Daily Digest: El Nino keeps getting stronger; raises chances of drenching rains; Folsom hits lowest depth in 20 years; Fisheries Service aims to complete Oroville Dam relicensing opinion in early spring; and more …

In California water news today, El Nino keeps getting stronger; raises chances of drenching rains; Folsom hits lowest depth in 20 years; Fisheries Service aims to complete Oroville Dam relicensing opinion in early spring; Hunt on for state’s biggest residential water waster; Temperance Flat dominates meeting in Clovis; 10 questions with Conrad Weaver, documentary filmmaker; 10 questions with Fraser Shilling: What roadkill says about drought’s impact on California wildlife; ‘When Arid met Hurricane Sally’; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

El Nino keeps getting stronger; raises chances of drenching rains: The National Weather Service now expects El Niño to bring wetter-than-average rains to virtually all of California, forecasters said for the first time Thursday.  The new forecast is significant because it raises the chance that El Niño will send big storms not only to Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area — as has already been forecast — but also to the mountains that feed California’s most important reservoirs, which fuel water for much of the entire state. California’s largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, are in the northern edge of the state. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  El Nino keeps getting stronger; raises chances of drenching rains

Folsom hits lowest depth in 20 years:  “Even as Sacramento waits for the soaking El Niño forecast to hit this fall, Folsom Lake continues to lose water and will almost certainly fall Thursday to its lowest level in more than 20 years, government data show.  Folsom Lake provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of residents in the Sacramento region. Releases from the federal reservoir also serve as a bulwark against Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta saltwater intrusion, and are critical to maintaining the delicate ecosystem of the lower American River. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Folsom hits lowest depth in 20 years

Photo gallery of Lake Oroville at 30% from Action News Now – click here.

Fisheries Service aims to complete Oroville Dam relicensing opinion in early spring: “The last hurdle in relicensing the Oroville Dam facilities may be only a few more months away, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.  The agency has been working on a biological opinion to determine how the dam and facilities downstream could impact endangered and threatened fish and other issues. The Project 2100 opinion is the final step for the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, or FERC to relicense operation of the dam. FERC first issued a 50-year license to the state Department of Water Resources in 1967. The license expired in 2007, but the renewal work has been ongoing since around 2004. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Fisheries Service aims to complete Oroville Dam relicensing opinion in early spring

Hunt on for state’s biggest residential water waster:  “Shame, shame! In the historic California drought, state residents are using every tool available to reduce water usage. High on the list: Reporting others who waste. In that shaming spirit, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has made it his mission to track down the biggest known water-waster in California. The mystery hog is a Bel Air resident consuming 11.8 million gallons per year (a whopping 32,000 gallons per day). In his most recent column, he writes “I now have a drought posse scouring satellite maps, following neighborhood gutter flows and reporting directly to me. I even know someone who has put a camera-equipped drone into service.” ... ” Read more from SF Gate here:  Hunt on for state’s biggest residential water waster

Temperance Flat dominates meeting in Clovis: As members of the California Water Commission convened Wednesday night in Clovis to update the public on the Water Storage Investment Program, conversation centered on one topic: Temperance Flat Dam.  “We have disadvantaged communities where wells are going dry rapidly,” said Madera County Supervisor David Rogers. “For them, hope is out there at Temperance Flat.” … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Temperance Flat dominates meeting in Clovis

10 questions with Conrad Weaver, documentary filmmaker: Conrad Weaver’s film ” The Great American Wheat Harvest ” won a 2015 Mid-America Regional EMMY award for best documentary. Now he’s turning his film-making talents to water scarcity in America.  He started thinking about his next film when Midwestern farmers kept telling him the number one issue in their lives was drought. After that, it didn’t take long to conceive ” Thirsty Land ,” his next documentary, which is in production now and is expected to be completed late in 2016.  Weaver, whose Conjo Studios is based in Emmitsburg, Maryland, says the new film will focus to a large degree on California’s ongoing four-year drought. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  10 questions with Conrad Weaver, documentary filmmaker

10 questions with Fraser Shilling: What roadkill says about drought’s impact on California wildlife: Fraser Shilling has developed a unique way to analyze something many of us would rather not see at all: roadkill.  Shilling is a University of California, Davis, professor who studies transportation and landscape ecology, among other things. Along with website developer Dr. David Waetjen, he created the California Roadkill Observation System, which draws on volunteers who submit observances of animals killed on roadways. The system allows Shilling to gather data that gives great insight into how wildlife species are impacted not just by roads and traffic, but also by California’s ongoing drought. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here: 10 Questions with Fraser Shilling: What Roadkill Says About Drought’s Impact on Wildlife

And lastly … California’s drought wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of you would just share some water (or, ‘When Arid met Hurricane Sally’ … ):  “So, California is in a drought. That’s what everybody says. The media says it. The scientists say it. The firefighters working overtime to put out the hundreds of wildfires say it, as do the farmers trying to explain that if something doesn’t happen soon salad will just be something in an exhibit at a natural history museum.  I’ve even gotten used to restaurants in California — no matter how simple or fancy — having signs that remind me to ask for water with my meal. I’m forced to ask for water like a sucker, instead of the water just being on my table when I sit down the way the framers of the Constitution intended. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  California’s drought wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of you would just share some water

In commentary today …

Even if El Nino comes, we must continue to conserve water, says Wilma Chan:  She writes, “If you have watched or read the news, you know that El Niño is coming. A wet rainy season would be a relief to this four-year drought. However, the large amount of rain that is forecast will not make up for California’s water deficit. While El Niño is predicted to provide much more rainfall than we have seen in the last four years, it will be a small drop in the complex issue of water conservation in California. ... ”  Read more from the Contra Costa Times here:  Even if El Nino comes, we must continue to conserve water

Column: The right to dry offers it’s own cascade of doomsday scenarios: Megan Daum writes, “Last week, amid all the excitement (if that’s the right word) over Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of a right-to-die bill for California, a smaller, quieter — and rhyming — law was also passed. Assembly Bill 1448, nicknamed the “right to dry,” makes it illegal for landlords and homeowners associations to prohibit drying laundry outside on a clothesline or rack.  Of course, as with the right-to-die bill, slippery slope-fueled paranoia can strike deep. Opponents of the End of Life Options Act worried that allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives could lead to doctors playing God or family members hastening the deaths of burdensomely sick or disabled relatives. ... ” More from the LA Times here: Column: The right to dry offers it’s own cascade of doomsday scenarios

In regional news and commentary today …

South Modesto farmer’s invention scrapes costs off levee road repairs:  Jeff Jardine writes, “Farmers, even more so than the rest of us, are obsessed with water. Water, to grow their crops and keep their orchards alive. Water, from the reservoirs or pumped from the ground. Water, water and more water, and especially during these past four drought years, when water became the new plutonium.  In fact, it’s difficult to remember a time when the foothills reservoirs were filled and the state had enough water, let alone too much. Many Valley residents forget the flooded fields, roads and even neighborhoods in west Modesto, where armoires and dressers floated from the bedrooms into the kitchens in 1997.  Joe Sallaberry won’t forget it, though. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  South Modesto farmer’s invention scrapes costs off levee road repairs

Valley irrigation season ends with more in storage than expected:  “Some irrigation districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley ended the season with more water than expected to carry over into 2016, but the drought still looms.  The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts stretched their Tuolumne River supply thanks to conservation efforts and more releases than projected from San Francisco’s system upstream. The Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts trimmed their use of the Stanislaus River.  The Merced Irrigation District, on the other hand, had virtually no Merced River water to allot to its growers and has nothing in the bank for next year. And several West Side districts got a zero allotment from the federal Delta-Mendota Canal. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Valley irrigation season ends with more in storage than expected

Unexpected benefits to flow from New Melones water: Some surprise water savings at New Melones Reservoir will soon yield unexpected financial, farming and fish benefits downstream.  As previously reported, earlier this year, Tri-Dam Partners the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) and South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID), which developed, operate and maintain the reservoir’s operations, worked with state and federal fishery agencies and Bureau of Reclamation to come up with a joint plan to manage New Melones’ meager water supply. Back in April, predictions were that inflow would result in as little as 147,000 acre-feet remaining at the end of September, leaving the reservoir at less than seven percent of its 2.4 million acre-foot capacity. … ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here:  Unexpected benefits to flow from New Melones water

Turlock Irrigation District to seek public comment on water plan: In order to remain eligible for state water grants or loans, the Turlock Irrigation District began the process of updating its Agricultural Water Management Plan on Tuesday for the first time since its mandated adoption in 2012.  This process is part of the Water Conservation Act of 2009, also known as Senate Bill X7-7, which required all agricultural water agencies like TID to strengthen and increase water use efficiency through the preparation and adoption of a SB X7-7 compliant water plan in 2012. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock Irrigation District to seek public comment on water plan

Hanford: Daily 60 gallon water cut a tall order: The city of Hanford has a new website, www.60GallonChallenge.com, that lists ways you can cut your water use. The stated goal is to cut water use by 60 gallons per person per day for every resident on the city’s water system.  City officials insist it’s doable.  But where did that 60 gallon number come from? ... ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Daily 60 gallon water cut a tall order

Tulare County: Reported domestic well failures continue to grow: The number of reported domestic well failures around Tulare County continue to grow.  The Tulare County Office of Emergency Service reported there have been 1,896 well failures between January 2014 and Tuesday, an increase of 18 from last week. According to Emergency Service, only 89 well failures have been resolved, leaving 1,389 as active well failure. There are 418 wells with an interim solution. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Tulare County: Reported domestic well failures continue to grow

Los Angeles lawmaker looks at proposal to ship water from Alaska to parched California: A proposal to ship 9 billion of gallons of water a year from Alaska to drought-plagued California caught the eye of U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., who calls it “an idea worth exploring.”  After reading about the concept in USA TODAY in August, Hahn said she arranged an exploratory meeting last week with Alaska Bulk Water CEO Terry Trapp, several California water officials and representatives from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. .. ”  Read more from the USA Today here:  Lawmaker looks at proposal to ship water from Alaska to parched California

San Jacinto water district flush with upgrades: From flushes to fields, the Eastern Municipal Water District’s renovated San Jacinto Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility is helping assure that no water goes to waste.  The San Jacinto facility has increased capacity and meets stricter environmental regulations thanks to a $157 million expansion.  A dedication ceremony was held Wednesday morning, Oct. 14, where Eastern Municipal Water District officials showed off the facility and thanked staff members and contractors who worked on the five-year project. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  San Jacinto water district flush with upgrades

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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