Daily Digest, Easter Sunday edition: Groundwater law and winter rain trigger flood of aquifer-recharge projects; Proponents put brakes on proposal to divert high speed rail money; Delay in water rights hearing; and more …

Sunol Regional Wilderness, 3/19/16; photo by Jay Huang

Happy Easter Sunday!
In California water news this weekend, Groundwater law and winter rain trigger flood of aquifer-recharge projects around California; Proponents put brakes on proposal to divert high speed rail money; Delay in water rights hearing; Siskiyou County asks Crystal Geyser for an EIR; Lime Saddle Marina sees flood of people visiting Lake Oroville; Sacramento: Levee ‘armoring’ along American River parkway draws concerns; Stockton: Water picture brightens; Manteca: $10.75 million flows into South San Joaquin Irrigation District from two water deals; Valley counties receive money for water studies; San Bernardino: Water agencies planning for underground supply boost

In the news this weekend …

Groundwater law and winter rain trigger flood of aquifer-recharge projects around California:  “A historic 2014 law requiring water agencies across California to replenish the state’s imperiled aquifers created a new problem: Many local officials just weren’t sure how to do it.  But this winter’s abundant rains are triggering a flood of experiments that have turned the state’s agricultural regions into aquifer-recharge laboratories.  Farmers in Modesto inundated an almond orchard with the city’s stormwater. Water managers in and around Fresno have more than 20 new groundwater recharge projects in the works. On the Central Coast, researchers in the Pajaro Valley are carefully designing percolation basins to capture rainfall before it gushes out into the Pacific. ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Groundwater law and winter rain trigger flood of aquifer-recharge projects around California

Proponents put brakes on proposal to divert high speed rail money:  “Proponents of a proposed initiative to divert high-speed rail funding to water projects said Friday that they are pulling their petitions from the street and instead will pursue a place on the 2018 ballot.  The campaign, led by Republican Bob Huff, the former Senate minority leader, and GOP Board of Equalization member George Runner, budgeted for $2.65 a signature, spokesman Hector Barajas said.  This week, amid soaring signature-gathering costs, the price rocketed to about $5 a signature. Rather than pay the spiraling rate, proponents are pulling back and targeting 2018, a non-presidential year where fewer Democratic voters, and presumably less supporters of high-speed rail, turn out to the polls. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Proponents put brakes on proposal to divert high speed rail money

Delay in water rights hearing:  “State water officials have indefinitely postponed ongoing hearings about alleged illegal diversions from the Delta during the drought last summer.  Who knows what this means, if anything. The hearings started on Monday and were expected to last 11 days. But the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, which faces a possible $1.4 million fine, moved for dismissal on Tuesday, and the hearing officers — members of the State Water Resources Control Board whose role is like a judge — canceled hearings for the rest of the week. … ”  Read more from Alex Brietler’s blog here:  Delay in water rights hearing

Siskiyou County asks Crystal Geyser for an EIR:  “The Siskiyou County Community Development Department reported the following: On Friday, March 18, the Crystal Geyser Water Company submitted a conditional use permit application requesting approval to install a caretaker’s/security residence at their Mt. Shasta facility.  On March 23, the Siskiyou County Community Development Department informed Crystal Geyser that the use permit is a discretionary project and is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act. ... ”  Read more from the Siskiyou County News here:  Siskiyou County asks Crystal Geyser for an EIR

Lime Saddle Marina sees flood of people visiting Lake Oroville:  “Dozens of people from across the county soaked up the sun and dropped a line in Lake Oroville on Saturday afternoon at Lime Saddle Marina during the first weekend of Spring.  Couples walked their dogs, families and friends relaxed on their houseboats and outdoor enthusiasts fished. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Lime Saddle Marina sees flood of people visiting Lake Oroville

Sacramento: Levee ‘armoring’ along American River parkway draws concerns: Years of rumbling dump trucks and backhoes placing 2.75 million tons of rock “armor” along nearly a dozen miles of riverbank is an unpleasant thought for many who bike, jog, fish, bird-watch, golf, boat and swim along the lower American River Parkway.  But to demonstrate why officials currently are planning for some version of that scenario, Rick Johnson, the executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, points to a striking aerial photo taken after one of the worst deluges ever recorded in this region. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Levee ‘armoring’ along American River parkway draws concerns

Stockton: Water picture brightens:  “The old dam has once more been swallowed up by the rising lake, it’s no longer such a long hike from the campground to the shore, and — can you believe it? — boat ramps actually lead to water.  Yes, after a 23-foot rise there during the month of March, New Hogan is in much better shape as the end of the wet season approaches.  And yet, it remains just 43 percent full, or 82 percent of normal. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water picture brightens

Manteca: $10.75 million flows into South San Joaquin Irrigation District from two water deals:  “It’s a win-win-win deal.  Farmers hammered hard by the drought on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley get water.  Flows in the Stanislaus River will be adequate enough to sustain riparian environments and fish.  And the South San Joaquin Irrigation will receive $9.75 million to help keep water costs down for Manteca, Ripon and Escalon farmers as well as have money to invest in measures to conserve water. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  $10.75 million flows into South San Joaquin Irrigation District from two water deals

Valley counties receive money for water studies:  “Four central San Joaquin Valley counties have been awarded state grants to improve their understanding of underground water so they can prepare for a state law that takes effect in four years.  Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties each will get $500,000 in Proposition 1 funding set aside for local governments to adhere to guidelines of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The money will help local governments undertake projects in cooperation with other agencies to bring their basins into balance and make them sustainable long term, said Lauren Bisnett, the Sacramento-based information officer for the state’s program overseeing the groundwater management act program. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Valley counties receive money for water studies

San Bernardino: Water agencies planning for underground supply boost: Water agencies are coming together to look at new locations to recharge groundwater basins in the Yucaipa/Calimesa area.  Officials from San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, a water wholesaler for the East Valley, have hired a company to test recharge potential of eight sites in a 25-square-mile area of Yucaipa and Calimesa between the 10 Freeway and the San Bernardino Mountains.  Groundwater recharge involves delivering water to a pit and letting it sink into the ground. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Water agencies planning for underground supply boost

In commentary this weekend …

Don’t trade away our salmon in a water deal, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  “In yet another battle in California’s water wars, politics is attempting to override science. This tactic has proved disastrous for California fisheries and water quality in the past. There is little reason to think it is a good idea now.  In this latest skirmish erupting in the favored battleground — the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican members of the House are calling on the president to order more water pumped out of the delta to San Joaquin Valley farmers. Scientific indicators say federal water managers should reduce pumping to protect endangered fish. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Don’t trade away our salmon in a water deal

Precipitation watch …

Mixed weather today:  “A low pressure system dropping down the Pacific Northwest coast will bring mixed weather across northern California today. Light Rain and snow showers will be mixed with clouds and areas of sunshine. The Eastern Sacramento valley and Sierra Nevada foothills may even see some isolated thunderstorms this afternoon.”

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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