Daily Digest: Delta tunnel critics put project to votes; West Coast fisheries at risk as climate change disturbs ocean chemistry; New Bay Area dam project reaches major milestone; Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for groundwater recharge; and more …

In California water news today, Delta tunnel critics put project to votes; West Coast fisheries at risk as climate change disturbs ocean chemistry; Humboldt Bay shipping impacted by shallow depth; Sacramento Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the worse; Yuba County Water Agency sues Cordua Irrigation District over water transfer steps; A river is reborn after Lake Tahoe reaches milestone; Budget dispute over Tahoe funding; New Bay Area dam project reaches critical milestone; What drought? Blackhawk orders homeowners to green up; Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for groundwater recharge; No rain could mean Lake Casitas runs dry in four years; Pumping restrictions? State Water Board explains ‘backstop’; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Delta tunnel critics put project to votes: For all the plaudits Gov. Jerry Brown gets from Democrats these days, there are still two big things dividing him from numerous members of his party: the Delta tunnels.  To his critics, the governor has become synonymous with the $15 billion project to build two massive tunnels for shipping water south. Its capacity to wreak political turmoil is seemingly endless. Powerful water agencies are fighting to shape the administrative process, a ballot initiative could imperil the financing, and a southern California water agency’s Delta land deal has tunnel opponents, who see it as a way to grease the project, on high alert. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Delta tunnel critics put project to votes

West Coast fisheries at risk as climate change disturbs ocean chemistry: The West Coast’s abundant fisheries are at risk as the region’s waters become more acidic, a group of scientists warn.  Researchers from the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel released a report this month that projects dire changes to ocean chemistry and marine life, and recommends ways to avert it, including restoring kelp forests and eelgrass beds and combating marine pollution. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  West Coast fisheries at risk as climate change disturbs the ocean chemistry

Humboldt Bay shipping impacted by shallow depth:  “Abnormally large waves at the entrance of Humboldt Bay caused by its shallow depth are creating treacherous conditions for boaters and barges as well as impacting shipments in and out of the bay, local officials state.  While the dredge is set to be dredged next month due to the hazardous conditions, local and federal entities are now discussing long-term solutions to the issue.  Fortunately for the U.S. Coast Guard Humboldt Bay Sector, nobody has been injured or required rescue from the rocky waters so far this year. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt Bay shipping impacted by shallow depth

Sacramento Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the worse: Surface water supplies have returned to normal for most rice growers in the Sacramento Valley. That’s great news, especially compared to other parts of the state where the water supply is still in a more severe version of drought mode.  However, now that farmers are ready to fire up their tractors to plant rice, commodity prices have taken a nose-dive.  This might also be the first year that new Farm Bill rules are triggered to provide price support payments to local growers. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Sacramento Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the worse

Yuba County Water Agency sues Cordua Irrigation District over water transfer steps:  “The Yuba County Water Agency has filed a lawsuit alleging a local irrigation district took illegal steps to amend an agreement to transfer up to 108,000 acre-feet of water over the next nine years.  The lawsuit alleges the Cordua Irrigation District violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the transfer, while failing to identify and adopt a groundwater monitoring mitigation plan to address any impacts to other groundwater users.  The lawsuit was filed in Yuba County Superior Court last Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Yuba County Water Agency sues Cordua Irrigation District over water transfer steps

A river is reborn after Lake Tahoe reaches milestone: For the first time in 18 months, the Truckee River has begun flowing after Lake Tahoe’s water level reached a milestone.  Water managers said melting snow pushed the lake above 6,223 feet of elevation last Saturday.  That is the elevation of the lake’s natural rim, above which the lake begins to empty into the river at Tahoe City. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  A river is reborn after Lake Tahoe reaches milestone

Budget dispute over Tahoe funding: Deep in Gov. Brown’s 2016-17 budget was a big surprise for Lake Tahoe – the lake was cut out of its expected share of a $475 million environmental pie.  Two years ago, California voters approved Proposition 1, a complex, $7.12 billion water bond package. As details of the funding were being hammered out, five recipients were identified for that $475 million, which the Legislative Analyst said was intended to “satisfy certain state commitments.”  But when Brown released the 2016-2017 budget in January, Lake Tahoe received zero dollars while the Salton Sea restoration, Central Valley Project, Klamath hydroelectric settlement and San Joaquin River restoration would in sum receive $464.9 million. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Budget dispute over Tahoe funding

New Bay Area dam project reaches major milestone:  “In a significant step for the largest reservoir project in the Bay Area in 20 years, workers have finished building the spillway — a massive concrete channel as wide as eight lanes of freeway and a quarter mile long — at Calaveras Dam near the Alameda-Santa Clara county line.  The $810 million project to replace the old dam with a new, more earthquake-proof version has been beset by delays and cost overruns, due to the discovery of ancient landslides and other difficulties in the years since work began in 2011 that have made the project more complicated. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  New Bay Area dam project reaches major milestone

What drought? Blackhawk orders homeowners to green up:  “The homeowners association for this upscale, gated community has threatened to fine homeowners for brown or dead lawns and landscaping despite a continuing state drought emergency.  “We believe that allowing the drought to negatively impact the landscaping at any Blackhawk home does a disservice to property values throughout the community and is a violation of our CC&Rs,” wrote Mark Goldberg, the community manager for the association, in a letter that went out to 2027 Blackhawk homes, just east of Danville, last month.  Effective June 1, the association will begin “aggressive enforcement” of landscaping standards that could include issuing fines, filing lawsuits, doing landscaping improvements and handing the bill to the homeowner or turning off gate clickers to enter the community. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  What drought? Blackhawk orders homeowners to green up

Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for groundwater recharge:For the first time in more than two years, water is flowing inside the Friant-Kern and Madera canals for groundwater recharge and farm irrigation.  But the shimmering liquid that is being shunted from the canals into local ditches does not signal an end to the California drought.  “We’re a long way from the drought being over,” said Gary Serrato, general manager of Fresno Irrigation District. “The snowpack is not even at average. We’re at 75 to 80 percent of average snowpack.” … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for groundwater recharge

No rain could mean Lake Casitas runs dry in four years: In a fifth year of drought, Ojai Valley is bracing for its driest, hottest months as water supplies continue to drop.  Instead of the wet El Niño winter predicted by forecasters, Ventura County and much of Southern California fell short of even normal rainfall.  Wells have run dry, and Lake Casitas has dropped 69 feet, its lowest point since the lake was filled in the 1960s.  “Worst-case scenario we have a mudhole in just over four years; best case, a little bit over six years,” said Pete Kaiser, board president of the Casitas Municipal Water District, which manages the lake and area’s water supply. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  No rain could mean Lake Casitas runs dry in four years

Pumping restrictions? State Water Board explains ‘backstop’:  “If local agencies fail to adequately manage the IWV groundwater basin with a groundwater sustainability agency and a groundwater sustainability plan, the end result could be pumping restrictions imposed by the state.  That was a key message from Samuel Boland-Brien from California’s State Water Resources Control Board. Boland-Brien, who is acting Program Manager for the board’s Groundwater Management Unit, gave a presentation at the latest GSA-eligible group meeting Friday at City Hall. His topic was—under the sustainable groundwater management act—what triggers will set off state intervention and what would it look like. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Pumping restrictions? State Water Board explains ‘backstop’

In commentary today …

We can better deal with drought with more data, says Bill Dodd and Jim Wunderman:  They write, “When Californians want to buy a car, data on fuel efficiency, safety, performance and virtually every factoid imaginable are just a quick online search away. However, California’s water managers have to do extensive research just to piece together the basic facts.  By making California’s existing water data open, transparent and publicly accessible, we could significantly improve our drought resilience. The problem isn’t a lack of information so much as a lack of accessible, user-friendly data.  That’s why Assembly Bill 1755 is so important. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  We can better deal with drought with more data

Sacramento: Prepare for a new flood of levee work:  The Sacramento Bee writes, “Much of Sacramento’s charm flows from the American and Sacramento rivers. Those rivers also are a threat.  The weak El Niño and years of drought notwithstanding, Sacramento remains the most flood-prone U.S. city this side of New Orleans. For all the levee work that has been completed – $2 billion worth since 1990 – more is needed.  On Thursday, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency Board of Directors will meet to consider calling again on property owners in the region’s flood-prone areas to vote to dig a little deeper. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Prepare for a new flood of levee work

weather 1Precipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Service:  “Wednesday will continue warm but will be cooler than today with increasing clouds. Expect a chance of showers over the entire Interior Northern California Thursday and Friday. Amounts will be very light. Showers will continue over the northern Sacramento Valley and surrounding mountains through the weekend.”

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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