills to provide help to California — House-passed legislation sponsored by Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., and a proposal by Democratic California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. … ”  Read more from the Salinas Californian here:  No easy path to drought relief

MORE ON THE SENATE DROUGHT HEARING:  Watch the webcast and read the witness statements here: Full committee legislative hearing on Western and Alaska Water Legislation

Why California’s poorest towns still can’t connect to water systems:  “In Matheny Tract, California, the sour odor of sewage is especially strong in the morning—and so is the irony that residents can’t connect to the system it represents.  The poor, unincorporated community of roughly 300 homes sits adjacent to the city of Tulare, population 61,000. A single, dusty field is all that separates Matheny Tract’s mostly African-American and Latino residents from Tulare’s recently expanded wastewater treatment plant. Though Tulare’s sewer system is more robust than ever, Matheny Tract residents must use septic tanks, since they are not part of the city. For a dense settlement, this spells trouble. ... ”  Read more from CityLab here:  Why California’s poorest towns still can’t connect to water systems

Massive El Nino is now ‘too big to fail”:An El Niño that is among the strongest on record is gaining strength in the Pacific Ocean, and climate scientists say California is likely to face a wet winter.  “There’s no longer a possibility that El Niño wimps out at this point. It’s too big to fail,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.  “And the winter over North America is definitely not going to be normal,” he said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Massive El Nino is now ‘too big to fail’

El Nino: When will it start raining?:  “One of the strongest El Niño winters ever recorded since modern records first began in 1950 continues to grow in the Pacific Ocean, federal scientists reported Thursday.  So, with the likelihood for a wet winter increasing across drought-parched California, residents staring at empty reservoirs and dead lawns are asking: “When will it start pouring?”The answer, experts said Thursday, is that winter storms in strong El Niño years typically bring more rain to California than normal, but they don’t do it any earlier.  … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  El Nino: When will it start raining?

New forecast says El Nino could help Northern California, ease drought:  “El Niño might put a dent in the drought after all.  In a revised forecast Thursday, the National Weather Service said Northern California stands a decent chance of getting significant precipitation from this winter’s El Niño weather pattern, a development that could help ease the state’s four-year drought.  Until now, forecasters have been saying this winter likely would bring heavy rains to Southern California, which is typical for El Niño, but they’ve been less certain about the outlook for the northern half of the state. Because the state’s major reservoirs are in the north, that’s where the rain and snow need to fall to substantially bolster the state’s water supplies. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New forecast says El Nino could help Northern California, ease drought

New front in battle over Mt. Shasta’s ‘sacred’ spring water:Facing a lawsuit and mounting local opposition, Crystal Geyser has agreed to study the environmental effects of reopening a bottling plant near Mount Shasta.  Company officials recently became aware the proposed plant would require a permit from the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District. As a result, they agreed to conduct an environmental impact report (EIR), a comprehensive look at how water extractions will affect the region. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here: New front in battle over Mt. Shasta’s ‘sacred’ spring water

Sacramento Valley birds impacted by post-harvest drought:  “Water managers and wildlife conservationists say the need for water isn’t diminished by the end of the rice harvest.  Rice is a major part of the agricultural economy in the Sacramento Valley. Even though the growing season is over and rice is being harvested, the effects of the drought persist.  Much of the harvested rice acreage needs to be re-flooded to decompose leftover rice straw. But the water also benefits the water fowl that use the flooded fields to feed in preparation of migration. … ”  Read more from Fox News here:  Sacramento Valley birds impacted by post-harvest drought

Deadly Toxic Algae Blooming On Sacramento County Waterways During Drought: “Sacramento County health officials are warning the public and their pets to stay away from water that has scum layers or any other bloom of blue-green algae.  Signs are up along Sacramento’s waterways warning to stay out of the water, because of the toxic algae thriving in California’s drought and warm temperatures.  “The drought conditions are similar to conditions that favor algae growth,” said health department spokesman John Rogers. “Low water flows,river slows down, and allows areas for algae to accumulate.” ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Deadly Toxic Algae Blooming On Sacramento County Waterways During Drought

Manteca:  Levee upgrade scaring off home builders:  “Is a bill designed to protect California’s agricultural heart from massive future floods preventing new home construction? According to Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore, that’s exactly what is happening in a community that was once booming with new residential growth. Now, with River Islands moving ahead as an almost separate entity of the city itself, the standard residential developments that were supposed to take place before the housing market crashed are failing to grab traction with financiers that would typically bankroll such projects.  … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Levee upgrade scaring off home builders

EBMUD expects to fine 5,000 homeowners for using too much water:The East Bay Municipal Utilities District expects to fine up to 5,000 homeowners for using too much water as it plans to enact a new ordinance during California’s historic drought. ... ”  Read more for CBS Sacramento here:  EBMUD expects to fine 5,000 homeowners for using too much 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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