Daily Digest: Drought in the Delta: Keeping the salt field at bay; Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly; Obama seeks more coordination in dealing with drought; and more …

In California water news today, Drought in the Delta:  Keeping the salt field at bay; Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly; Sutter County water district seeks 17,000 acre-feet water transfer; Marin Municipal Water District receives funding to monitor and improve fish habitats; Despite rainfall, Tulare County still relying on water tanks; Water brings hope to East Porterville; Santa Clarita: Up or down: Water rates under scrutiny in water district merger; Expanding use of recycled water would benefit the environment, human health; Obama seeks more coordination in dealing with drought; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Drought in the Delta:  Keeping the salt field at bay: After four of California’s driest years on record, the rain we’ve gotten this winter is hardly a drought buster. But it’s still a relief. Just a year ago, our “wet” season was so dry that state water officials panicked.  Major reservoirs were drawn way down, and record-low snowpack would limit replenishment to a trickle. Water managers worried about the hot, dry months. Would reservoirs still hold enough for freshwater releases to keep saltwater from pushing deep into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, contaminating water supplies to cities and farms? So they built a barrier to block salt instead. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  Drought in the Delta: Keeping the salt field at bay

Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly:  ““Dear Tom, “Why do a few of the reservoirs seem to lag so far behind the others in terms of their water levels? In particular, why is Trinity Lake so low, when relatively nearby Shasta is now above historical average?” — Chris Kagay  Tom answers: Years of drought followed by the recent pounding storms to hit the Bay Area and Northern California has turned water watching into a spectator sport.  It has been a spectacular show this month. The formula is different for every watershed and every lake. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly

Sutter County water district seeks 17,000 acre-feet water transfer: A Sutter County water district has requested approval for a transfer of up to about 17,000 acre-feet of water to various water users south of the Delta, although there is a good possibility the transfer will not occur.  The Sutter Extension Water District filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board on March 9 to transfer the water between the months of May and October.  However, with the recent wet weather, it’s becoming more likely the buyers will not be able to move the water through the Delta, said Lynn Phillips, general manager for the district. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Sutter County water district seeks 17,000 acre-feet water transfer

Marin Municipal Water District receives funding to monitor and improve fish habitats: The Marin Municipal Water District has secured more than $830,000 in funding to improve fish habitat and monitor population status in Lagunitas Creek and other coastal streams in the region, district officials said Friday.  The funding came by way of two grants from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grants Program.  The projects will focus on increasing winter habitat carrying capacity and life cycle monitoring for coho salmon and steelhead trout, according to district officials. ... ”  Read more from KGO TV here:  Marin Municipal Water District receives funding to monitor and improve fish habitats

Despite rainfall, Tulare County still relying on water tanks:  “Back in early January, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting examined the water tank program in Tulare County. What began as an emergency response measure to the drought was becoming the norm for hundreds of families who no longer had running water.  At the peak of the crisis, Tulare County reported about 1,400 private well failures. To combat the problem, the county began installing 3,000-gallon tanks and delivering water to residents for free. Homeowners were the only ones who qualified for the program initially. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Despite rainfall, Tulare County still relying on water tanks

Water brings hope to East Porterville: News that the state of California is going to pay to install a water system for East Porterville is being welcomed cautiously by residents who have been waiting for permanent relief.  Last week, city and county leaders said the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has agreed to design and construct a project to hook up most of the residents in East Porterville to a water system that will permanently provide a safe and clean flow of water into homes. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:    Water brings hope to East Porterville

Santa Clarita: Up or down: Water rates under scrutiny in water district merger:  “Determining the best way to calculate your monthly water bill will be a key discussion point for the Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler and one of its retailers as they consider merging the two agencies.  Currently, the Castaic Lake Water Agency supplies water from Northern California to the Santa Clarita Valley’s three major retailers. That water makes up about half what is used in the SCV’s households and businesses. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Up or down: Water rates under scrutiny in water district merger

San Bernardino mountains:  Nestle’s bottled water operation under scrutiny:  “The Forest Service is conducting an environmental review of Nestle’s controversial bottled water operation in the San Bernardino Mountains, and could require the company to monitor the impacts of its withdrawals, officials said Friday, March 18.  The National Environmental Policy Act analysis is part of the process for issuing Nestle a special use permit that would allow the company to maintain its 4 miles of pipelines, horizontal wells, access trails, helicopter landing areas and electronic telemetry equipment on 2 ½ acres of public lands. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  San Bernardino mountains: Nestle’s bottled water operation under scrutiny

Expanding use of recycled water would benefit the environment, human health: Expanding the use of recycled water would reduce water and energy use, cut greenhouse gas emissions and benefit public health in California — which is in the midst of a severe drought — and around the world.  A new study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, published online March 17 in the American Journal of Public Health, found that recycled water has great potential for more efficient use in urban settings and to improve the overall resiliency of the water supply. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Expanding use of recycled water would benefit the environment, human health

Is the water safe in Indian Country? EPA says it often doesn’t know: The Obama administration is sounding alarms over potential dangers in the water supplies on the nation’s Indian reservations, saying the vast majority of tribal members live on reservations that haven’t adopted federally approved standards.  “That is a shocking thing to say and it’s something that we need to fix as soon as possible,” said Gina McCarthy, chief administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  McCarthy told a gathering of National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., late last month that only 42 of the more than 300 federally recognized tribes with reservations use federally approved standards to measure water quality. … ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  Is the water safe in Indian Country? EPA says it often doesn’t know

Obama seeks more coordination in dealing with drought:  “President Barack Obama on Monday directed the federal government to come up with a less reactionary and more long-term strategy for dealing with drought.  About 12.5 percent of the continental U.S. was experiencing drought as of mid-March, said Alice Hill, a key Obama aide on this issue.  That translates into more than 39 million people, or about one-eighth of the U.S. population, living with drought in the lower 48 states, mostly in the West and with much of California suffering through its fifth year of dryness. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Obama seeks more coordination in dealing with drought

El Nino upsets seasons and upends lives worldwide: In rural villages in Africa and Asia, and in urban neighborhoods in South America, millions of lives have been disrupted by weather linked to the strongest El Niño in a generation.  In some parts of the world, the problem has been not enough rain; in others, too much. Downpours were so bad in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, that shantytowns sprouted along city streets, filled with families displaced by floods. But farmers in India had the opposite problem: Reduced monsoon rains forced them off the land and into day-labor jobs. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  El Nino upsets seasons and upends lives worldwide

In commentary today …

Tunnels don’t add up, and now we know why, says the Modesto Bee:  They write, “For years now, Gov. Jerry Brown has been telling us that he will save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the greatest fresh-water estuary on this side of the continent – by taking water out of it.  Environmental scientists have hustled out to make his case. Wildlife experts have joined the “Oyez” chorus. And state water managers insist it is our only option.  Among the biggest and most enthusiastic backers is the largest irrigation district in the world, Westlands Water District, and the largest urban water supplier in the world, Metropolitan Water District. Met has even bought four islands to facilitate the tunnels. They keep a public relations firms on call to answer any negativity (like this). ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Tunnels don’t add up, and now we know why

Practical plus high-tech solutions can ease California’s water crisis, says Thomas Del Baccaro:  He writes,  “The impact of California’s water policies is far-reaching. More than just a question of the length of showers, they directly contribute to high unemployment and poverty. The solution to our water crisis can boost employment and reduce poverty – and it’s high time we get practical about it.  In the last 15 years, I have traveled to 54 of California’s 58 counties. It is heartbreaking to see the effects of our policies in places such as East Porterville, where residents go without water, or the divisions that these policies cause over property rights, reservoirs and dams – including pitting environmentalists against farmers and north against south. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Practical plus high-tech solutions can ease California’s water crisis

Dan Walters: Hopes rise as winter rain brings a green spring: The National Weather Service distributed a remarkable photo the other day – a satellite view of California showing just how green it has become after heavy winter rains.  The occasion was St. Patrick’s Day, but the photo’s true meaning was the vernal equinox’s age-old promise of renewal.  California is green again, except for its deserts and its snow-covered mountains, and its reservoirs are, for the first time in years, holding healthy amounts of water – so much, in fact, that releases are being increased to make room for melting snow. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Hopes rise as winter rain brings a green spring

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

weather 1Precipitation watch …

Rain, snow, and thunder for Northern California:  From the National Weather Service:  “Showers and thunderstorms will develop late this morning and continue into the evening. Brief periods of heavy snow will be likely over the mountains during the afternoon. Abundant small hail and even isolated funnel clouds could accompany thunderstorms.”

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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