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Daily Digest: El Nino kicks back in with soaking storms, feet of snow on the way; Why water doesn’t work like the internet; Questions remain on plans for Sites Reservoir; and more …

In California water news today, March miracle: El Nino kicks back in with soaking storms on the way; Strong winter storm to bring several feet of snow to Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe; California’s snowpack may rebound this month; Why water doesn’t work like the internet; Questions remain on plans for Sites Reservoir; Author of “Heart of Dryness” on a drought-proof California; Mud shortage eroding California’s climate defenses; New speaker Rendon touts the need for public trust in water spending; Cortopassi revenue bond initiative focus of legislative hearing; and more …

In the news today …

March miracle: El Nino kicks back in with soaking storms on the way: February was an extremely warm month (once again) across California, with temperature records falling on a daily basis. February was also quite dry across the state, with the only precipitation event of any note occurring around the middle of the month.  The Sierra Nevada snowpack — which had been hovering slightly above average through the end of January — started to fall behind by mid-month, and the March 1 snow survey showed statewide snowpack slightly above 80 percent of average for the date. This number is decidedly better than during recent winters, but that’s really only a testament to the abysmal snowpack accumulations during the reign of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge (of high pressure along the coast). … ”  Read more from KQED here:  March miracle: El Nino kicks back in with soaking storms on the way

Strong winter storm to bring several feet of snow to Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe: An atmospheric river drawing moisture from the tropics is expected to blanket the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe area with more than 3 feet of snow through the weekend, forecasters say.  The strong winter storm will start off light Friday night with snow levels at 7,500 to 8,000 feet through Saturday, said meteorologist Tony Fuentes of the National Weather Service in Reno. Up to 3 feet of snow could cover the Sierra crest.   … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Strong winter storm to bring several feet of snow to Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe

California’s snowpack may rebound this month: The California snowpack’s dip below normal levels could be short-lived if an anticipated March pattern of cold and wet storms continues through the month.  The unusually warm afternoons in February that hastened the almond blossom and development of other tree crops left a statewide snow water content that was 80 percent of normal as of March 3, according to the state Department of Water Resources.  “Our snowpack, snowfall and precipitation were quite a bit below average for the month of February,” DWR snow surveys chief Frank Gehrke told reporters after conducting his third manual survey of the season March 1 at Phillips Station, about 90 miles east of Sacramento. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here:  California’s snowpack may rebound this month

Why water doesn’t work like the internet:When it comes to game-changing innovation, the world of water is a complicated place. You can’t simply write some code and revolutionize how people use water the way Silicon Valley brought the internet into our lives. With water, there are tangible barriers to innovation that software can’t solve, from the immutable laws of chemistry to endangered species in the water supply.  The internet is a kind of public utility, just like water. But the similarities end there. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why water doesn’t work like the internet

Questions remain on plans for Sites Reservoir:  “Questions remain about plans to build Sites Reservoir. This week the Butte County Water Commission was asked to approve a letter of support for the project to build a new surface water storage reservoir near Maxwell.  Soon, the State Water Commission plans to distribute some of the Proposition 1 funds, and the project could receive a chunk of money for part of the pre-building process.  During the discussion Wednesday, most members of the Water Commission appeared to approve of the concept for Sites Reservoir. Yet, the majority of the group also wanted to add their questions to a letter of support. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Questions remain on plans for Sites Reservoir

Author of “Heart of Dryness” on a drought-proof California: James Workman has a lot to say about whether water is the battleground of this century. He is a drought expert and the author of  “Heart of Dryness,” an award-winning book about his time living with the Bushmen of Africa.  Workman joins us in the studio; he’s giving a talk tonight at the Crocker Art Museum titled “Drought-Proofing California for a Water-Secure Future.  … ”  Listen to the radio show here:  Author of “Heart of Dryness” on a drought-proof California

Mud shortage eroding California’s climate defenses:  ” … As agencies and nonprofits toil to restore and conserve San Francisco Bay Area marshlands, aiming to defend against rising seas and nurture wildlife, and as voters consider introducing a property tax to support the effort, a bewildering crisis has emerged. There’s not enough mud. … ”  Read more from Climate Central here:  Mud shortage eroding California’s climate defenses

New speaker Rendon touts the need for public trust in water spending: Hailing from Southern California, Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) will become the 70th California Assembly Speaker on March 7.  … Rendon, who has said that restoring the public’s trust in government is imperative, didn’t author the bond the way they are often created: “behind closed doors” with the normal power brokers in the room. Rather he and the committee held 18 public hearings around the state in what he called “a real dialogue with Californians.” … ”  Read more and watch the video at California Forward here:  New speaker Rendon touts the need for public trust in water spending

Cortopassi revenue bond initiative focus of legislative hearing:  “Dean Cortopassi’s “No Blank Checks” revenue bond initiative received a full airing at a legislative hearing today where detractors claimed it could create debilitating uncertainty in the financing of infrastructure projects and proponents claimed it would give voters a sense of increased accountability.  The conflicting opinions were delivered during a joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance and the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. Cortopassi’s initiative, which would require voter approval for any state-issued revenue bonds for any project costing over $2 billion, is slated to appear on the November ballot. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Cortopassi revenue bond initiative focus of legislative hearing

In commentary today …

Billions of gallons needlessly washed out to sea, says Mike Wade:  He writes, “Why is it that Southern California residents have sacrificed with brown lawns, 5-minute showers and “flushing only after number two,” while bureaucrats have been flushing vast quantities of water to the ocean? These actions are supposedly meant to prevent harm to threatened and endangered Delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon. Sadly, flushing all this water to the ocean, year after year, has shown no measurable ecosystem benefits and, instead, resulted in a monumental waste of water.  Consumers and farmers are being unjustifiably denied what should be fairly normal water supplies this year while bureaucrats continue to waste water on a failed experimental effort to help fish. Unfortunately, the fish aren’t recovering, and the bureaucrats are just making a bad situation worse for all Californians. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Billions of gallons needlessly flushed out to sea

In regional news and commentary today …

Karuk Tribe says logging will hurt salmon:  “A federal plan to open 2,000 acres of the Klamath River watershed to logging will harm threatened coho salmon and degrade its critical habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Karuk Tribe and four environmental groups claim in court.  The Karuk Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity et al. sued the National Marine Fisheries Service and its regional administrator William Stelle in Federal Court on Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Karuk Tribe says logging will hurt salmon

Weed, Roseburg come to agreement over water: The city of Weed and Roseburg Forest Products Company announced Thursday that they have come to a 10 year lease extension agreement for the city’s water supply to residents.  City officials explained that the lease agreement gives them time to find a long term alternative and develop it, while still providing residents with a secure water source.  “After more than five years of protracted negotiations and nearly a year of mediation, we are pleased to announce that we can keep the water flowing to the City for 10 more years,” said Weed Mayor Ken Palfini in a statement. ... ” Read more from KRCR here:  Weed, Roseburg come to agreement over water

Weather scientists lend hand to safeguard Lake Mendocino water supply:  “The operators of Lake Mendocino have begun making flood releases for the first time in more than three years in anticipation of drenching storms expected to dump several inches of rain on Northern California starting this weekend.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began making additional space in the reservoir early Wednesday, discharging more than five times the minimum outflow maintained in recent weeks in the Russian River.  The increased releases — though minimal by historic standards — mark a turning point for a region in which catastrophic drought has prompted water managers to hoard limited water behind Coyote Dam. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Weather scientists lend hand to safeguard Lake Mendocino water supply

Stockton City Council to wade into water concerns:  “Residents will have their best chance yet to ask city officials about two recent water controversies at a rare Saturday meeting of the City Council later this month.  The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 26, the day before Easter, at the Bob Hope Theater in downtown Stockton.  The study session is partly a response to the debate over a new chemical in north Stockton’s drinking water. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich sounded the alarm about chloramines in January and, after a public outcry, Mayor Anthony Silva asked city staff to put the issue on a future meeting agenda. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Stockton City Council to wade into water concerns

Wet winter invites flooding research on Valley farms: Area farmers report that any flooding of their nut and fruit orchards during the current El Niño condition would likely do more good than damage to their trees.  In fact, some farmers plan to deliberately flood their orchards as part of testing the benefits of winter flooding.  By doing so, they not only ensure the trees have enough water, but they are also helping recharge the groundwater basin in winter when more water is available. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Business Journal here:  Wet winter invites flooding research on Valley farms

Swearingin hails start of work on new Fresno water treatment plant:  “With a flurry of speeches and a flourish of felt-tip markers, Fresno leaders marked the ceremonial start of construction Wednesday for a new $159 million water treatment plant with the promise of relieving the city’s reliance on groundwater pumping.  The plant, east of Fowler Avenue and north of Olive Avenue, will have the capacity to initially treat 54 million gallons of water daily from Millerton Lake and Pine Flat Reservoir when it is operational in late 2018. Within a couple of years, its capacity will be increased to 80 million gallons per day – or about 80,000 acre-feet of water a year. In tandem with a smaller treatment plant in northeast Fresno, the city will be able to treat 110,000 acre-feet of water annually. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Swearingin hails start of work on new Fresno water treatment plant

Precipitation watch …

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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