Daily Digest: Poll: California’s drought heavy on the mind; “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” retires; Study tells the Delta’s little known story; Deal on the Stanislaus helps fish, farmers; and more …

In California water news today, Poll: California's drought heavy on the mind; “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” retires; Evidence mounts for El Nino that could ease California drought; A culture of nagging helps Californians save water; Drought puts extra pressure on non-profits; Study tells the Delta's little known story; Healthy soils reduce water pollution; Scholars urge more research on the future of the Colorado River; The Colorado River's desalination plant is on its last legs; and more …

In the news today …

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Also on Maven's Notebook today …

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Poll: California's drought heavy on the mind:  “California’s punishing drought has taken a firm grip on the electorate’s conscience, with more than 3 in 4 voters describing the state’s water shortage as extremely serious, according to a new poll.  The Field Poll, released Tuesday, follows months of mandatory water restrictions, public relations campaigns and media focus on the drought.  Seventy-six percent of registered voters describe the drought as “extremely serious,” an uptick from earlier this year, according to the poll. Eighteen percent of voters say the drought is “somewhat serious.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Poll: California’s drought heavy on the mind

“Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” retires, making room for rain:  “The high pressure system that has shunted storms away from California for much of the past four years has dissipated, possibly for a long time.  The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge — as meteorologists and forecasters have dubbed the system because of its unusual persistence — has been absent for more than a month, according to a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” retires, making room for rain

Evidence mounts for El Nino that could ease California drought: Evidence is mounting that the El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific will spawn a rainy winter in California, potentially easing the state’s punishing drought but also bringing the risk of chaotic storms like those that battered the region in the late 1990s.  In the clearest warning yet that Southern California could be due for a deluge, meteorologists said in a report last week that the already strong El Nino has a 95 percent chance of lasting through the winter before weakening in the spring.  “This is as close as you're going to get to a sure thing,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, calling this El Nino “too big to fail.” … ”  Read more from CBS News here:  Evidence mounts for El Nino that could ease California drought

A culture of nagging helps Californians save water:  “Californians sharply cut water use this summer, prompting state officials to credit their new conservation policies and the sting of thousands of warnings and penalties that they had issued to people for overuse.  But the most effective enforcers may be closer to home: the domestic water police.  They are the moms and dads, spouses and partners, children, even co-workers and neighbors who are quick to wag a finger when they spot people squandering moisture, such as a faucet left running while they’re brushing their teeth, or using too much water to clean dinner plates in the sink. And showers? No lingering allowed. … “  Read more from the New York Times here:  A culture of nagging helps Californians save water

Paper plates and plastic forks?  Drought restriction rankles restaurants and diners: Four years of drought have forced most Californians to shoulder some inconvenience. Homeowners have had to watch their lawns go brown, city halls have turned off their ornamental fountains and hotels have had to implore their guests to use their towels twice.  But in the small city of Fort Bragg, an unusual new water rule has thrust the north coast town into the state's drought spotlight.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Paper plates and plastic forks? Drought restriction rankles restaurants and diners

Drought puts extra pressure on non-profits:  “Nonprofit organizations up and down the San Joaquin Valley, including many in Tulare County, have been struggling to keep up with the regular demands of those who don’t have enough food to eat or cannot pay for basic necessities. In the past year, those food kitchens, food pantries and others have been struggling to address the added burdens the drought has placed on thousands of families. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Drought puts extra pressure on non-profits

Study tells the Delta's little known story: Some see it as a water spigot. Others see it as a wildlife sanctuary.  But few see the Delta as a unique place in itself, with a rich human history dating back thousands of years.  A yearlong project recently completed for the Delta Protection Commission presents much of that history in one place for perhaps the first time. The work is meant to increase public appreciation of the overlooked estuary, and to preserve its mostly untold stories for future generations. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Study tells the Delta’s little known story

New mining laws may prompt litigation actions: Among the batch of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week is one that sets new water quality regulations on certain types of mining popular in the North Coast area and could result in the state lifting its ban on new mining activity that began in 2009.  The bill’s success could also lead to the Karuk Tribe dropping its lawsuit against the state, which is challenging the strength of the state’s previously adopted mining regulations. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Herald here:  New mining laws may prompt litigation actions

Healthy soils reduce water pollution: On a bright October morning in a hotel parking lot, Greg Scott turns on the rainfall simulator.  The machine’s swiveling nozzle sprays fat drops on five soil samples held in trays a few feet below. Some soil is bare; other samples are planted with prairie grass, wheat, and other field crops. Within minutes dirty, sediment-saturated water begins flowing off the plots that are not anchored by vegetation. In the other trays, the drops soak into the ground. The little water that does run off the planted trays is much cleaner, the color of green tea. The lesson of the artificial cloudburst is clear: neglect the soil and water will suffer. … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Healthy soils reduce water pollution

Scholars urge more research on the future of the Colorado River: A coalition of scholars across the West is urging the federal government to partner with the National Academy of Sciences to study the future of the Colorado River, including if climate change is leading to reduced stream flow.  Twenty-three scholars from Western universities sent a letter Tuesday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell detailing their request for more scientific research on a host of issues related to the Colorado River.  Chief among the concerns is if there will be enough water in the river to support 36 million users in seven U.S. states and parts of Mexico over the next 50 years. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Scholars urge more research on the future of the Colorado River

The Colorado River's desalination plant is on its last legs:  ” … [The Paradox Valley] was formed millions of years ago, when a huge dome of salt collapsed. Now, that salt remains, buried just within the earth, and as a white, crystalline blanket atop the red soil.  And that’s a problem. The waters of the Dolores pick up that salt and carry it to the Colorado River, where it eventually degrades the water quality for downstream cities and farmers. For about a quarter century, however, an unassuming facility has been tackling this salt.  … It’s perhaps the most critical piece of a massive project designed to keep salt out of the Colorado River, but it’s in trouble. … ”  Read the full story at High Country News here:  The Colorado River’s desalination plant is on its last legs

This is how rising seas will reshape the face of the United States: In a new study, a team of scientists who specialize in studying rising seas bring the implications of their research right to the U.S.’s doorstep — calculating just how many American cities and municipalities are at risk of being flooded in the future, as well as how many may already be committed to that fate.  The striking result is that millions of Americans may already live on land destined to be someday — albeit perhaps in a very distant future — reclaimed by the sea. But the number for whom this is true will rise dramatically if carbon dioxide emissions continue unchecked — or, if recent concerns about the destabilization of the ice sheet of West Antarctica turn out to be well founded. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  This is how rising seas will reshape the face of the United States

In commentary today …

California's water hogs need a little sunshine, says the Sacramento Bee: Californians dutifully have put buckets in showers, cut back on watering lawns, and replaced grass with pebbles and drought-tolerant plants.  Some of us, that is.  Rich people living in enclaves such as Bel Air don’t seem to have gotten the message that we’re all in this together. And we’re not talking about people who take long showers.  The Center for Investigative Reporting, using the California Public Records Act, found that 365 residences in the Golden State used more than 1 million gallons of water during the year ending in April. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California’s water hogs need a little sunshine

Columns: Water battle pits pot against fish:  Thomas Elias writes, “As the state moves toward taxing marijuana growers for the first time, those same growers also are starting to face restrictions on water use, just like farmers of more conventional crops.  One reason is that the water consumption of pot farms has caused serious depredations of salmon and trout runs in several Northern California streams, most notably the Eel River and its tributary streams in the so-called “Emerald Triangle” of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties. Marijuana has long been the largest cash crop in that region. … ”  Read more from the Whittier Daily News here:  Water battle pits pot against fish

In regional news and commentary today …

Groundwater regulation up for discussion at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors: Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday are set to establish a framework for developing the local public entities that will oversee implementation of California’s landmark laws regulating groundwater.The new laws, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year amid the state’s historic drought, could lead to limits on pumping and drilling in depleted underground basins. In Sonoma County, they require the formation of so-called “sustainability agencies” to regulate activity in three basins — which contain most of the county’s underground water supply — by June 30, 2017. ... ”  Read more from the Press Democrat here:  Groundwater regulation up for discussion at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors

Stockton: Hyacinth forces cancellation of holiday boat parade again:  “Another water hyacinth invasion has forced the cancellation of Stockton’s Lighted Boat Parade for the second year in a row, raising questions about the long-term viability of one of the city's most unique holiday traditions.  Monday’s announcement was a blow for those hoping that an extra $4 million dedicated to hyacinth control efforts and a more aggressive schedule for applying herbicides would lead to noticeable improvement in 2015. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Hyacinth forces cancellation of holiday boat parade again

Mokelumne River bill signed into law: Conservationists cheered Friday after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, that grants temporary wild and scenic river protection to 37 miles of the Mokelumne River east of Pardee Reservoir. Bigelow represents Calaveras County.  The bill by Bigelow, who represents Calaveras County, also requires that studies be done to assess the river’s suitability for permanent wild and scenic protection.  “We see this as a major milestone in our decades-long effort to protect the Mokelumne from new dams and diversions,” said Foothill Conservancy President Katherine Evatt. ... ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here:  Mokelumne River bill signed into law

Deal on the Stanislaus helps fish, farmers:  “A deal that averted a legal showdown between the Department of Water Resources and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District/Oakdale Irrigation District will help fish, bring some relief to stressed farmers down the valley, and give the two districts cash to further step up their conservation efforts.  The deal involves using 23,000 acre feet of water the two districts have in their conservation account at New Melones Reservoir and releasing it over a 24-day period from Saturday through Nov. 14 into the Stanislaus River for fall fish flows. Once it reaches the Delta it will then be taken by San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority that will pay $500 an acre foot or $11.5 million. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Deal on the Stanislaus helps fish, farmers

Monterey: Groundwater replenishment project forges ahead of desal project in PUC review:A groundwater replenishment project aimed at providing the Monterey Peninsula with potable recycled water continued to forge ahead of California American Water’s desalination project during a state Public Utilities Commission hearing Monday.  But a three-person PUC panel made it clear it wants both projects to proceed in a speedy manner despite recent delays and challenges.  The panel — judges Gary Weatherford and Burton Mattson and Commissioner Catherine Sandoval — indicated it prefers to conduct evidentiary hearings in January on the groundwater project, specifically on a water purchase agreement between Cal Am and project backers the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District that would allow recycled water deliveries to the Peninsula. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Groundwater replenishment project forges ahead of desal project in PUC review

The hunt to find – and fine – the wet prince of Bel Air: Alarmed by a Reveal investigation, four Los Angeles city councilmen are demanding a crackdown on residents who are using millions of gallons of water per year during California’s crippling drought.  In a motion set for hearing Wednesday, Councilman Paul Koretz asks the city’s Department of Water and Power to consider “imposing severe financial penalties” and even shutting off water service for the largest guzzlers. … ”  Read more from Reveal here:  The hunt to find – and fine – the wet prince of Bel Air

Southern California:  IRS may come knocking for some who received turf rebates: Tina House spent months on the math of water conservation, trying to figure out what to do about the thirsty parkways that wrap around her family's Pasadena home.  On her stately stretch of East Mountain Street, those strips of grass between the sidewalk and the street are as big as yards in some other neighborhoods.  Turning off the sprinklers on the 2,100-square-foot parkway would cut about $40 a month from the family's water bill. But replacing the grass with something more drought friendly would cost several thousand dollars — an expense that could take a decade to recoup. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  IRS may come knocking for some who received turf rebates

Temecula: Drought surcharge reduced by Rancho Water:  “The vote wasn’t unanimous but the Rancho California Water District board recently reduced a drought surcharge that heavily penalizes customers who exceed their water budgets.  The two-tier surcharge structure that was put in place this summer charged ratepayers $3.40 per hundred cubic feet of water if they were between 1 and 15 percent over their allotted budgets. Those who exceeded 15 percent faced an additional cost of $6.80 per hundred cubic feet. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Temecula: Drought surcharge reduced by Rancho 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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