Daily Digest: Living with less snow in the West: What global warming means for our water supplies; Lake Oroville within 18 feet of crest; Massive effort to remove aquatic invader in SF Bay nearly finished; Drought hits coastal fish and farms hard; and more …

In California water news today, Living with less snow in the West:  What global warming means for our water supplies; Lake Oroville within 18 feet of crest; San Francisco Bay:  Massive effort to remove aquatic invader nearly finished; Drought hits coastal fish and farms hard; Carlsbad to buy more desalinated water; and more …

In the news today …

Living with less snow in the West:  What global warming means for our water supplies:  “Among firs and cedars high in the Sierra Nevada, scientists are using an array of instruments to monitor the health of the forest, measure the snowpack and track the water that melts and seeps into the soil.  As they collect data, they’re taking snapshots of a landscape in the midst of major changes.  When Erin Stacy checked the instruments last month at one of the research stations she manages in the Sierra National Forest, her boots crunched through snow that blanketed meadows and lay in patches among the trees. But the snow was melting early near the end of a record-warm winter. And in the future, there’s likely to be much less snow, if any, on the ground here. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Living with less snow in the West: What global warming means for our water supplies

Lake Oroville within 18 feet of crest:  “With Lake Oroville at its highest level in nearly four years, state officials were cautiously optimistic that the reservoir will reach the crest this year.  The lake was less than 18 feet from the crest of 900 feet above sea level, as of 5 p.m. Friday. The last time the lake was this high was June 28, 2012. That year marked the last time Lake Oroville came within 13 inches of the crest as California’s current multi-year drought was just beginning. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Lake Oroville within 18 feet of crest

San Francisco Bay:  Massive effort to remove aquatic invader nearly finished:Eleven years ago, it was a major threat to San Francisco Bay.  A fast-growing, non-native plant that spread in dense thickets up to 7 feet tall was exploding out of control, overrunning wetlands, threatening birds, wildlife and even the public's view of the water.  But now after what is believed the most extensive campaign ever launched to eradicate a non-native species in San Francisco Bay, the invader has been sent into retreat, its area reduced 97 percent, from 805 acres in 2005 to 28 today. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Massive effort to remove aquatic invader nearly finished

Drought hits coastal fish and farms hard:  “Jose Ramirez can’t complain. “I don’t worry this year for water,” he said, looking out over a field of olallieberries bursting with white blossoms. “I’m happy.”  Ramirez has been farming this plot of 25 acres (10 hectares) in Pescadero, California, for 11 years. He’s called a “tenant farmer,” an arrangement typical in this rural, coastal area of San Mateo County. The land he works is owned by the Peninsula Open Space Trust.  Thanks to winter rains this year, he has enough water, which he pumps from Pescadero Creek, to allow him to plant flowers, fava beans, sage and thyme, in addition to his berries, which will become the filling in the local tavern’s signature olallieberry pie. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Drought hits coastal fish and farms hard

San Bernardino sues over recycling plant proposal: San Bernardino has filed a lawsuit challenging an environmental impact report for a proposed wastewater plant near Indian Springs High School, citing public health, environmental and cost concerns.  Mayor Carey Davis issued a statement saying, “Our first priority is to protect our residents.”  Among other issues, the lawsuit raises questions and concerns about the project damaging local watersheds and the endangered Santa Ana sucker fish. … ” Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  San Bernardino sues over recycling plant proposal

Carlsbad to buy more desalinated water: Carlsbad, home to one of the largest desalination plants in the world, will buy a bigger share of filtered seawater produced at the plant than other cities in San Diego County under an agreement approved this week. The Carlsbad City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to sign a 30-year contract with the County Water Authority to purchase an additional 2,500 acre-feet of water annually from the $1 billion desalination plant, which was completed last year and began production in December.  The steep price of the specialty water — nearly twice the cost of imported water — is worth it, officials said, as the city seeks to ease its dependence on imported water and loosen mandatory cuts in consumption imposed by the state last year amid California’s devastating drought. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  Carlsbad to buy more desalinated water

In commentary today …

Testing shows food and oil field water are a good mix, says Lois Henry:  She writes, “Initial testing of grapes and nuts that have been irrigated for the past 20 or so years with water produced from nearby oilfields shows (drum roll) a…BIG…FAT…NOTHING.  TA DAAAAA!  There was no chemical difference between fruits and nuts irrigated by oilfield-produced water in the Cawelo Water District and fruits and nuts grown miles away and irrigated with groundwater or water imported from Northern California or wherever.  There is no evidence that Cawelo fruit is “bioaccumulating” nasty stuff from recycled oilfield-produced water that could then bioaccumulate in humans. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Testing shows food and oil field water are a good mix

Aquifer and groundwater protection is key, says the Reporter: They write, “State Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, took a big step in water protection in this her final year in office with appropriate legislation to aid California’s existing aquifers and groundwater resources.  There has been a threat of permanent damage to these resources due to overdraft during the state’s lengthy drought. Senate Bill 1317, also known as the Aquifer Protection Act, was approved last week by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water by a 6-2 vote. SB 1317, which will next be heard by the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, is supported by many environmental groups across the state as well. … ”  Read more from The Reporter here:  Aquifer and groundwater protection is key

Will lawsuit become a jolt to Modesto Irrigation District's farm water subsidies?  Jeff Jardine writes,The lawsuit filed recently against Modesto Irrigation District begs one question in particular:  What took someone so long to sue? It’s no secret that MID uses revenue from residential electrical customers to subsidize water rates for farmers. Farmers pay only 17 percent of their actual water delivery costs, meaning the electric ratepayers pony up the remaining 83 percent.  Board members certainly knew of the disparity – they’ve even discussed it during meetings over the years – and yet didn’t fix it. In essence, they said, “So sue us.” And someone finally did, meaning high-powered attorneys on behalf of local government watchdog Dave Thomas. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Will lawsuit become a jolt to MID’s farm water subsidies?

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition …

 

 

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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