Daily Digest: Coverage from the White House Water Summit; New dispute erupts over Delta tunnels project; Feds warn of new threats to water supplies with climate change; Separate dam pact may muddy Klamath waters; and more …

In California water news today, In first-of-a-kind summit, White House rallies corporate investment in water supplies; Water organizations using tech to make an impact; Water resources dashboard provides “one-stop shop” for water data needs; Innovative California water agency initiatives highlighted at White House Water Summit; White House Water Summit highlights Israeli/California innovation; White House hopes to spark recycled water tech in California; Big Business steps up to help California’s drought; New dispute erupts over Delta tunnels project; Feds warn of new threats to water supplies with climate change; Bureau increases releases from Shasta; Collaborative project aims to aid salmon; Rice growing experiment eyed as long-term drought solution; California is still in a drought, but these residents say its time to water the gardens again; Five reasons dam removal still makes sense, despite the drought; Historically dry February could lead to first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River; Separate dam pact may muddy Klamath waters and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Free webinar at noon today: Webinar: Using Graywater and Stormwater to Enhance Local Water Supplies: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits  Click here for more information.

In World Water Day news …

In first-of-a-kind summit, White House rallies corporate investment in water supplies: The White House on Tuesday unveiled several billion dollars’ worth of corporate commitments to water research and development during a high-level summit.  Pegged to World Water Day, the summit was intended to draw attention to specific state and corporate pledges as well as new Obama administration initiatives prompted in part by Western states’ drought and the Flint, Michigan, drinking water scandal.  The corporate promises include a commitment by GE to invest $500 million over the next decade on water and reuse technologies, and a pledge by San Francisco-based Ultra Capital to invest $1.5 billion in decentralized “water management solutions.” … ”  Read more from the Kansas City Star here:  In first-of-a-kind summit, White House rallies corporate investment in water supplies

Water organizations using tech to make an impact:  “By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Already, more than 663 million people in the world live without clean water. And drought is a major challenge in geographies ranging from Northern California, which is facing its worst drought in 1,200 years; to east Africa, where a devastating drought has led to crop failures affecting an estimated 23 million people. To address challenges at this scale, we need creative solutions—both to raise awareness for these issues, and create new interventions to meet local needs. So this World Water Day, we want to highlight a handful of organizations who are using technologies—like virtual reality, data analysis, and mapping—to make a difference. ... ”  Read more from the Google blog here:  Water organizations using tech to make an impact

Water resources dashboard provides “one-stop shop” for water data needs:  “All regions and economic sectors in the United States depend on adequate and reliable water supplies. Too much or too little water can endanger the health and welfare of citizens and businesses. Driven by feedback from water resource managers, federal agencies and others, NOAA and partners have developed the Water Resources Dashboard: a one-stop website for relevant water data on drought, flooding, precipitation, climate and other measures.  NOAA is launching the new website today on World Water Day 2016 to better serve citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government.  … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Water resources dashboard provides “one-stop shop” for water data needs

National Science Foundation invests in a clean water future: Today, at the White House Water Summit, the National Science Foundation (NSF) joins other federal agencies to emphasize its commitment to a sustainable water future.  Access to affordable clean water is vital for energy generation, food cultivation and basic life support. With drought pressure and population demands, water is an increasingly precious resource.  The California drought and Flint water emergency show some of the consequences of clean water shortages. Low-cost, low-energy technologies for both water quality testing and water treatment must be developed to overcome economic barriers and secure America’s future.  NSF supports national efforts to bolster water security and supply by investing in fundamental science and engineering research. … ” Read more from the National Science Foundation here: National Science Foundation invests in a clean water future

Innovative California water agency initiatives highlighted at White House Water Summit: As part of the United Nations World Water Day aimed at raising awareness of water issues and building sustainable solutions through science and technology, the Obama Administration Tuesday hosted a special White House Water Summit including panel discussions and speakers from public and private sectors.  Several ACWA member agencies were among the nearly 200 water experts that attended the summit featuring innovative projects from California water agencies. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Innovative California water agency initiatives highlighted at White House Water Summit

White House Water Summit highlights Israeli/California innovation: The White House announced Tuesday new steps and billions of dollars in private money to help solve California’s drought.  The focus at Tuesday’s “Water Summit” was on developing new technology and innovation to solve the water crisis in California and improve drought resiliency across the country. More than 200 experts, scientists, policy makers and high tech innovators attended the summit at the White House which coincided with World Water Day. ... ” Read more from NBC here:  White House Water Summit highlights Israeli/California innovation

White House hopes to spark recycled water tech in California:  “Occupants of 11,000 new single-family houses under construction near Tracy will be able to recycle their shower, bath, laundry and sink water on site using a system designed by Australian water engineers, one of dozens of new water technologies the White House will showcase at its big “water summit” Tuesday.  Hoping to leapfrog a Congress still trying to wring more water out of California’s over-drafted rivers, the Obama administration wants to replicate for water the push it made on solar power nearly eight years ago to jump start new technologies and coordinate the federal response to droughts. … ”  Read more from GovTech here:  White House hopes to spark recycled water tech in California

Big Business steps up to help California’s drought: Long before the California drought became a national crisis, multinational berry company Driscoll’s knew it had to organize a solution to the water problem its grower partners were facing.  Groundwater was being over-pumped in its major California growing region in the Pajaro Valley, and as a result saltwater was seeping into farmers’ wells from nearby Monterey Bay, threatening berry growers and other farmers in the valley.   Finding another sourcing region was not an option for Driscoll’s, even though the company represents community growers in 21 countries around the world.  “There’s a very specific climate for strawberries,” said Driscoll’s then-CEO Miles Reiter at a drought forum last year. “… and none of the growing environments is quite as perfect as California. That means we need to fix the water situation.” … ”  Read more from EcoWatch here:  Big Business steps up to help California’s drought

Sonoma County supervisors Carrillo, Rabbitt attend White House summit:  “Sonoma County Supervisors Efren Carrillo and David Rabbitt were in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to attend a high-level White House conference on efforts to protect and sustain the nation’s water supply.  The summit, which coincided with World Water Day, was part of a new push by the Obama administration to reduce the country’s vulnerability to drought.  Carrillo and Rabbitt were two of 150 elected officials, scientists and business leaders to participate in the summit, which showcased drought response, flood protection and ecosystem restoration efforts, including some underway in Sonoma County. … ”  Read more from the Sonoma County Press Democrat here:  Sonoma County supervisors Carrillo, Rabbitt attend White House summit

UC Water part of White House Summit:  “The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted a water summit Tuesday featuring 200 organizations that are committed to conservation and adaptation, including the UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, headquartered at UC Merced.  The summit was designed to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  UC Water part of White House summit

In other news today …

New dispute erupts over Delta tunnels project:  “A potentially major new fight has erupted over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and this time the protests are coming from a group of farmers that wants the tunnels built.  The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, a powerful San Joaquin Valley farm water agency, demanded Monday that two members of the State Water Resources Control Board be disqualified from a crucial hearing on the tunnels scheduled for early May.  In papers filed Monday, the San Luis agency said board Chair Felicia Marcus and board member Tam Doduc, the presiding officers in the hearing, have already made up their minds about a critical issue that could translate into less water delivered to San Luis and other water agencies south of the Delta. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New dispute erupts over Delta tunnels project

Feds warn of new threats to water supplies with climate change: Climate change could upset the complex interplay of rain, snow and temperature in the West, hurting food production, the environment and electrical generation at dams, the federal government warned Tuesday.  Some areas could get more rain and less snow, reducing the snowmelt flowing into reservoirs in the summer when farmers need it to irrigate, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report said.  Higher temperatures would mean more evaporation from reservoirs, particularly in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins. The delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin provides water for two-thirds of Californians and irrigation for nearly a million acres of farmland. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Feds warn of new threats to water supplies with climate change

Bureau increases releases from Shasta:  “After receiving nearly 5 feet of rain since October, there is too much water in Lake Shasta, according to the agency that manages Shasta Dam.  After four years of drought, the lake has finally reached levels not seen in five years, according to Shane Hunt, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.  But bureau officials, worried about the high inflow into the lake from recent heavy rains, have also had to increase the amount of water coming out of Shasta and Keswick dams to reduce the chances of downstream flooding. ... ”  Read more from the Redding Searchlight-Record here:  Bureau increases releases from Shasta

Collaborative project aims to aid salmon: Rather than waiting for government agencies to act on their own, Central Valley landowners and local water agencies are moving ahead with collaborative projects intended to improve conditions for protected fish—and therefore reduce the impact on water supplies.  In one such project, fish-saving modifications to Wallace Weir in the Yolo Bypass near Knights Landing will begin this summer. Participants say the project will benefit fish, add to future salmon populations and fit neatly into farming operations and water supply management needs. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Collaborative project aims to aid salmon

Rice growing experiment eyed as long-term drought solution:  “A California drip-irrigation manufacturer, California rice growers and Israeli university researchers are teaming up on a project in Yolo County to try to grow one of the state’s most thirsty crops using significantly less water.  This first farming project using Israel’s research and innovation in water technology to reduce rice-crop water use will begin this spring at Conaway Ranch in Woodland.  The project — a partnership of Lundberg Family Farms, Netafim USA and researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev — was announced at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Rice growing experiment eyed as long-term drought solution

California is still in a drought, but these residents say its time to water the gardens again:  “When Carol Cramer, a retired schoolteacher in Auburn, California, looks out into her backyard, she sees dead brown shrubs. Two years ago her garden flourished with a lush green lawn and the thick foliage of several trees. But conservation measures, mandated by the state last year, meant she had to cut back. She stopped watering the garden. So did her neighbors. Now, when she walks around the neighborhood, all she sees is dead brown lawns.  The city estimates that more than 20 million dollars worth of trees and shrubs have died.  “We’re all in the same sandbox,” Cramer lamented. ... ”  Read more from VICE here:  California is still in a drought, but these residents say its time to water the gardens again

Five reasons dam removal still makes sense, despite the drought:  “It may seem counterintuitive. California and the rest of the west are held in a crippling drought that this current El Niño season is doing little to alleviate. And from the 1850s through the 1980s, dams went up in California in part to ensure a secure supply of water for homes, farms, and factories. But dam removal is still often a good idea even as the state looks at yet another year of drought. Here are five reasons why. … ”  Read more from KCET here:  Five reasons dam removal still makes sense, despite the drought

Radio show: Proposed ballot measure would use high speed rail money for water storage:  “Just two years ago California voters approved a water bond that set aside billions to pay for new water storage. Now a new group backed by many of the valley’s most influential farmers says that’s not enough to build new dams and expand existing ones.  They want to use ask voters to approve a plan to take the $10 billion in bond funds that voters approved in 2008 for high speed rail and direct them to water storage projects.  …  Aubrey Bettencourt, the executive director of the California Water Alliance joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the plan, which needs nearly 600,000 signatures to make it on the November ballot.”  Listen to the radio show from Valley Public Radio here:  Proposed ballot measure would use high speed rail money for water storage

Historically dry February could lead to first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River: Federal forecasters have downgraded their projections for the Colorado River after an unusually hot, dry February that has increased the likelihood of a first-ever shortage declaration at Lake Mead.  Forecasters are now predicting the arrival of shortage conditions at the nation’s largest man-made reservoir in January 2018.  Just a month ago, forecasters expected Lake Mead to narrowly avoid the shortage line for at least the next two years. But Paul Miller, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City, said that all changed after a “historically dry” February in the mountains that feed the Colorado. … ”  Read more from the LA Review-Journal here:  Historically dry February could lead to first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River

Wyoming among states advancing claims on the Colorado River:  “Wyoming has moved one step closer to getting more water for ranching, agriculture and industrial development.  The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has advanced a bill that would allow the state to take an additional 125,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River at the Fontenelle Dam.  Gary Wockner, executive director of the group Save the Colorado, says it would be the largest new diversion of water from the Colorado River, which is fed by the Green River, and could hurt a downstream ecosystem already at risk. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here: Wyoming among states advancing claims on the Colorado River

Water affordability is a new civil rights movement in the United States: The cost of drinking water and sewer services in the United States, rising on average at twice the rate of inflation, is giving birth to a new civil rights movement, one based on access to water and sanitation for the poor.  Stirred by the thousands of Detroiters whose water service was shut off in 2014, local groups have coalesced into a national campaign for affordable water. They seek new policies at the local, state, and federal levels to help the country’s poorest residents maintain basic services during an era of financial tumult. ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Water affordability is a new civil rights movement in the United States

In commentary today …

Dan Walters: California’s high water should be captured: The Sacramento River, by far the state’s most important waterway, has been running high, fast and dirty in recent days.  Upstream reservoirs on the Sacramento and its two major tributaries, the American and Feather rivers, have been increasing releases to make room for water from melting snow later in the spring.  California’s drought may not be officially over, but what’s been happening during the winter, thanks to the El Niño ocean phenomena, is a far cry from years of severe water shortages that Californians have been enduring. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California’s high water should be captured

Dennis Wyatt on the environmental perfectionist career bureaucrat LA water complex:  “First question: Why does Sacramento — built in a flood zone on the biggest river in terms of water volume in all of California — never flood?  Part of the reason is much of the town was elevated in the latter part of the 19th century much like large swaths of modern-day San Francisco sits on large chunks of the bay that have been filled in. But there is another big reason — the Yolo Bypass. It is a wide, manmade bypass of Sacramento that takes water when the river reaches 33.8 feet and starts spilling through a weir north of the Capital City.  Second question: If dredging is such a hideous thing for the environment then why is it allowed in the middle of the most sensitive water ecological system in California — the Delta — to accommodate shipping from the Port of Stockton as well as the Port of Sacramento? … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  The environmental perfectionist career bureaucrat LA water complex

Western Governor’s ESA initiative aims to change the debate:  Jack Rice writes,The federal Endangered Species Act isn’t working. It doesn’t work for species and it doesn’t work for people. But things don’t have to stay this way.  Recognizing a need and opportunity for change, Gov. Matt Mead of Wyoming is leading an effort through the Western Governors’ Association, where states and stakeholders are sharing ideas about species management and exploring “ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.” We believe this is the most productive conversation around the ESA and species conservation to occur in decades. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Western Governor’s ESA initiative aims to change the debate

In regional news and commentary today …

Separate dam pact may muddy Klamath waters:  “The struggle over dams and water continues in the Klamath Basin, as officials from the states of California and Oregon, the utility company PacifiCorp and the federal government proceed with a plan to remove all or part of four PacifiCorp-owned hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.  In their first public meeting since announcing their plan last month, officials involved in revising the “agreement in principle”—a 133-page document that describes the parties’ intent to negotiate dam removal through a process governed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—met last week in Sacramento. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Separate dam pact may muddy Klamath waters

East Palo Alto’s economic future tied to water:  “Many cities in Silicon Valley are working to develop new sources of water to avoid shortfalls in future decades, but East Palo Alto is already at a critical point. The city needs more water in order to spur much-needed economic development and new housing. Here’s how it hopes to get there.  Carlos Martinez has big dreams for East Palo Alto. It will continue to be multi-ethnic, there will be residents of all economic classes, affordable housing, schools with 100 percent graduation rates and community programs for youth and seniors. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  East Palo Alto’s economic future tied to water

Tuolumne Utilities District water conservation target reduced: More than 40,000 people who get their water from Tuolumne Utilities District are being asked to use 21 percent less water through October compared with their usage in 2013, according to TUD staff.  That’s a reduction from the 24 percent conservation target mandated last year for TUD by the State Water Resources Control Board. The new 21 percent conservation target is effective immediately.  This winter has been the Mother Lode’s wettest since 2010-11. But the conservation reduction is due to a climate adjustment based on evaporation and transpiration of water into the atmosphere in TUD’s service area, according to State Water Resources Control Board staff. ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Tuolumne Utilities District water conservation target reduced

Diablo Canyon desalination expansion plans move ahead:  “Citing the need for more drought resiliency, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is enthusiastically backing a proposal to expand Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s desalination plant to supply as much as 1,300 acre-feet of water a year to South County residents. That would be enough water to supply 4,000 homes.  Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $900,000 to do the planning and permitting for the project, which calls for 7 miles of pipe to be laid connecting the plant’s reverse osmosis system to the Lopez Lake pipeline in Avila Beach. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Diablo Canyon desalination expansion plans move ahead

LA County cities have $20 billion storm water cleanup bill but they want help:  “For nearly four years, cities in Los Angeles County have voiced complaints that permits required to rid toxic chemicals and bacteria from storm water imposed staggering costs that could bankrupt smaller cities. On Tuesday, two state senators from Sacramento heard their cries.  In a rare show of bipartisanship, state Sens. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, came to City Hall in response to figure out what they can do to help cities pay for a plan that could reach $20 billion over 20 years for the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, according to the Southern California Water Committee and others working on the problem. ... ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  LA County cities have $20 billion storm water cleanup bill but they want help

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: