Daily Digest: CA water bill has three possible paths for passage; House debate to feature rifts over water funding; Study: Urbanization to boost water demand; Groundwater reg impacts appear uncertain for the Sacto Valley; and more …

In California water news today, California water bill has three possible paths for passage; Appropriations: House debate to feature rifts over climate, drought; Study: Urbanization to boost water demand; Groundwater regulation impacts appear uncertain for the Sacramento Valley; San Francisco makes history with new water bond; Court blocks Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing program; Berkeley lab joins groundwater recharge study; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Brown Bag Seminar today at noon:  Dr. Nicholas Aumen will discuss the U.S. Geological Survey’s Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Sciences (GEPES) program. GEPES is an important source of basic restoration-related science that informs management and policy decisions. GEPES projects span the entire range of scientific disciplines, from molecular biology and biogeochemistry to complex ecological and hydrological models.  To view the informational flyer, please click here.

In the news today …

California water bill has three possible paths for passage:  “House Republicans this week are adding a controversial California water bill to an unrelated Senate energy package, opening a new front in a fight that’s already put Democrats on the defensive.  The unexpected energy bill maneuver gives San Joaquin Valley lawmakers a third vehicle they might propel all the way to the White House. At the least, it builds up steam for the GOP drive to boost California water storage and divert more irrigation deliveries to Valley farms.  “Farmers, families and entire communities are suffering, and unnecessarily so,” Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, Calif., said Monday. ... ”  Read more from McClathy DC here:  California water bill has three possible paths for passage

Appropriations: House debate to feature rifts over climate, water funding:  “The House could pass a $37.4 billion fiscal 2017 energy and water spending bill later this week, but only after partisan fights over renewable energy and climate change policies, and possible amendments related to the California drought and Flint water crisis. … The spending bill would boost funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' to a record $6.1 billion — $100 million more than the fiscal 2016 enacted level and $1.5 billion over the president's budget request.  The proposal includes $2.7 billion for navigation projects and studies, and $1.26 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, about $63 million more than fiscal 2016. … ”  Continue reading at E&E Publishing here (scroll down for water coverage):  Appropriations: House debate to feature rifts over climate, water funding

Study: Urbanization to boost water demand:  “Think the current California drought has been tough? It will get worse in the future, because the state is always growing. But quantifying that effect has largely been guesswork. Until now.  A new study in Environmental Research Letters by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Nature Conservancy estimates how water demand will change in 2062 by projecting the present rate of land-use change. This includes urban growth and farmland conversion – both conversion of farms into urban areas and conversion of annual crops to permanent crops, like orchards and vineyards. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Study: Urbanization to boost water demand

Groundwater regulation impacts appear uncertain for the Sacramento Valley: The state took another step forward to regulate groundwater pumping in California, but the ramifications for the Sacramento Valley are uncertain.  Last week, the California Water Commission approved the final regulations that will guide the creation of sustainability plans by local groundwater agencies. These plans are required to be in place by 2020 or 2022 and will provide a path to bring aquifers into balanced levels of pumping and recharge.  The regulations are one of the critical outcomes of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which was enacted in September 2014, after more than a century of mostly unregulated groundwater pumping in California, to halt a trend of declining aquifer levels in the state. … ” Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Groundwater regulation impacts appear uncertain for the Sacramento Valley

San Francisco makes history with new water bond: Finding funding for water infrastructure projects can sometimes be tough, especially for smaller, decentralized projects that don’t fall under the criteria of traditional funding sources. But another avenue for accessing resources is coming to light after the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission last week became the first entity to issue a green bond certified under the Water Climate Bonds Standard.  Green bonds were established as a way to direct private financing to environmental projects, and in less than 10 years, it has it has generated $41.8 billion. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  San Francisco makes history with new water bond

Court blocks Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing program:  “A judge reversed course and decided that the Oakdale Irrigation District must address environmental concerns before implementing a new fallowing program.  “We’re pleased with the ruling,” said Sacramento attorney Osha Meserve, representing two OID customers who sued to stop the program. “We think the judge’s ruling shows just how bad OID’s management has been.”  It’s unclear whether the water freed up by fallowing already has been moved. OID attorneys had told two judges that the water had not been sold to buyers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, while OID General Manager Steve Knell had told his board members the water would be gone before a court hearing last week. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Court blocks Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing program

Berkeley lab joins groundwater recharge study:  “One of the nation’s top centers for science will look at how stormwater seeps into almond orchards in the Modesto area and beyond.  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced Monday that it has joined a groundwater recharge study that already involves the Almond Board of California and other partners.  The lab, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy, works in several scientific disciplines. The Modesto-based board is paying it $105,840 to use chemical, geophysical and other tools for tracking water through aquifers. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Berkeley lab joins groundwater recharge study

In commentary today …

Central Valley Project users can’t get a break, says Mike Wade:  He writes, “Water supplies are better than normal in Northern California, so why is it that Central Valley Project (CVP) water users can’t get a break? The water users in question are the farms and ranches in the San Joaquin Valley that rely on the federal Central Valley Project water conveyance system. They are set to receive a meager 5 percent of their water supply this year.  It’s the middle of May and rainfall in the northern Sierra is currently 111 percent of normal. Lake Shasta is 93 percent full and 108 percent of its year-to-date average. By all accounts there is sufficient water in the system operated by the federal government to meet the needs that the CVP was designed to serve – irrigation and municipal water supplies. But the priority for the project in the last two decades has shifted from providing water for people to being geared toward environmental demands. ... ”  Continue reading at Water Deeply here:  Central Valley Project users can’t get a break

As Lake Mead dwindles, can an interstate water war be far behind?  Michael Hitlzik writes, “The last time two states went to war over water, it was 1934. The combatants were California and Arizona and the casus belli was the start of construction of Parker Dam, which would direct water from the Colorado River into California via the Colorado River Aqueduct.  The episode unfolded with a sort of Gilbert and Sullivan absurdity. … The next water war may involve the same combatants, but may not be so amusing. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  As Lake Mead dwindles, can an interstate water war be far behind? 

Precipitation watch …

  • Cool and unsettled weather:  From the National Weather Service: “A weather system will continue to bring unsettled weather across interior northern California. Temperatures will be 7°-10° below normal. Chances for showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected through Wednesday. “

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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