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Daily Digest: Feinstein gets green light to proceed on contentious water bill; Chronic water scarcity threatens food production; Fire-suppressing foam’s toxic PFCs detected in groundwater; Delta island owner may face largest fine ever by the State Water Board; and more …

In California water news today, California water bill: Here’s why it’s so hard to pass; Feinstein gets green light to proceed on contentious water bill; Congress takes another swing at state’s water infrastructure; Chronic Water Scarcity Threatens Food Production; Fire-suppressing foam’s toxic PFCs detected in California groundwater; Drought brings new attention to recycled water; Drought, dead trees add up to big fire danger; California weighs next step for saving water; Brown’s budget revision leaves intact CDFA, drought funding intact; American River Authority moves to drop Auburn dam mission; Delta island owner may face largest fine ever by the State Water Board;  Delta island owner faces $4 million fine by state water agency; San Bernardino: Water agency offers financial, physical assistance for new wells to benefit Santa Ana sucker; Lake Mead water level drops close to its lowest point

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Board will meet today beginning at 9am.  The main event is the consideration of amending and readopting the drought-related emergency regulations for urban water conservation, which is not scheduled to start until at least 11 am.  Other agenda items include California’s ongoing drought emergency, a periodic update to the Clean Water and Drinking Water Capacity Development Strategy, and a presentation from the Southern California Water Committee on “Lawn Dude”.  Click here for the agendaClick here for the webcast link.
  • The California Water Commission meets today beginning at 9:30am.  The main event is the consideration of adoption of the final draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan regulations.  Other agenda items include an update on State Water Project critical issues, a briefing on designing effective groundwater sustainability agencies by Dr. Michael Kiparsky, and an update on the Water Storage Investment Program.  Click here for the agenda and webcast link.

In the news today …

California water bill: Here’s why it’s so hard to pass: Five years into California’s latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever.  The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing. A Western growers’ advocate pleaded for relief, a Trout Unlimited leader urged caution and lawmakers insisted on optimism while conceding the tough road ahead.  “This bill is the product of two years of work (and) 28 drafts,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., adding that her legislation “can produce real water in a manner consistent with the Endangered Species Act.” … ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  California water bill: Here’s why it’s so hard to pass

Feinstein gets green light to proceed on contentious water bill: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s third effort to address California’s drought by expanding the water supply through dams, recycling, desalination and other methods, as well as tinkering with protections for endangered fish, received the go-ahead Tuesday from the federal Bureau of Reclamation at a Senate hearing.  Estevan Lopez, a bureau commissioner, called Feinstein’s bill, S2533, a “measured approach” that would “improve the water supply situation in California” while protecting the environment and endangered salmon. The bureau manages California’s Central Valley Project, a giant plumbing system of dams and canals that moves water from the state’s wet north to the dry south. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Feinstein gets green light to proceed on contentious water bill

Congress takes another swing at state’s water infrastructure:  “Congress could be taking another swing at modernizing the state’s water management policies to provide both short- and long-term solutions, under legislation introduced by 3rd District Congressman John Garamendi.  Whether the package introduced Tuesday will make it through Congress, however, is anyone’s guess. California lawmakers have been trying for the last three years to produce a plan that would deal with the state’s drought without success. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Congress takes another swing at state’s water infrastructure

Chronic Water Scarcity Threatens Food Production:California is getting ready to enter the hottest and driest months of the year, but it’s armed this year, at least, with a rainy season that resulted in nearly average precipitation for parts of the state. The largest reservoirs in Northern California are brimming, and urban water suppliers will be getting something of a reprieve on statewide mandatory conservation requirements.  About 90 percent of the state still suffers from some kind of drought conditions, though, and many experts suggest it will take two or three consecutive winters like the most recent to snap California’s drought.  But one expert believes we’ll need much more than that. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Chronic water scarcity threatens food production

Fire-suppressing foam’s toxic PFCs detected in California groundwater:  “When disaster strikes on a runway, fire suppressing foam can be a lifesaver. For decades, however, there was a hidden danger in the foam itself.  The chemical agents in that foam are called fluorinated chemicals. They are much like the same chemicals that were used in products like Teflon and Scotchguard, until they were deemed a health threat by the Environmental Protection Agency. … “They just used a lot of the firefighting foam and really didn’t think about it, they just washed into the water supplies, the creeks, lakes, and in the groundwater, drinking water,” says Arlene Blum, with the Green Science Policy Institute.  “These things are great for fighting fires, but the problem is that they never really go away.” … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Fire-suppressing foam’s toxic PFCs detected in California groundwater

Drought brings new attention to recycled water:  “Agricultural demand for recycled water is increasing along with the ability to supply it. But water experts say competition for access to the resource is rising—and say they’re unsure what the growing demand may mean for prices.  State water officials plan a survey of recycled water use in coming months—the first since 2009, when they estimated use of recycled water at 700,000 acre-feet. Results from the new survey could come early next year.  The State Water Resources Control Board is calling for recycled water to contribute 1.5 million acre-feet to the overall water supply by 2020 and at least 2.5 million acre-feet by 2030. Observers say the 2020 goal may be difficult to achieve, but say they’re more optimistic about reaching the 2030 standard. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Drought brings new attention to recycled water

Drought, dead trees add up to big fire danger:  “Stubborn drought conditions and an epidemic of dead and dying trees mean California is facing a potentially catastrophic fire season, federal officials said Tuesday as they promised to send extra money and personnel to the state.  Similar circumstances contributed to record acreage lost to wildfires in the West last year, including three blazes that laid waste to Lake County, and top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture said improved rain and snow totals during the winter did little to ease the threat. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Drought, dead trees add up to big fire danger

California weighs next step for saving water:  “Strict rules adopted at the height of California’s drought leading many people to let their lawns turn brown may soon end as state regulators Wednesday consider letting local communities decide how to keep their own water use in check.  That’s good news to Southern California landscaper Greg Gritters, who says local water officials are best suited to manage their supplies.  His clients have had to choose between keeping their lawns green at the expense of huge water bills or turning down their sprinklers and watch their yard turn brown. … ”  Read more from the AP here:  California weighs next step for saving water

Brown’s budget revision leaves intact CDFA, drought funding intact:  “In his annual May budget revision, Gov. Jerry Brown kept the Department of Food and Agriculture’s nearly $80.7 million general-fund allocation intact even though overall revenue has fallen short of expectations.  In addition, the governor still proposes a $2 million boost for the CDFA’s medical marijuana program. just over $1 million to regulate alternative transportation fuels and $436,000 for fairs and expositions, department spokesman Steve Lyle said.  “We’re receiving money for programs that are moving in the direction we need to go based on laws that are on the books,” Lyle said. “So we are pleased to receive the money that is necessary to be able to move forward with those statutory regulations.” … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Brown’s budget revision leaves intact CDFA, drought funding intact

American River Authority moves to drop Auburn dam mission:  “Founded 34 years ago to jump start a stalled Auburn dam, the American River Authority made a move Monday to ditch promoting the multi-billion-dollar project it was founded to reinvigorate.  Made up of county government and water agency officials in Placer and El Dorado County, plus representatives from the public at large and San Joaquin County, the council voted to keep the joint powers authority intact.  But they asked staff to revise the authority mission statement by dropping language supporting an Auburn dam. ... ”  Read more from the Auburn Journal here:  American River Authority moves to drop Auburn dam mission

Delta island owner may face largest fine ever by the State Water Board:  “A two-year Delta fight came to a head Tuesday as a state water agency proposed a $4.6 million fine — its largest ever — and cleanup order against a Pittsburg resident who owns a small island in the Suisun Marsh.  The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board issued the complaint and abatement order alleging John Sweeney and his Point Buckler Club, a kite-surfing outfit catering to Silicon Valley executives, filled and degraded more than 29 acres of tidal wetlands on the 51-acre island, located just north of Pittsburg. The agency claims the unauthorized work and loss of wetlands created a “direct, negative impact” on the Suisun Marsh, “which provides critical habitat to migratory birds and threatened and endangered species including migrating salmon and Delta smelt.” … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Delta island owner may face largest fine ever by the State Water Board:

Delta island owner faces $4 million fine by state water agency:  “A state water agency on Tuesday proposed a Northern California man pay $4.6 million in fines and restore wetlands he allegedly damaged while trying to build a kite-surfing hub and revive a duck hunting club in a small island northeast of San Francisco.  The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board said John Sweeney and his Point Buckler Club filled and degraded more than 29 acres of tidal wetlands on the 51-acre Point Buckler Island located in Solano County’s Suisun Marsh.  A board hearing on the proposed fine and cleanup order is scheduled for August 10, the board said. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Delta island owner faces $4 million fine by state water agency

San Bernardino: Water agency offers financial, physical assistance for new wells to benefit Santa Ana sucker: The board of the East Valley’s water wholesaler on Tuesday approved a $1.87 million package to tap an emergency water supply for the federally endangered Santa Ana sucker.  And the staff of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, the water wholesaler, has offered to manage the engineering aspects of the project — as well as do the physical labor.  That offer — for the labor, not the money — was quickly rejected by the San Bernardino Municipal Water Department’s top administrator, who cited regulatory sensitivity. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Water agency offers financial, physical assistance for new wells

Lake Mead water level drops close to its lowest point:  “Lake Mead is less than a foot of dropping to its lowest point in history.  Stefano Fasano says he’s been coming to Lake Mead for nearly 20 years and understands the water level is down. Fasano said even launching a boat has changed, but he’s an optimist pointing out there’s still a lot of lake left.  “They do a pretty good job marking things. I know where to go, I’ve been coming here my whole life, I know what to look for, for sure,” said Fasano.  ... ”  Read more from News 3LV here:  Lake Mead water level drops close to its lowest point

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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