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Daily Digest: Storm to dump up to 3 ft of snow in Tahoe over 3 days, triggers more releases from Folsom; Bond vote measure takes a beating; Caltrans roadway clean water initiative; Klamath Dam removal plan called illegal; and more …

In California water news today, Storm to dump up to 3 feet of snow in three days in Tahoe region; ‘Above average’ rain to trigger more releases from Folsom; Study: Atmospheric rivers can reduce Sierra snow; California bond vote measure takes a beating; Caltrans launches roadway clean water initiative; California’s water system leaks like a sieve: How to save millions of gallons; Oregon lawmaker says new Klamath Dam removal plan may be illegal; and more …

In the news today …

Storm to dump up to 3 feet of snow in three days in Tahoe region:  “A string of downpours converging on the Bay Area will also unleash as much as three feet of snow in three days on the Lake Tahoe region, forecasters said Wednesday.  If one more powerful storm arrives in March after this system departs, resort officials say, the Sierra mountains could easily see the best spring ski conditions since 2011. And that spells good news for California’s parched reservoirs, too.  “This new pattern is just going to open up the storm door for us this weekend,” said Bryan Allegretto, a snowboarder who writes forecasts for the Lake Tahoe region on the website OpenSnow. “There’s nothing to stop this storm. There’s nothing to weaken this storm.” ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Storm to dump up to 3 feet of snow in three days in Tahoe region

‘Above average’ rain to trigger more releases from Folsom:  “At the Flood Operations Center in Sacramento, state and federal water experts were busy Wednesday monitoring the incoming storms.  “It looks like the storm door is opening,” California Department of Water Resources Chief Hydrologist Maury Roos said.  The storms are expected to help increase California’s water supply.  “If the forecasts are right, we’ll get above average precipitation for the month of March,” Roos explained. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  ‘Above average’ rain to trigger more releases from Folsom

Study: Atmospheric rivers can reduce Sierra snow:  “A new study by NASA and several partners has found that in California’s Sierra Nevada, atmospheric river storms are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” events, where rain falls on existing snowpack. Those events increase flood risks in winter and reduce water availability the following summer.  The study, based on NASA satellite and ground-based data from 1998 through 2014, is the first to establish a climatological connection between atmospheric river storms and rain-on-snow events. Partnering with NASA on the study were UCLA; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego; and the Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Study: Atmospheric rivers can reduce Sierra snow

California bond vote measure takes a beating:  “Democratic legislators and officials, business and labor representatives, and water suppliers took turns Wednesday flailing a November ballot measure that would require voter approval of major state revenue bond issues.  If the measure is passed, critics said, using bond financing for critical public works projects, including emergency work after a natural disaster, would become more difficult.  The forum was a legislative hearing on a pending ballot measure under a new state law that also allows initiative sponsors to withdraw their proposals even after they have qualified for the ballot. The Legislature cannot, however, change a measure on its own. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California bond vote measure takes a beating See also: Critics of Calif. Revenue Bond Initiative Warn Of Unintended Consequences, from Capital Public Radio

Caltrans launches roadway clean water initiative: California highway officials on Wednesday launched a clean water campaign, “Protect Every Drop” aimed reducing the amount of pollution that flows off of people’s cars into streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean.  “Clean water is essential for our quality of life in California, and it’s important to ‘Protect Every Drop’,” said California Department of Transportation Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Every motorist needs to do their part to keep California’s waterways clean.”  Caltrans operates storm drain systems along more than 15,000 miles of the state highway system. Roadway pollution flows through ditches and pipes into city or county storm drain systems, or directly into watersheds. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Caltrans launches roadway clean water initiative

California’s water system leaks like a sieve: How to save millions of gallons:  ” … with 38 million people in the state and counting, we’ll never have “enough” water. The only thing we can do is manage what we have more efficiently. But therein lies the rub: We don’t know how much there truly is, and we don’t know how much we really use. It’s not just that groundwater is unmetered, or that the way surface water is allocated is confusing, poorly tracked and executed—and sometimes egregiously duplicitous. The infrastructure delivering our water is so antiquated and leaky that much of it is lost before it can squirt out a tap.  “A tremendous amount is being wasted,” says John Gage, a founder of Sun Microsystems who’s on the advisory board of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. ... ”  Read more from California Magazine here:  California’s water system leaks like a sieve: How to save millions of gallons

In commentary today …

Water conservation efforts must expand in the fifth year of drought, says Peter Gleick:  He writes, “A fifth year of California drought and continued water challenges now appear unavoidable, even with new storms on the horizon. Sadly, El Niño has so far failed to bring an end to four years of shortages. Some observers continue to hope that the remaining few weeks of winter will produce a “March Miracle.” Maybe. But the odds are increasingly against it.  Even worse, for the rest of winter to produce enough rain and snow to actually end the drought would mostly likely result in massive, damaging and unmanageable flooding – the other extreme from severe drought.  The drought has dried our wetlands, parched our soils, damaged fisheries, depleted our reservoirs, and hurt some farms and rural communities. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Water conservation efforts must expand in the fifth year of drought

In regional news and commentary today …

LaMalfa criticizes Klamath Dam removal process:  “A North State Congressman accused the federal government this week of creating a “shell corporation” to disguise its role in removing dams on the Klamath River.  U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa also said there are meetings being held in secret to work out details of a dam removal plan, and leaders of the negotiations are forcing those who attend to sign nondisclosure agreements. ... ” Read more from the Redding Searchlight-Record here:  LaMalfa criticizes Klamath Dam removal process

Oregon lawmaker says new Klamath Dam removal plan may be illegal: As signatories to the original Klamath Basin water agreements try to reassemble their team, an Oregon state senator says he doesn’t think their new plan for removing dams from the Klamath River is legal.  State Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, says he believes a plan by PacifiCorp and four government agencies to set up a private entity to handle the four dams’ removal would still need congressional approval. Under PacifiCorp’s plan, the entity would seek a go-ahead from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to remove the dams. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Oregon lawmaker says new Klamath Dam removal plan may be illegal

Half full? Half empty? Lake Oroville reaches 50%: Recently, California’s second-largest reservoir reached 50 percent of capacity and water managers said they expect upcoming storms to continue its rise.  “I look at this as being about half full,” said Kevin Wright, water services supervisor for the California Department of Water Resources.  The DWR built and manages Lake Oroville as part of the State Water Project.  A large bathtub-style ring still surrounds the lake, but people who visit the lake frequently said the view is much improved. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Half full? Half empty? Lake Oroville reaches 50%

Forecasters predict tepid salmon season on the North Coast:  “The North Coast fishing fleet had been anticipating an underwhelming salmon season even before reports released this week revealed just how bad it could be.  Even so, it was a grim scene when more than 150 people, both those with fishing interests and wildlife agency personnel, gathered Wednesday to hear what state and national wildlife officials had to say about the outlook for California salmon stocks.  The bottom line: About 299,600 adult salmon are estimated to be offshore in the ocean this year — fewer than half of what analysts have forecast in any year since 2010, though the actual commercial catch last year fell far short of projections. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Forecasters predict tepid salmon season on the North Coast

Napa Valley sees water levels recharge:  “Turning water into wine isn’t a miracle act for Napa Valley vintners, but finding enough water has become harder during our California drought.  If you have a high water bill, this might interest you. In Napa County, you can spend $400 for a permit and get all the water you want. However, there is a catch — you’ll have to spend several tens of thousands of dollars to dig a well and you’re going to have to find a way to store it and to move it. But if you use enough water, it could pay off. … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 7 here:  Napa sees water levels recharge

Sonoma County leaders support June regional tax measure to support restoration:  “Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday voiced strong support for a first-ever regional ballot measure this June seeking a $12 parcel tax increase. It would generate $500 million over the next 20 years for all nine Bay Area counties to pay for wetland and wildlife habitat restoration projects in the San Francisco Bay.  Though the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, an independent agency spearheading the initiative, has power to place the tax increase on the June ballot, Bay Area counties are required to call a special election on behalf of the agency.  ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Sonoma County leaders support June regional tax measure to support restoration

Woodland-Davis surface water project nears completion:  “A milestone years in the making, water deliveries are set to begin this May from the Sacramento River via the Woodland-Davis water project — a multi-city, multi-million dollar public works endeavor.  “The implementation of the project continues to go very well,” said Dennis Diemer, general manager of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency. “The project is actually transitioning from construction to testing.”  Diemer, along with Woodland staff, gave an overview of the project during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, beginning with a look at the city’s current water system, which relies on groundwater. ... ” Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Woodland-Davis surface water project nears completion

Zone 7 weighs California Water Fix involvement:  “A recent Zone 7 Water Agency study showed the area water wholesaler will be dependent on importing water to the region for the foreseeable future and emphasized the need for a renovated water delivery system.  The Zone 7 Water Agency’s Water Supply Evaluation study, which is updated every five years, showed 80% of the agency’s water supply is obtained through infrastructure that stretches from the Sierras, through the Delta and to the Tri-Valley. However, that water is sent through “aging, vulnerable, non-ecofriendly facilities in the Delta.” … ”  Read more from Pleasanton Weekly here:  Zone 7 weighs California Water Fix involvement

Rain brings worries of toxic runoff into Monterey Bay:  “As winter rainstorms are forecast to return to the Central Coast in March, they are fueling concerns about polluted stormwater runoff pouring into the nearshore waters.  State officials will discuss increasing monitoring of irrigation runoff at a California Board of Food and Agriculture meeting in Sacramento on Tuesday, when debates about water quality and farming regulations will also crop up. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Rain brings worries of toxic runoff into Monterey Bay

Thousand Oaks: Is groundwater in our future? Under Thousand Oaks lies a basin capable of supplying the city with about 10 percent of its annual water demands at a cost less than local government is now paying.  The results of an extensive groundwater survey were presented to the City Council last week, and they contain promise that T.O. will one day end its 100 percent reliance on the State Water Project. … ”  Read more from the Thousand Oaks Acorn here:  Is groundwater in our future?

Environmental protection of Colorado River called disjointed: Environmental protection for the Colorado River — the lifeblood of the Southwest — is disjointed and too often gets a low priority in the management of the waterway, independent researchers said in a new report.  Four, multimillion-dollar conservation programs do valuable work but would have more impact if they treated the entire 1,450-mile river as a single, integrated system, the report said.  “We can have something different and better than the existing patchwork of programs,” it said. … ” Read more from ABC News here:  Environmental protection of Colorado River called disjointed

Precipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service:A series of weather systems are expected to move through northern California over the next several days. The first two, today and Friday, are expected to produce only light precipitation with relatively high snow levels and therefore low impacts. A stronger and moisture weather system is expected to move into Norcal Friday night and Saturday bringing heavier rainfall and gusty south winds. Snow levels will lower Saturday night with moderate snowfall expected over the Sierra over night and on Sunday. Rain and snow showers will continue on Sunday with a threat of thunderstorms over the central valley.”

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.

 

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