Daily Digest: Powerful El Niño slams into California with thunderstorms and 10 foot surf; State gets $1.2 billion boost for more water recycling projects; Can genetic engineering quench a farm’s thirst?; and more …

In California water news today, Powerful El Niño slams into California with thunderstorms and 10 foot surf; New El Nino storm slams Southern California; What to expect from El Niño in North America; These four things need to happen to end California’s drought; Can genetic engineering quench a farm’s thirst?; State gets $1.2 billion boost for more water recycling projects; Yolo County groundwater needs more rain despite recent rains; Lodi City Council moves to form groundwater agency; Stockton water quality problem may be drought related; Visalia says no to acquiring water system; LA Water Woes Force New Sourcing Game Plan; Riverside: Water district moves to cut irrigation by 70%

In the news today …

Powerful El Nino slams into California with thunderstorms and 10 foot surf:  “The hillside above the California home of Wayne Socha had held firm against thunderstorms over the past three decades. But after a wildfire two years ago stripped away vegetation and loosened soil, he feared the strong El Nino storms pounding the state could bring it all down.  So the 61-year-old corporate auditor grabbed a sledgehammer and waded through the muck in his Monrovia backyard to knock a hole in a cement wall and let a mud flow skirt his house and run into a street.  “It looked like Niagara Falls,” Socha said. “It was quickly building up behind the house and I knew it could come right inside.” ... ”  Read more from the Star Tribune here:  Powerful El Nino slams into California with thunderstorms and 10 foot surf

New El Nino storm slams Southern California:  “Another El Niño-fueled storm soaked Southern California on Wednesday and brought with it a heightened risk of flooding and mudslides — even snow.  Pea-sized hail and 45-mph winds made its way south from San Luis Obispo, forcing the region to recognize that the season of storms has commenced. As much as 5 inches of rain was expected to drop across the Southland. Still, Wednesday’s rain was fickle, pausing at times to step aside for the sun.  A flash flood warning was issued for the Ventura County coast around Solimar Beach and landslides forced partial closure of the 101 Freeway at the State Beaches offramp. Hit by a fire that broke out on Christmas, the area’s denuded hillsides sent mud into the northbound lanes of the freeway. Already overflowing with water, a concrete drain that runs alongside the road offered little help. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  New El Nino storm slams Southern California

What to expect from El Niño in North America:  “A major El Niño is under way now. It already has substantially influenced weather patterns around the globe, but could have even bigger impacts this winter. There have been only two “super” El Niños recorded until now: in 1982-83 and 1997-98. We are now experiencing a third “super” El Niño.  Every El Niño cycle is different. The effects from this year’s already include a record number of hurricanes/typhoons in the Pacific and intense wildfires in Indonesia.  In the United States over the next several months, El Niño is expected to cause heavy rains across the South, with the potential for coastal flooding in California, along with relatively mild and dry weather in the northern states. Global climate change, which, along with the El Niño, is making 2015 the warmest year on record, is likely to amplify these impacts. ... ”  Read more from Earth Sky here:  What to expect from El Niño in North America

These four things need to happen to end California’s drought:  “Rain and snow have deluged much of California this week, prompting questions about whether the state could dig out of its four-year drought, the worst in recorded history. But certain conditions need to converge on the state before its water crisis ends.  A strong El Niño in the Pacific has spurred storms that have soaked California, leading to some improvement at the state’s reservoirs, which stood at 22 to 55 percent of their historical averages on December 31. The Folsom reservoir that supplies Sacramento suburbs, for example, has risen 28.5 feet in the past month. More importantly, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which had reached a 500-year-low, is already 103% of average for this time of year. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  These four things need to happen to end California’s drought

State gets $1.2 billion boost for more water recycling projects: The state got a big financial boost in its quest to find more water sources — by recycling it.  The State Water Resources Control Board authorized the sale of $1.2 billion in revenue bonds Tuesday to fund additional recycled water projects. Supporters believe the money, an extension of the existing Clean Water State Revolving Fund, will help water agencies and cities build more water recycling plants, pipes and delivery facilities that will increase California’s water supply. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  State gets $1.2 billion boost for more water recycling projects

Can genetic engineering quench a farm’s thirst?  “Roger Deal is trying to figure out how plants remember drought.  An assistant professor of biochemistry and genetics at Emory University, Deal says most plants have a kind of memory for stress. When experiencing water shortage, for example, plants close the holes in their leaves, called stomata, to reduce water loss from their tissues. This in turn slows photosynthesis and plant growth. If the plants recover and go through a similar situation again, their cells somehow recall what that stress was like, so they’re able to bounce back more rapidly. … ”  Continue reading at Water Deeply here:  Can genetic engineering quench a farm’s thirst?

In regional water news today …

Yolo County groundwater needs more rain despite recent rains:  “Water experts in Yolo County are actively monitoring water wells to measure the groundwater supply.  “It’s certainly going to have an impact,” said Tim O’Halloran, general manager of Yolo County’s Flood Control and Water Conservation District.  O’Halloran monitors 150 wells daily and 11 of them on a real-time basis using remote cameras from his Woodland office. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Yolo County groundwater needs more rain despite recent rains

Lodi City Council moves to form groundwater agency:  “At Wednesday’s meeting, the Lodi City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution to form a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) in Lodi city limits.  This resolution will ensure that the city of Lodi has declared to form an agency within the 90-day window required under the state Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … ”  Read more from the Lodi News-Sentinel here:  Lodi City Council moves to form groundwater agency

Stockton water quality problem may be drought related: Stockton’s success at saving water over the past year may be partly to blame for a violation of one federal drinking-water standard, officials say.  The city recently sent letters to north Stockton residents informing them that levels of a disinfection byproduct known as trihalomethanes narrowly exceeded that standard.  Over many years, exposure to trihalomethanes — known for short as THM — may lead to a higher risk of cancer and problems with the liver, kidneys or central nervous system, according to the notice. But the city is working on a fix as soon as later this month. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Stockton water quality problem may be drought related

Visalia says no to acquiring water system:  “The City of Visalia has decided not to pursue the acquisition of the Visalia District Water System.  The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon.  In November 2015, Visalia forwarded a notice to appraise the Visalia District Water System, which is owned and operated by Cal Water. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Visalia says no to acquiring water system

LA Water Woes Force New Sourcing Game Plan:California’s order to cut urban water use by 25 percent after four years of drought has Los Angeles giving serious thought to how it uses water – and where to find it.  Nearly a year after California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the statewide reductions in a meadow in the Sierras that should have been covered in snow but wasn’t, cities up and down the state have been scrambling to tame residents’ water use to meet caps ranging from 10 to 36 percent compared with what they used in 2013. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:   LA Water Woes Force New Sourcing Game Plan

Riverside: Water district moves to cut irrigation by 70%:After six months of failing to meet the state’s water-reduction mandate, Riverside County’s largest supplier on Wednesday imposed an immediate 70 percent cut to residential irrigation.  The move by Eastern Municipal Water District’s board appears to be the most drastic of any Inland agencies, which have ordered reductions of 16 percent to 50 percent. … ”  Read more from the Press Enterprise here:  Water district moves to cut irrigation by 70%

Precipitation watch …

More wet weather is on the way but not without some breaks.

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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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