Daily Digest: SoCal water agencies push forward on Delta land purchase; Ballot measure is new obstacle for tunnels; Study results mirror Friant’s purpose; Were the drought restrictions necessary?; and more …

In California water news today, Southern California water agencies push forward on Delta land purchase; Ballot measure is new obstacle to diverting water to Southern California; Study results mirror Friant’s purpose; Were the drought restrictions necessary?; ACWA and Ag Groups Send Letter Urging Passage of Western Drought Bill; California takes drought lessons down under and Israel; California dead tree ’emergency’ could fuel wildfires, El Nino floods; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Brown Bag: California’s Delta 1850-2015: Today from12:00 to 1:00 pm, Dr. Reuben W. Smith and Dr. William R. Swagerty, University of the Pacific, will discuss the changes the Delta has undergone in the last century and a half.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Southern California water agencies push forward on Delta land purchase:  “With the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta approaching a critical stage, a group of Southern California water agencies is working to buy four Delta islands, a move that has drawn accusations that the parcels could be used to orchestrate a south state water grab.  The powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and three water agencies in Kern County are working on a joint plan to buy the four agricultural islands, according to the head of the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District in Bakersfield, one of the participants. Also involved are Semitropic and Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa water storage districts. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Southern California water agencies push forward on Delta land purchase

Southern California water district eyes Delta land purchase:  “Southern California’s largest urban water supplier may decide next week whether to purchase four huge Delta islands.  The possible deal was discussed privately in September by a committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Now the matter is set to go before the district’s full Board of Directors for discussion and perhaps a vote one week from today.  It seems more and more likely that the sale will go through, observers said Monday. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Southern California water district eyes Delta land purchase

Ballot measure is new obstacle to diverting water to Southern California:  “Californians will act on a ballot measure next year that would require voter approval of many large public works projects, including Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin-tunnel plan to divert water south around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The secretary of state on Monday said that a random sample has determined that Stockton-area farmer and food processor Dean Cortopassi has submitted at least 585,407 signatures of registered voters to qualify the constitutional amendment for the November 2016 ballot. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Ballot measure is new obstacle to diverting water to Southern California

Measure that imperils Delta tunnels plan set to quality for 2016 ballot: A constitutional amendment that would erect a significant political hurdle for Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans to build twin tunnels to carry water south around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is poised to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.  The secretary of state’s office Monday is scheduled to release final results from the random sampling of the nearly 933,000 voter signatures turned by the measure’s backers. But as of earlier Monday, proponents were only 49,000 valid voter signatures short of qualifying for the ballot without a full signature count, with several counties still to report their sampling of more than 120,000 voter signatures. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Measure that imperils Delta tunnels plan set to qualify for 2016 ballot

Study results mirror Friant’s purpose:  “Using surface water to replace groundwater during rainy seasons, which a recent study proposes, is in reality what the Friant Water System was designed to do, said a local irrigation district manager.  A study commissioned by the California Water Foundation shows the potential to significantly improve groundwater levels in San Joaquin Valley by directing excess river flows from winter storms to active farmland. Research results indicate that groundwater overdraft in San Joaquin Valley’s eastside could be reduced by 12 to 20 percent each year using this approach. … ”  Read more from Porterville Recorder here: Study’s results mirror Friant’s purpose

Were the drought restrictions necessary? Referring to the mandatory cutbacks: “… Many residents responded with drought tolerant lawns and fake grass. But, at UCLA’s horticultural gardens Actions News met with University of California Extension Service Horticulturist, Don Hodel. He doesn’t believe our public and private landscaping had to suffer. “My concern with the way the state imposed watering restrictions, is they were made without any knowledge of how plants grow, how they interact with the soil, how water moves into the soil and how the soil holds water.” … ”  Read more from ABC Fresno here:  Were the drought restrictions necessary?

ACWA and Ag Groups Send Letter Urging Passage of Western Drought Bill: “ACWA and more than 100 agriculture-related associations in the West sent Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders a letter Oct. 27 urging passage of “compromise” legislation to bring drought relief to the Western States.  The letter, addressed to Senate Chairwoman Lisa Murkowskiand ranking Committee Member Maria Cantwell, asked committee members to “put aside partisan differences and work together to produce compromise legislation that can be passed by both the Senate and the House, and signed into law by the president this year.” ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: ACWA and Ag Groups Send Letter Urging Passage of Western Drought Bill

California takes drought lessons down under:  “Australia has become a crossroads for California policymakers seeking clues to coping with long, arduous droughts.  A group of state lawmakers led by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León spent the last couple of weeks Down Under.  “Australia is well-positioned to handle the next, inevitable drought,” said Senator Ben Allen in a statement following the trip. ” California would be wise to take a similar long-term approach.”  Felicia Marcus agrees. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  California takes drought lessons down under

Or how about drought lessons from Israel: A three-month investigation by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit took our team halfway around the world and involved speaking to more than 75 experts in climatology, water policy and new water technology. … In search of solutions, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit traveled to Israel, where about a decade ago the country faced a similar crisis. Now, after treating water as a national security issue on par with terrorism, Israel produces more water than its population can use and many Israelis say they no longer care if it rains. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Solutions to California’s water crisis from half a world away

California dead tree ’emergency’ could fuel wildfires, El Nino floods: Calling it “the worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history,” Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency this week, asking for swift removal of dried-out trees either through controlled burns or as feed for biomass energy plants.  The four-year drought has already killed 22 million trees in the state and most likely will destroy tens of millions more, according to a dead-tree census performed by the U.S. Forest Service. … ” Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  California dead tree ’emergency’ could fuel wildfires, El Nino floods

El Nino droughts take toll in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific: Forecasters at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory warned in August that unusually warm water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean was brewing a “Godzilla” El Nino, a supercharged version of the global weather phenomenon that yanks rainfall and temperature patterns from one extreme to the next. Three months later, the monster is showing its teeth.  Water shortages, food insecurity, and diseases related to El Nino weather patterns threaten more than four million people in the Pacific region, officials with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told the Guardian in October.  … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  El Nino droughts take toll in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific

In commentary today …

Four Southern California cities need to get serious about the drought, says the LA Daily News:  They write, ” as our news group reported last week, the state of California is for the first time following up on its warning that it would be forced to levy fines on water agencies and cities that just can’t seem to get with the program.  Embarrassingly for us, as proud Southern Californians, all four of the areas hit with those fines from September over-usage are from down here rather than from the water-richer northern reaches of the state. Our sistren and brethren up there already think we’re ungrateful recipients of their largesse. Can’t we at least show them we know how to turn down the spigot? … ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here:  Four Southern California cities need to get serious about the drought

In regional news and commentary today …

Marin County, salmon activists spar over $1 million legal bill:  “It’s going to take a Marin judge a while longer to figure out whether taxpayers should pay for the legal expenses of a San Geronimo Valley fishery group that won a court order requiring the county to study how development affects coho salmon.  Stanford Law School lawyers and others who represented the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network want $917,000, calling the tab a discount from the $1.6 million they contend the law allows them to get for going to bat for salmon. … ”  Read more from the Main Independent Journal here:  Marin County, salmon activists spar over $1 million legal bill

Central Valley communities receive drought-related grants:  “East Porterville and other Valley communities suffering the effects of California’s worst drought in decades are getting financial aid from the federal government to buoy their water supplies.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved about $3.3 million in grants for eight communities in Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Central Valley communities receive drought-related grants

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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