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Daily Digest: California braces for unending drought; California considering change in drought rules for cities; Powerful water board picking on little guy, say legislators; and more …

In California water news today, California braces for unending drought; California considering change in drought rules for cities; Drought prompts Governor Brown to ban hosing of sidewalks, driveways; Brown seeks to cement reporting regs for smaller districts; Wolk to seek Delta tunnels audit; Powerful water board picking on little guy, say legislators; and more …

In the news today …

California braces for unending drought:  “With California entering its fifth year of a statewide drought, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Monday to impose permanent water conservation measures and called on water suppliers to prepare for a future made drier by climate change.  Under the governor’s executive order, emergency drought regulations, like bans on hosing down driveways or watering lawns within 48 hours of a rainstorm, will remain indefinitely. Urban water suppliers will be required to report their water use to the state each month and develop plans to get through long-term periods of drought. … ” Read more from the New York Times here:  California braces for unending drought

California considering change in drought rules for cities: California will consider lifting a statewide water conservation order for cities and towns as the state’s drought eases.  The State Water Resources Control Board will decide May 18 whether to lift the conservation target in place since June 2015 for urban water users. The water board had mandated a statewide 25 percent reduction but recently reduced that to 20 percent.  “We got a reprieve” from El Niño storms that brought snow and rain to Northern California this winter, water board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. But she said California needs to use the reprieve to prepare for the years ahead as it moves into a drier future because of climate change. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  California considering change in drought rules for cities

Drought prompts Governor Brown to ban hosing of sidewalks, driveways: Saying the drought is far from over, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Monday that permanently bans water-wasting practices such as hosing off sidewalks and sprinkler runoff, setting in motion a five-year plan that assesses state water supplies in an effort to prepare for continuous water shortages.  “We are preparing for longer and more severe drought cycles that we know are in California’s future,” said Mark Cowin, director of the California Department of Water Resources.  However, since Northern California received above-average rainfall this past winter and many reservoirs that feed the State Water Project were filled to capacity, water conservation targets for the state’s 411 urban water agencies will be scrapped, bringing relief to those cities that could not meet their goals. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here: Drought prompts Governor Brown to ban hosing of sidewalks, driveways

Brown seeks to cement reporting regs for smaller districts:  “A far-reaching new drought-related executive order by Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to make permanent many emergency water-saving measures enacted in response to the drought, including water use reporting mandates for smaller irrigation districts.  The May 9 order proposes to cement a requirement that districts file Agricultural Water Management Plans if they serve 10,000 acres or more. Current law requires the plans from districts that serve at least 25,000 acres. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:   Brown seeks to cement reporting regs for smaller districts

Wolk to seek Delta tunnels audit: Sen. Lois Wolk announced Monday that she will request a state audit of the California twin tunnels project, designed to divert water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  “At a projected cost of $15 billion and climbing, California policymakers should be concerned about the source and accountability for funding for the Delta tunnels project. … ”  Read more from the Fairfield Daily Republic here:  Wolk to seek Delta tunnels audit

In commentary today …

Powerful water board picking on little guy, say legislators:  Jeff Denham, Cathleen Galgiani, Adam Gray and Bob Elliott write, “The State Water Resources Control Board has tried for too long to bully the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), and we’ve had enough. It’s time the board’s misguided case against BBID ends and remove the regulatory limbo the farmers within BBID currently face.  In a misguided, ill-informed attempt to flex its regulatory muscle, the board picked on the little guy: Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, a small district in the Tracy area that supplies water to the farmers and ranchers who provide California’s — and the nation’s — food, as well as to the 14,000 residents of Mountain House. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Powerful water board picking on little guy, say legislators

In regional news and commentary today …

Sonoma County water officials say conservation must be maintained: Local water suppliers can’t say whether Sonoma County communities will remain under mandatory conservation orders for another year, but their residents can expect that the yearslong drought has forever changed California’s water practices.  Abundant rainfall and well-supplied reservoirs have put the county in a better position for summer than some other regions of the state, officials said Monday.  Even so, ending mandatory conservation orders here will depend on what rules the state water board adopts this spring. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Sonoma County water officials say conservation must be maintained

News editorial: When Lake Cachuma runs dry:  The Lompoc Record writes, “These are anxious moments for South Coast and Santa Ynez Valley water customers. Santa Barbara County officials recently made a grim prediction about Lake Cachuma’s future. It looks dry.  In fact, if water experts are correct, the lake level will reach a historic low point sometime in July, and be effectively dry as a bone by the end of the year.  The lake has been lower than its current level only once since its construction in the 1950s. That happened in 1991, when water managers predicted only a few more weeks of viable supply from the lake/reservoir. ... ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here:  When the big lake runs dry

Santa Fe Springs man pleads guilty to felony water pollution: The owner of a Santa Fe Springs trucking company plead guilty Monday to dumping 11,000 gallons of waste water and soap into a stream that led into the San Gabriel River.  David Lee Flury, 61, pled guilty to one felony charge of water pollution, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. A judge set a sentencing hearing for Aug. 15.  Flury, who owns and runs Flury Industries Inc., a waste-hauling company, dumped the soapy waste into Los Coyotes Creek tributary of the San Gabriel River, according to the statement. The city of Santa Fe Springs spent nearly $750,000 on clean-up. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  Santa Fe Springs man pleads guilty dumping 11,000 gallons of soap into Santa Ana River

More than half of the streamflow in the upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater: More than half of the streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in the journal Water Resources Research.  The entire Colorado River Basin currently supports 50 million people, and that amount is expected to increase by 23 million between 2000 and 2030. On average, 90 percent of streamflow in the Colorado River Basin originates in the Upper Basin, which is the area above Lees Ferry, Arizona. This water has a multitude of uses that include irrigation, municipal and industrial purposes, electric power generation, mining activities, recreation, and supporting habitat for livestock, fish and wildlife. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  More than half of the streamflow in the upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater

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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