Daily Digest: Agencies seek two-month delay for Delta tunnels hearing; Smelt population ‘alarmingly low’; Valley farm water managers urge rewrite of new groundwater regulations; and more …

In California water news today, Agencies seek two-month delay for Delta tunnels hearing; Smelt population ‘alarmingly low’; pumping cut; Citing confusion and cost, farm water managers urge rewrite of new groundwater regulations; Growers urged to get involved in local agencies’ groundwater plans; Tom Ferguson: Why water needs data management; Spring snow leads some Sierra resorts to extend skiing into May; Pacific Ocean pattern could predict U. S. heat waves

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Agencies seek two-month delay for Delta tunnels hearing: In response to dozens of pending protests, state and federal officials asked for a two-month delay in hearings that could decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  On Monday, the state Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – the agencies that run the huge Delta pumps – requested a 60-day continuance on hearings that were scheduled to begin in early May at the State Water Resources Control Board. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Agencies seek two-month delay for Delta tunnels hearing

Smelt population ‘alarmingly low’; pumping cut: The federal government is increasing protections for vulnerable Delta smelt, which will require Delta export pumping to be ratcheted back even more.  Friday’s decision came one day after U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to President Obama, asking him to crank up the pumps at a time when rivers are flowing high with runoff.  “If we can’t increase pumping during an El Niño year, then when else can we?” Feinstein wrote. … ”  Read more from Alex Brietler here:  Smelt population ‘alarmingly low’: pumping cut

Citing confusion and cost, farm water managers urge rewrite of new groundwater regulations:  “Farm water managers said new rules for managing underground supplies are confusing and potentially expensive.  The upcoming written regulations for groundwater management agencies need major adjustments, central San Joaquin Valley water district managers told state officials.  The regulations are slated to go into effect June 1; the state Department of Water Resources is taking public comment about them until April 1. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Citing confusion and cost, farm water managers urge rewrite of new groundwater regulations

Growers urged to get involved in local agencies’ groundwater plans: Growers worried about the impact of new state groundwater regulations should get involved in local agencies’ discussions about how to implement them, a state water official advises.  Landowners can check the California Department of Water Resources’ website to track which agency is developing a groundwater sustainability plan in their area and how it’s coming along, said Trevor Joseph, the DWR’s sustainable groundwater management section chief.  “As a grower you might be interested certainly in which agency is going to represent your area” in implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Joseph said in a March 24 webinar. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Growers urged to get involved in local agencies’ groundwater plans

Tom Ferguson: Why water needs data management:  “Water is a surprisingly data-poor industry, even in California, home to Silicon Valley and a longtime hotbed of innovation. Yet somehow the water business, relatively speaking, has missed out on this trend.  This is largely because water is still delivered the same as it was a century ago – by pumps, valves and canals that are simple mechanical devices, untethered to information networks. Thus it is simply not possible in many situations to even collect data on water management, not to mention analyze it in any meaningful way. This is especially true in agriculture, where water is still largely moved by gravity flow, not by pump pressure. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Tom Ferguson: Why water needs data management

Spring snow leads some Sierra resorts to extend skiing into May: A spring storm dumped fresh snow to parts of the Sierra and delivered partly cloudy skies and gusty winds to the Sacramento region Monday, capping a weekend of hammock-worthy highs in the 70s.  Chain controls were in effect part of the day on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit. By midafternoon, 11 inches of snow had fallen over a 24-hour period at Northstar California Resort north of Lake Tahoe, said spokeswoman Marcie Bradley. That brought the snowfall total for the season at Northstar to 441 inches, she said.  The Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe resort announced Monday that, thanks to snow conditions, winter operations at the Lake Tahoe area’s highest base elevation resort will be extended to May 8. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Spring snow leads some Sierra resorts to extend skiing into May

‘Desert dust’ causing Colorado’s snowpack to melt early: Desert dust is littering Colorado’s trademark white powder snow and having a big impact on the spring runoff.  “It’s a big problem that many people don’t realize,” said Jeff Derry, the director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies.  Scientists like Derry call it a “dust on snow” event.  They typically occur in the spring when storms pull dust out of the desert southwest and spread it out over the Colorado mountains. … ”  Read more from Denver’s Channel 7 here:  ‘Desert dust’ causing Colorado’s snowpack to melt early

Pacific Ocean pattern could predict U. S. heat waves:  “In the summer of 2012, a series of punishing heat waves roasted a large portion of the U.S. with record-breaking temperatures that helped spawn one of the most widespread and costliest droughts to hit the country in decades.  Combined, the blistering temperatures and drought cost some $31.5 billion and led to dozens of deaths. The heat was so intense that it melted roads and airport runways. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Pacific Ocean pattern could predict U. S. heat waves

In commentary today …

Delta tunnels project deserves a public vote, says the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, “It’s great that five of the seven Santa Clara Valley Water District Board members now say they want to give voters a say in whether Silicon Valley’s largest water district will help pay for Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels plan.  The other two — Linda LeZotte and Nai Hsueh — have yet to weigh in. They should make it unanimous by joining Tony Estremera, Barbara Keegan, Gary Kremen, Dick Santos and John Varela in calling for a public vote, even if it needs to be a nonbinding advisory measure. ... ”  Continue reading from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Delta tunnels project deserves a public vote

Delta smelt: Water wars lynchpin:  Dennis Wyatt writes, “It smells like cucumbers.  It tops out at 4 inches in length.  It is a luminous silvery blue color.  That is what a Delta smelt looks and smells like in a nutshell. At one point the fish that have a one-year life cycle were so plentiful that they were caught and sold commercially.  Today the fish that are unique to the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta are on the verge of extinction in the wild. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Delta smelt: Water wars lynchpin

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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